A Psalm for Peace

Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122 How I rejoiced when they said to me: “Let us go to the house of God!” When I heard it was time to go, I leapt up with joy like a young kid on Christmas! I could not wait to set forth! “Let us go to God’s place,” we shouted, for we hungered for it with all our being, for we knew what it was to be heart-broken, to bear witness to the world’s violence, to watch that which we love topple to the ground. And now, after journeying, our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem. Jerusalem restored! The city one united whole! Jerusalem, who represents God’s presence here on earth, has been restored, it has been re-built stone by stone, with rocks that will last, rocks of dignity, equality and justice. Here the tribes ascend, the tribes of God. They come to praise God’s Name, as God commanded Israel – Here, where the tribunals of justice are, the judgment seats of David’s house. The judgment seats are not what you expect. God’s judgment comes in form of mishpat, the Hebrew word for when the neediest, the marginalized, and those who no one cared for, are cared for. In Jerusalem restored, in God’s holy presence, the least of these are lifted up as bright, brilliant, beloved children of God who are beautiful to behold. In Jerusalem restored, those who dwelt in the darkness are seen, […]

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God’s Kin-dom

Isaiah 65:17-25, Thessalonians 3:6-13 “I can’t finish the song,” these were the words of late poet and song writer Leonard Cohen as he banged his head on the floor in frustration as he struggled to write the now-famous song, “Hallelujah.” For over five years, he worked on this song, he wrote eighty verses, including one that said, “Now maybe there’s a God above but all I ever learned from love is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you. And it’s no complaint you hear tonight, and it’s not some pilgrim who’s seen the light— it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah!” Cohen’s words remind us that God comes to us not only in beautiful, victorious moments, but also in broken-hearted ones. For years, Cohen wrestled with how he would end the song “Hallelujah” and as he struggled, he despaired and said, “I can’t finish this song.” It didn’t seem possible.  Have you ever felt like?  Like you lacked the endurance to keep going?  Like you didn’t know the way forward?  Like you were enveloped in despair? “I can’t finish the song.” That is exact how the early Jesus followers felt in the Greek town of Thessaloniki.  At the point that Paul is writing to them, they are a religious minority in an Empire ruled by a foreign power.  They are supposed to be patriotic citizens that hail Ceasar as Lord but instead they hail Jesus.  As a result, […]

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The God of the Bathroom Floor

Haggai 1:15b-2:9 I have heard many names for God, but I heard one name recently that was new to me: our God, the God of the bathroom floor. Have you come to know the God of the bathroom floor, the God who comes to meet us in crises situations, when we are desperate and alone? I came to learn of this name for God through the story of Glennon Doyle Melton. In her memoir Love Warrior, she writes about addiction, parenthood, marriage struggles and finding herself.  She starts off writing about her happy childhood as the daughter of a two-parent home, yet as she grows into an adult she becomes more and more aware of societal expectations of her and how she does not fit them.  To cope with this disconnect, she develops various addictions to food, alcohol and drugs.  Then one day, when Glennon is in her mid-twenties, she finds herself sitting on the bathroom floor with a positive pregnancy test.  Glennon tells of sitting on that bathroom floor, with her hands shaking and her pants dirty.  She says, of the moment, “So many things are true at once: I am empty, alone, addicted – and still invited.” Invited to change her entire way of being.  Invited to say yes to God.  Invited to experience life made new. How would she respond? Glennon’s story reminds us that in our most surprising moment God shows up, God is present with […]

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From Another Vantage Point

Luke 19:1-10 There is a story told about God, who was walking the streets, looking for a place for God’s son to stay.  The storyteller of this story recounts, “God knocked on my door.”  The storyteller continues, sayin “I thought, ‘Well, I suppose I could let the son rent the little spare bedroom.’  God read my thoughts. ‘I was looking to buy,’ God said. ‘Oh, I don’t think I really want to sell,’ I replied. ‘I need the place for myself, you see. But you could use the back room. The rent’s quite low. Why don’t you come in and have a look?’ So God came in, and God looked around. ‘I like it,’ God said. ‘I’ll take it on your own terms.’ Once the son was settled in, I began to wonder whether I’d been a bit mean. There they were, cooped up in that little spare bedroom. God must have been having similar thoughts, because God was there again at my door. ‘Would you have any more space now, do you think?’ God asked gently. ‘Well, I’ve been thinking, and I could offer your son an extra room to rent now.’ ‘Thank you,’ said God. ‘I’ll take the extra room. Maybe you’ll decide to give my son more room later on. Meanwhile, I like what I see.’ Time went on. I was still feeling a bit uneasy about this transaction. ‘I’d like to give you some more room,’ […]

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All Saints Communion Liturgy

One: To come to this table is to affirm abundant life – to acknowledge the reality of our lives and encourage one another as the children of God, as the saints of the Church. Many: Gathered together in all our diversity, we make real the Body of Christ for the world. One: Together we re-member that last night when Jesus supped at table with that motley crew of friends gathered ‘round. Many: There Jesus offered a ritual that transcended difference, knitting together all those at the table into one community, into one ministry, into one new life. One: While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and shared it, saying, “This is my body given for you.” Many: In all times, we may be sure that the Bread of Life will sustain us. One: In the same way, we remember that Jesus took the cup, saying, “This is the cup of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many.” Many: The cup that we pour symbolizes our communion with one another and with the saints in every time and beyond time. One: Eternal God we stand in sacred community with the faithful and before these gifts of your love. Joining together as the priesthood of all believers, we bless these elements, praying: All: Come Holy Spirit, come and pour out your Spirit upon us and on these gifts of bread and fruit of the vine. […]

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