Archive for December, 2012

The Fig Tree – 1st Sunday of Advent

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

December 2, 2012

Listen to Sermon

Contemporary Testimony:  from “Getting Our Gaze Back” by Rose Marie Berger

I’ve noticed about myself recently that I stare out the window and daydream when I’m desperate. The unrelenting beam of information aimed at me via the computer screen too often occupies my eyes. My gaze is clouded with data bits. The mind silts up with details, images, pleas for help, advertisements, and thousands of worthy campaigns for social change. “Life shouldn’t be this hard,” I think.

By mid-afternoon the view outside my window is deep in shade…The butterflies are absent—perhaps moved on to warmer micro climes. The dark green leaves are still. I give over my intellect, my tired eyes, and some part of my soul to the cool of the afternoon. I rest.

Isn’t this kind of holy daydreaming an essential quality of sabbath? I learn humility from a tree that flowers, fruits, and multiplies whether I sleep or am awake. I am awed by butterflies that can trace the scent of sweetness without extensive computer-generated data and global positioning satellites. I look out my window through the security bars. My mouth waters in anticipation of summer peaches.

Biblical Testimony:                                Luke 21:25-36

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that thekingdomofGodis near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

No Accident

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

W.H. “Dawg” Strong

November 18, 2012

Contemporary Testimony:  “Miscellany” by Miriam Therese MacGillis

It is no accident that we’ve been born in these times, that we find our lives unfolding now, with our particular histories and gifts, our brokenness, our experience, and our wisdom. It is not an accident. In talking about the fate of the earth, we know that its fate is really up for grabs. There are no guarantees as to its future. It is a question of our own critical choices. Perhaps what we need most is a transforming vision, a vision that’s deep enough, one that can take us from where we are to a new place; one that opens the future up to hope. More than anything, we must become people of hope.

Biblical Testimony:                                  Mark 13:1-8

When they had left, a disciple said, “Wow!

Look at these buildings.  I do not know how

they could all be built.”

But then Jesus spoke,

“Each building will topple, each stone will be broke.”

“When will this happen and how will we know?”

they asked him.

“Be careful for there will be foes

who come in my name.  And there will be war.

There will be earthquakes and famine and more.

These are the birth pains.  Be on your guard.”

Wondering Questions

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

November 11, 2011

Contemporary Testimony:  an excerpt from “The Liturgy of Abundance, The Myth of Scarcity,” by Walter Brueggemann

The conflict between the narratives of abundance and of scarcity is the defining problem confronting us at the turn of the millennium. The gospel story of abundance asserts that we originated in the magnificent, inexplicable love of a God who loved the world into generous being. The baptismal service declares that each of us has been miraculously loved into existence by God. And the story of abundance says that our lives will end in God, and that this well-being cannot be taken from us. In the words ofSt. Paul, neither life nor death nor angels nor principalities nor things – nothing can separate us from God.

What we know about our beginnings and our endings, then, creates a different kind of present tense for us. We can live according to an ethic whereby we are not driven, controlled, anxious, frantic or greedy, precisely because we are sufficiently at home and at peace to care about others as we have been cared for.

Biblical Testimony:  Mark 12:41-44

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.  A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.Then Jesus called the disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’

Godly Play

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Mary Catherine Gunter, Godly Play (our version of Sunday School) liason to Christian Education

November 4, 2012

Listen to Godly Play Story

Contemporary Testimony:  excerpt from “The Generosity Plan: Sharing Your Time, Treasure, and Talent to Shape the World” by Kathy LeMay

Each of us has roots in giving, be they based in culture, faith, personal belief systems, or family. These giving roots are a powerful force and have likely shaped your values and thinking today. By remembering these roots and recalling specific examples of how you or your family gave back, you will draw on traditions that will energize your present work.

Biblical Testimony:                               Mark 12:41-44

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.  A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’