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Meditation for December 20, 2015 / Advent 4

When I first came to CCC about 4 ½ years ago, the church gave me a gift – a fir tree. I planted it in our yard. This time of year, it is the one of the few reminders of life. When skies grow dark, and leafy trees stand barren, that fir tree insists that light and life will return. I’m reminded of a story from the Cherokee tradition called Why Some Trees are Ever Green. When the plants and trees were first created, the Great Mystery decided to give a gift to each different species. But first, there was a contest to see which gift would be the most useful to whom. "I want all of you to stay awake and keep watch over the earth for seven nights," the Great Mystery told the plants and trees. The young plants and trees were so excited to be trusted with watching over the earth that they had no trouble staying awake the first night. The second night was not so easy and a few of them fell asleep as dawn approached. On the third night, they tried to whisper to each other in order to …

Sermon for December 13, 2015

When Men Dance and Women Sing

Mary got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly,

You’re so blessed among women,
    and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
And why am I so blessed that
    the mother of my Lord visits me?
The moment the sound of your
    greeting entered my ears,
The babe in my womb
    skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.
Blessed woman, who believed what God said,
    believed every word would come true!

And Mary said,

I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
    on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and show…

Sermon for November 22, 2015 / Thanksgiving Sunday

Remember the Past, Trust the Future

Click HERE to listen. Sermon begins at 24:30

So, this was supposed to be a Thanksgiving message, but I’m still riled up about terrorist attacks, the mounting fear of Syrian refugees, and what I think are some nasty reactions by some of our leaders. So, go on my blog and type in “Thanksgiving” in the search box, and read one of the sermons that pop up. I checked them out – they are still good.

Today, as I end my sermon series on Deuteronomy, I want us to wrestle with the parts of Deuteronomy that I’ve been avoiding – the parts that many of you have asked me about. I’ve mentioned that Deuteronomy is the beginning of a sweeping history of Israel, written by Jewish sages who face exile and conquest by invading armies. The history begins by telling the story of Moses, who reviews the law with the Israelites who stand with their toes on the border of the Promised Land. After 40 years of wilderness wanderings, they are about to claim God’s promise. Many of…

Sermon for November 15, 2015

Who are the Broken?If a man marries a woman and then it happens that he no longer likes her because he has found something wrong with her, he may give her divorce papers, put them in her hand, and send her off. After she leaves, if she becomes another man’s wife and he also comes to hate her and this second husband also gives her divorce papers, puts them in her hand, and sends her off, or if he should die, then the first husband who divorced her can’t marry her again.When a man takes a new wife, he is not to go out with the army or be given any business or work duties. He gets one year off simply to be at home making his wife happy.Don’t seize a handmill or an upper millstone as collateral for a loan. You’d be seizing someone’s very life.If a man is caught kidnapping one of his kinsmen, someone of the People of Israel, to enslave or sell him, the kidnapper must die. Purge that evil from among you.Warning! If a serious skin disease breaks out, follow exactly the rules se…

Sermon for October 25, 2015

In Plenty, Do Not Forget


“Keep and live out the entire commandment that I’m commanding you today so that you’ll live and prosper and enter and own the land that God promised to your ancestors. Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that God would know what you were made of, whether you would keep the commandments or not. God put you through hard times. God made you go hungry. Then God fed you … so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread alone; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth … It’s paramount that you keep the commandments of God, your God. God is about to bring you into a good land, a land with brooks and rivers, springs and lakes, streams out of the hills and through the valleys. It’s a land of wheat and barley, of vines and figs and pomegranates, of olives, oil, and honey. It’s a land where you’ll never go hungry … It’s a land where you’ll get iron out of rocks and mi…

Sermon for October 11, 2015

Let’s Review
I am God, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a house of slaves.

No other gods, only me.

No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God. I hold parents responsible for any sins they pass on to their children to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation. But I’m lovingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.

No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.

No working on the Sabbath; keep it holy just as God, your God, commanded you. Work six days, doing everything you have to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day—no work: not you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, your ox, your donkey (or any of your animals), and not even the foreigner visiting your town. That way your ser…