Archive for June, 2014

Dreaming New Dreams

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

June 8, 2014

Listen to Sermon

Contemporary Testimony: an excerpt from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam. It is possible, in deep space, to sail on solar wind. Light, be it particle or wave, has force: you rig a giant sail and go. The secret of seeing is to sail on solar wind. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail, whetted, translucent, broadside to the merest puff.

 

Biblical Testimony:                           Acts 2:1-6, 12-18

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘“In the last days it will be,” God declares, “that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”’

A Call to Protest

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

June 1, 2014

Listen to Story

Contemporary Testimony:  excerpts from Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

 

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

 

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

 

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Biblical Testimony:                              Genesis 22:1-14

After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.

But the angel of God called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “God will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of God it shall be provided.”

 

Easter Sunday

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

April 20, 2014

Listen to Sermon

Biblical Testimony:                              Matthew 28:1-10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Contemporary Testimony:        “No Time to Linger” by Suzanne Guthrie,                                           The Christian Century, March 22, 2005.

Love. And love and mourning and emptiness and faithfulness drive us to the tomb with our myrrh. Not to expect a miracle, but to witness to a grieving world. To simply be there, in the dark. Thomas Merton, another prophet and master of prayer, describes what happens at this place of darkness: “Love gives an experience, a taste of what we have not seen and are not yet able to see. Faith gives us a full title to this treasure which is ours to possess in the darkness. Love enters the darkness and lays hands upon what is its own!”

But in this world you cannot cling to love. You cannot hold or hoard it. In a suffering world, there is no time to linger in the sacred moment. Instead, every love must transfigure into ever-widening circles of compassion. This love must go out to the ends of the earth with the message of hope. “What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops.”

New Commandments

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

February 23, 2014

Listen to Sermon

Biblical Testimony:  Matthew 5:38-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as God is perfect.

Contemporary Testimony: Matthew’s gospel is a summons to another kind of life….The call is to a self-conscious difference in conduct, attitude, and lifestyle. While Leviticus is filled with rules for holiness, many of which we commonly judge to be problematic in the extreme, our reading leads to the conclusion that authentic holiness, commensurate with God’s own holiness consists in generous attentiveness to the poor and getting one’s mind off one’s self for the sake of the neighbor…. The call is away from self-preoccupation and from punctilious scruples often associated with “holiness” and toward the needs of the neighborhood…. Abundant life is given to those whose conduct is in sync with the good purposes of God.

Jesus again radicalizes the old commandments. The old command is to limit vengeance to what is symmetrical (“eye for an eye”), but Jesus breaks the cycle of vengeance by forbearance. Whereas Leviticus commands “love of neighbor,” Jesus pushes to “love your enemy.” Clearly the people around Jesus walk to a different drummer, in a generosity and graciousness that defy a world of fear and anger and hate.

Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

January 19, 2014

Sharing the Story – Excerpts from Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the Storycorps Project

Listen to Stories