Archive for June, 2015

Peace to You

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

June 21, 2015

Listen to Sermon

Biblical Testimony: Mark 4:35-41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Contemporary Testimony: Blessing in the Storm by Jan Richardson

I cannot claim to still the storm that has seized you,

cannot calm the waves that wash through your soul,

that break against your fierce and aching heart.

But I will wade into these waters,

will stand with you in this storm,

will say peace to you in the waves,

peace to you in the winds,

peace to you in every moment that finds you still within the storm.

 

The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Robert Gest III

June 14, 2015

Listen to Sermon

Biblical Testimony: Deuteronomy 31:30, 32:1-3,10-12

Then Moses recited the words of this song, to the very end, in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel: Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;

let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

May my teaching drop like the rain,

my speech condense like the dew;

like gentle rain on grass,

like showers on new growth.

For I will proclaim the name of God;

ascribe greatness to our God!

God sustained him in a desert land,

in a howling wilderness waste;

God shielded him, cared for him,

guarded him as the apple of his eye.

As an eagle stirs up its nest,

and hovers over its young;

as it spreads its wings, takes them up,

and bears them aloft on its pinions,

God alone guided him;

no foreign god was with him.

Contemporary Testimony: Eagle Poem By Joy Harjo

To pray you open your whole self

To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more

That you can’t see, can’t hear;

Can’t know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages

That aren’t always sound but other

Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We see you, see ourselves and know

That we must take the utmost care

And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of

All this, and breathe, knowing

We are truly blessed because we

Were born, and die soon within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.

Jesus’ Prayer for Us

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Rev. Scott Hirano

May 17, 2015  Habitat Sunday

Habitat for Humanity Presentation

Listen to Sermon

Contemporary Testimony: A quote from Professor Roberta Boni on “On Being, Approaching Prayer”

We often have a kind of notion as part of this highfalutin, noble picture of ourselves as pray-ers that when we pray we need to be completely attentive and we need to be fully engaged and we need to be concentrating and we need to be focused. But the fact is, if prayer is our end of a relationship with God, that’s not the way we are with the people we love a large portion of the time. We simply are in their presence.

 

Biblical Testimony: John 17:6-19

6”I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.

11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy God, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

17Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

I Have Called You Friends

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

May 10, 2015

Listen to Sermon

Biblical Testimony: John 15:9-17

As God has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept God’s commandments and abide in God’s love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the landowner is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from God. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that God will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Contemporary Testimony: an excerpt from Whistling in the Dark by Frederick Beuchner

The love of God. The mercy of God. The judgment of God. You take the shoes off your feet and stand as you would before a mountain or at the edge of the sea. But the friendship of God?

It is not something God does. It is something Abraham and God or Moses and God do together. Not even God can be a friend all by himself apparently. You see Abraham, say, not standing at all, but sitting down, loosening his prayer shawl, trimming the end off his cigar. He is not being creature for the moment, and God is not being Creator. There is no agenda. They are simply being together, the two of them, and being themselves.

Is it a privilege only for patriarchs? Not as far as Jesus is concerned at least. “You are my friends,” he says, “if you do what I command you.” The command, of course, is “to love one another,” as he puts it. To be his friends, that is to say, we have to be each other’s friends, conceivably even lay down our lives for each other.

Fair Food & Earth Day

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Seth Wispelwey

Earth Day Celebration, April 26th, 2015

Listen to Sermon

Biblical Testimony:  Genesis 1:27-31

So God created humankind in God’s image,

   in the image of God they were created;

   male and female God created them.

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Contemporary Testimony:  “Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community” by Wendell Berry

The idea that we live in something called “the environment,” for instance, is utterly preposterous. This word came into use because of the pretentiousness of learned experts who were embarrassed by the religious associations of “Creation” and who thought “world” too mundane. But “environment” means that which surrounds or encircles us; it means a world separate from ourselves, outside us. The real state of things, of course, is far more complex and intimate and interesting than that. The world that environs us, that is around us, is also within us. We are made of it; we eat, drink, and breathe it; it is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. It is also a Creation, a holy mystery, made for and to some extent by creatures, some but by no means all of whom are human. This world, this Creation, belongs in a limited sense to us, for we may rightfully require certain things of it – the things necessary to keep us fully alive as the kind of creatures we are – but we also belong to it, and it makes certain rightful claims on us: that we care properly for it, that we leave it undiminished not just to our children but to all the creatures who will live in it after us. None of this intimacy and responsibility is conveyed by the word environment

 

The Power of Touch

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

April 12, 2015

Listen to Sermon

Biblical Testimony: John 20:19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Contemporary Testimony: an excerpt from The Easter of Our Senses by Nancy Rockwell

It is not death that gives Christ’s Easter life its power.  Nor is it death that authenticates Jesus’ journey onto the cross or into Easter.    Love’s redeeming work is the focus upon which we are to be fixed – the cooking of breakfasts, the sharing of anguishing news along the road, the moment of greeting in the garden.

For many, his wounds remain a fixation…As if violent wounds were a fiction in human experience rather than a routinely common occurrence born of human hate.  In our belief, they are sometimes worshipped with a fixation that insists on a superlative degree of torture detail here, a unique reality which denies the gospels’ claim that Jesus died a routinely common death administered to slaves and the very poor.

How much of each night’s news is fixation upon the gory details – the power of death.  And survival, never detailed very much, is greeted as an escape from death’s power rather than the power of love’s redemptive work.  Love’s work is nice, in our estimation, but does not have the fascinating power of death. Thomas, whose name means twin, stands alone in the gospel.  Perhaps we are his twin, each of us standing in his shoes, asking to touch the wounds in which life became unsustainable, more inclined toward knowing the power that fascinates us, than the power that liberates us.

Finishing the Story

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

Easter Sunday, April 5

Listen to Sermon

Biblical Testimony: Mark 16:1-8

16When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

 

Contemporary Testimony: An excerpt from The Secret in the Dark by Frederick Buechner

The way the Gospel writers tell it, in other words, Jesus came back from death not in a blaze of glory, but more like a candle flame in the dark, flickering first in this place, then in that place, then in no place at all. If they had been making the whole thing up for the purpose of converting the world, presumably they would have described it more the way the book of Revelation describes how he will come back again at the end of time with “the armies of heaven arrayed in fine linen, white and pure” and his eyes “like a flame of fire, and on his head many diadems” (19:14, 12). But that is not the way the Gospels tell it. They are not trying to describe it as convincingly as they can. They are trying to describe it as truthfully as they can. It was the most extraordinary thing they believed had ever happened, and yet they tell it so quietly that you have to lean close to be sure what they are telling. They tell it as softly as a secret, as something so precious, and holy, and fragile, and unbelievable, and true, that to tell it any other way would be somehow to dishonor it. To proclaim the resurrection the way they do, you would have to say it in whispers: “Christ has risen.” Like that.