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So far Russell Eidmann-Hicks has created 85 blog entries.
20 02, 2018

Rainbow Grace

By | 2018-02-20T17:43:54+00:00 February 20th, 2018|February 2018|Comments Off on Rainbow Grace

Genesis 9:8-17     1 Peter 3:8-22    Russell Eidmann-Hicks Martha & I saw the film by Guillermo del Torro: “The Shape of Water,” this weekend.  You may have seen it or if you haven’t you probably know what it’s about: a strange monster, like the ‘creature from the black lagoon’ – is captured in the Amazon by the military/industrial complex in 1950’s America.  Del Torro flips the story on its head: the creature is the sympathetic character – and the monsters are portrayed as the humans who torture and abuse him, along with others from the 50’s who are racist and sadistic.   An Hispanic cleaning-woman, who is mute and only able to use sign language, falls in love with the water creature.  She is the heroine of the film. The creature represents nature itself, supremely beautiful, healing and wise; but also threatened and treated with great callousness and cruelty. The movie is [...]

15 02, 2018

Star Dust

By | 2018-02-15T20:16:17+00:00 February 15th, 2018|February 2018|Comments Off on Star Dust

UCC Minister, Emily Heath wrote this last week:   “Are you doing glitter ashes this year?” a friend asked me that last year, before Ash Wednesday. A new trend has emerged of mixing the regular burnt palm ashes of centuries with glitter, a thoroughly modern invention.  “No,” I said. “We’ll just have regular, old, boring ashes like always.”  My friend was deflated. They thought I’d be hopping on the glitter bandwagon. After all, the point of glitter ashes is to raise awareness of LGBTQ acceptance by Christian churches. It’s meant to be a statement of inclusion, writ large on the foreheads of the masses.” As a queer Christian, I can certainly get behind making our welcome to LGBTQ people more public. I know what it’s like to be rejected and hurt by a homophobic and transphobic church. We need to be publicly repenting for the way LGBTQ people have been treated [...]

15 02, 2018

The Heart is for Giving

By | 2018-02-15T20:14:27+00:00 February 15th, 2018|February 2018|Comments Off on The Heart is for Giving

2 Kings 2:1-12    Matthew 10:5-15    Russell Eidmann-Hicks One day a certain old, rich man of a miserable disposition visited a rabbi, who took the rich man by the hand and led him to a window. “Look out there,” he said. The rich man looked into the street. “What do you see?” asked the rabbi. “I see men, women and children,” answered the rich man.  Again, the rabbi took him by the hand and this time led him to a mirror. “Now what do you see?” “Now I see myself,” the rich man replied.  Then the rabbi said, “Behold, in the window there is glass, and in the mirror there is glass. But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little silver. No sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others but see only yourself.” Sadly this can be true of ourselves as well; when [...]

24 01, 2018

Called to a Mean World

By | 2018-01-24T17:08:06+00:00 January 24th, 2018|January 2018|Comments Off on Called to a Mean World

Jonah 3:1-10   Mark 1:14-20    Russell Eidmann-Hicks Jesus began his ministry with a call to repent – to turn around.  We hear him “…proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’” (Mark 1:14) The good news is that God’s love is more powerful than God’s anger and judgment.  God’s grace and peace does not just extend to certain tribes of ethnic enclaves, but to all people created in God’s image – and to the whole creation.  God’s call is toward peace and harmony for all. A friend of mine, a minister in the NJ Association shared this story at a retreat recently:  When he was just beginning in seminary, he got a job as a hospital chaplain working in the emergency room.   He was on call all night on weekends, and one night he was [...]

18 01, 2018

Listening For God

By | 2018-01-18T15:20:42+00:00 January 18th, 2018|January 2018|Comments Off on Listening For God

Listening for God  I Samuel 3:1-10   John 1:43-51   Russell Eidmann-Hicks Young Samuel heard God’s whisper in the night in the temple at Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant resided.  God called his name and asked him to listen – to hear what God was saying to the prophet, calling the nation to justice and righteousness – back to a moral center that had eroded and collapsed. Have you ever heard something like that in the night? Have you been called by God toward a vocation, a path, a way to express your gifts?  What message do you hear in our day, calling us back to a moral center? On this 50th anniversary of the killing of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. let me share with you a call story at a meeting at the outset of the Civil Rights Movement, occurring in the aftermath of Rosa Park’s arrest in [...]

18 01, 2018

Epiphany of Joy!

By | 2018-01-18T15:16:52+00:00 January 18th, 2018|January 2018|Comments Off on Epiphany of Joy!

Genesis 1:1-5   Matthew 2:1-12   Russell Eidmann-Hicks Pope Francis in his New Year’s Eve homily, that the people who have the most influence on society are actually the normal folks, through their normal, everyday gestures being kind in public places, attentive to the elderly. The pope called such people, in a beautiful phrase, “the artisans of the common good.”    Small deeds, he said, “express concretely love for the city … without giving speeches, without publicity, but with a style of practical civic education for daily life.”   We can all use this kind of practical education – now more than ever.  And when we act as ‘artisans of the common good,’ then we are uplifted, we feel alive, and we are filled with joy. Miraslav Volf, a professor at my home seminary of Yale Divinity School, wrote an article recently saying that the season of Epiphany is about experiencing joy.   It is [...]

2 01, 2018

The Pathway Ahead

By | 2018-01-02T16:56:47+00:00 January 2nd, 2018|December 17|Comments Off on The Pathway Ahead

Isaiah 61:10-62:2   Luke 2:22-40     Russell Eidmann-Hicks How would the world be a different place if you hadn’t been in it?  How does your presence bring a ‘light’ into the world?  How would 2018 be less bright if you were not around? George Baily, in the show "It's a Wonderful Life,"  had the angel Clarence to answer these kinds of questions.  We don’t.   Something to consider as we stand on the threshold of a new year.  How do we make a difference. Years ago I was backpacking with my wife, Martha, high in the Sangre de Christo mountains in New Mexico.   We came to a point on the trail that was snowed over – even though this was in early July.   A large snow drift hung over the trail on one side, with a 1,000 foot cliff drop on the other.  There seemed to be just enough room [...]

28 12, 2017

Christmas Eve Sermon 2017

By | 2017-12-28T23:03:37+00:00 December 28th, 2017|December 17|Comments Off on Christmas Eve Sermon 2017

A little boy and girl were singing their favorite Christmas carol in church the Sunday before Christmas. The boy finished singing "Silent Night" with the words, "Sleep in heavenly beans." "No," his sister corrected, "not beans, peas!" Not peas, peace!  Peace.  That is what we seek in this season, the light of holy rest, sacred calm. The shepherds found this, after getting over their terror at seeing the angels, and finding their way to a stable in Bethlehem.  Mary found this, after labor and delivery – cuddling her newborn son in his blanket. The wise men found this after journeying for months guided by a star foretold by scripture; they were finally able to lay their treasures down before the Lord of Life.  They didn’t have to travel any farther.  Each found rest by getting to the wellspring, the root, the source, the essence. So how do we claim this [...]

11 12, 2017

Stars of Faith, Messengers of Peace

By | 2017-12-11T14:38:30+00:00 December 11th, 2017|December 17|Comments Off on Stars of Faith, Messengers of Peace

Isaiah 40:1-11    Mark 1:1-8          Russell Eidmann-Hicks Martin Buber in his book God in the World wrote: “Once they told Rabbi Pinhas of the great misery among the needy. He listened, sunk in grief. Then he raised his head. “Let us draw God into the world,” he cried, “and all need will be quenched.” God’s grace consists precisely in this, that God wants to let God’s self be won by humanity, that God places himself, so to speak, into human hands. God wants to come to his world, but wants to come to it through men and women. This is the mystery of our existence, the superhuman choice of humankind.” Our choices and actions matter; they influence God. God enters into the world through us.  We draw God into the world when we assist the poor and needy, when we seek to offer God’s love to [...]

4 12, 2017

Hanging of the Greens

By | 2017-12-04T15:27:49+00:00 December 4th, 2017|December 17|Comments Off on Hanging of the Greens

Hanging of the Greens Worship and Readings   Scripture & Reflection                                       Isaiah 2:1-5 Advent is a season of holy longing. Isaiah offers us an end-time vision of a world of harmony and grace, in which all nations, who are most often at war with each other, journey to God’s holy mountain to bow down to God’s wisdom and guidance.  They humbly receive instruction – and then beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.   Can you imagine, just for a moment – AK47’s being melted down to fashion artificial arms and legs, bullets into baseball bats, atomic weapons into airplanes, swords into solar panels, missiles into medical devices? Thomas Merton writes this about our Advent hope:   Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it – [...]