Seekers recognizes that any member of the community may be called upon by God to give us the Word. This site collects for study and reflection drafts of sermons that happen to have been prepared in electronic form.
March 5, 2017
First Sunday of Lent
Today is the first Sunday in Lent, the season leading up to Easter when we are invited to engage in self-examination and repentance. This morning, I am going to share some of my self-examination with you.
If you go to a Speakers Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, you’ll probably hear two recovering alcoholics speak for 20-30 minutes each, telling the story of their life. Their assignment is to tell us “what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now.” Often, it seems to me that they spend 90% of their time talking about their active alcoholism - the “what is was like” part -- & only about 10% on their recovery. In my impatience, I get frustrated that they spend most of their time on the Problem, rather than the Solution.
I really like today’s scripture readings, because they give us both the Problem and the Solution. The first passage, which we didn’t hear read this morning, is part of the Adam and Eve story from Genesis. It clearly lays out The Problem: God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge, the snake tempts them to eat it, they give in to temptation and eat the forbidden fruit, and humankind is thrust into a world of sin and evil, toil and pain.
Why did they do it – why did they eat that fruit In the words of one biblical translation, the snake told them that once they ate the fruit:
“you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God,
knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”
They ate the fruit, then, because they wanted to be like God.
I often recognize in myself an attempt or a desire to be like God – to know everything, to do everything, to fix everything, to be perfect. When I stop and think about it, I can see that most of my sins boil down to trying to be God, forgetting what is God’s job and what’s my responsibility.
February 26, 2017
Scripture: Exodus 24:12-18, Matthew 17:1-9, 2 Peter 1;16-21
Exodus, Matthew and 2 Peter - Holy mountains, mystical clouds, and prophets show up in all of our scriptures today. I confess, I love symbolism so I look for what may be the deeper meanings of these elements? Richard Rohr invites us to read the bible as rich with metaphor. Mountains are not only physical places, but also a place of spiritual enlightenment or revelation. In our common speech we refer to the "Mountain top experience" of awe or inspiration.
Clouds are a representation of the Holy Spirit or shekinah (feminine spirit of God) in which the wisdom of God may be heard just as Moses entered the cloud on the mountain to hear God's message.
What about this "transfiguration"? - a mysterious event that boggles the scientific mind. Borrowing from the late biblical genius, Marcus Borg, regarding these stories of miraculous occurrences, said, they may not have really happened, but they are still true. Some native traditions hold the possibility of "shape-shifting" one's body into the shape of an animal, but for Jesus this transformation is more than a physical one. It is a kind of spiritual metamorphosis. Jesus is infused with light or perhaps the light already within him is made more magnified!
February 19, 2017
Seventh Sunday after Epiphany
With the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States we have moved into a dark and dangerous moment for the world. Trump's victory was legitimate. I read his campaign and the first month of his actions as a threat to justice and peace within the United States and around the world. It is unclear to me how long this dark moment will last, and unclear how much damage is likely to be done.
It is time to pay attention to our fears. For example, I share Paul Krugman's fear that Trump is hoping to provoke a terrorist attack by Muslims as an excuse for starting a big anti-Muslim crusade as a path to increasing his popularity. The example of George W. Bush lying about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and starting a war is a threatening example. The political result of Bush's lies and actions was that his favorability ratings shot up to 90 percent after he began his presidency with a low favorability rating after losing the popular vote and gaining the presidency with a Supreme Court ruling over hanging chads in Florida. Trump's defensiveness about his favorability ratings tells us how much he cares about them.
February 12, 2017
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Street Sense offered the word this Sunday. Street Sense elevates voices on poverty issues and creates economic opportunities for people experiencing homelessness. With support from Roy Barber and Leslie Jacobson, a group of Street Sense vendors told their stories in song and spoken word. Street Sense is also a biweekly newspaper sold on the street by the vendors as a means of support.
February 5, 2017
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
The information desk at Terminal B at National Airport was surrounded by police officers. No one else, really – you would have thought they were preparing a law enforcement rally rather than providing security for a protest against Trump’s anti-refugee and -immigration orders. But this was at 5:30, a half hour before the scheduled start time of the rally. Since we were early, Katie and I walked a few hundred yards down the concourse to get a vegan hot dog at Ben’s Chili Bowl.
January 29, 2017
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Micah 61-8. 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 Matthew 5 1-12
[Scripture is quoted fromThe Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crosswat Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.]
So it’s 2017 and we look ahead to the New Year. Now’s a time when many of us think about expectations and plans. One of my seminary professors used to constantly ask in his Ethics class, “How would we view this issue from the perspective of the afterlife?” So what is important for you and for me in 2017, from the perspective of the afterlife? If we could view our lives this year from a perspective of 20, 40, or 100 years from now, what is actually important? (Ponder that question for a minute)
January 22, 2017
Third Sunday after Epiphany
Today the young people from Bokamoso again joined us, bringing us songs and stories from their lives in Winterveld, South Africa.
There is no text, but only our joyous memories of their visit and our anticipation of their return next year.