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Showing posts from June, 2016

Sermon for June 19, 2016

UCC Beliefs: Searching for GodO God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword, they shall be prey for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
~ Psalm 63 It happens most days, lately…

A Pastoral Letter on the Killings in Orlando

Safe Spaces or Sacred Spaces?

Like many of you, I've been scanning social media and catching the latest news, trying to make sense of the terrorism attack in Orlando. The familiar mix of emotions that I've felt during previous massacres comes back to me: anger, sadness, fear, and discouragement. I want to fix the problems and run away from them all at the same time.

The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, like many gay bars, was supposed to be safe space. Owner Barbara Poma opened Pulse nightclub with a mission: to honor her brother who died of HIV/AIDS and to create a safe space for Orlando's gay community. That image of safety is now shattered.

This month, we also mark the one-year anniversary of the shootings of church members and their beloved minister during a Bible study at a venerable church in Charleston, SC. Emmanuel AME Church, like all of our houses of worship, was supposed to be safe space. That image of safety is now injured.

Our community havens no longer feel safe. Publ…

Sermon for June 5, 2016

UCC Beliefs: All Are Welcome
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, NRSV
I can imagine there are some people in our church for whom taking communion was shrouded in fear. If you took communion, and your soul was not in a state of grace, look out! For while, I went to a church where the minister put a lot of emphasis on being worthy to take the Lord’s Supper. “Had I thoroughly repented of my sins? Was I even worthy to take communion?” I received the message loud and clear from my church: unrepentant sinners were not welcome at the table of the Lord. Only those who were “right with Jesus” were invited. The text I just read from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was quoted as proof. It was never cl…

Sermon for May 29, 2016

UCC Beliefs: United & Uniting

"My prayer for them is not for them alone, but for ALL who hear my message...that ALL of them may be one.”  John 17:21 When Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died, we heard a lot about his robust conservatism. I was most touched to hear the stories of his friendship with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  The justices, who were often polar opposites on the bench, managed to form an unlikely friendship. At his funeral, Justice Ginsberg referred to Justice Scalia as her “best buddy.” When talking about their lifetime appointments, Scalia once said, “If you can’t disagree ardently with your colleagues about some issues of law and yet personally still be friends, get another job, for Pete’s sake.” And Justice Ginsberg once said about Their friendship, “As annoyed as you might be about his zinging dissent, he’s so utterly charming, so amusing, so sometimes outrageous, you can’t help but say, ‘I’m glad that he’s my friend or he’s my colleague.’ …