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Showing posts from March, 2012

Sermon for March 25, 2012 -- Lent 5

Qualities of Spiritual Seekers: Radical Empathy

In the early years of the Hassidic movement, the Rebbe, the spiritual leader of a Hassidic community, would travel through eastern European towns and villages holding private audiences for his disciples in each place. In these meetings he would listen to their sorrows and sins and advise them. The following tale is told of the Mitteler Rebbe:

One day at midday, when hundreds of men crowded around outside waiting for a private audience, the Rebbe suddenly ordered that the doors be closed and ceased receiving visitors…After an hour or two passed, some of the senior disciples entered the house and heard the Rebbe weeping inside his room, pouring out his sorrows and reciting the psalms with great sincerity…

After some days had passed, one of the disciples asked what the reason for this incident had been. Immediately the Rebbe became very downcast and, after a moment, answered: “When disciples enter for private meetings and reveal their most …

Sermon for March 18, 2012

Qualities of Spiritual Seekers: Mitzvah
Hillel said: The more flesh, the more worms; the more possessions, the more worry; the more servants, the more thievery. The more Torah, the more life; the more study, the more wisdom; the more charity, the more peace. Pirke Avot 2:8

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Matthew 9:35-38

Let’s do a little compassion exercise together. If you prefer not to participate then that’s fine. Participate as fully as you feel you are able to. I invite you to become aware of yourself: Be aware of your own body and how you…

Sermon for March 11, 2012

Qualities of Spiritual Seekers: Doubt
You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me. You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm. I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living. Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress. Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me. I go about blackened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help. I have become a brother of jackals, a companion of owls. My skin grows black and peels; my body burns with fever.
Job 30:21-3It’s one of the oldest stories in existence. His children are dead -- his wealth, obliterated. His wife walked out on him. Now he is sick, covered with skin boils and rashes. His friends don’t really know how to…

Sermon for March 4 -- Lent 2

Qualities of Spiritual Seekers: Mutuality
Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’ The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my ban…

Sermon for February 26, 2012 -- Lent 1

Qualities of Spiritual Seekers: Authenticity
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor . . . When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?”

“Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”

Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”

When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officia…