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 [...]

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

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 [...]

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

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 [...]

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

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 [...]

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

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 [...]

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

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 – [...]

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

Richard Stout 1615-1705

Richard Stout 1615 – 1705    Ezekiel 34:11–16, 20–24    Matthew 25:31-46                                                                          Russell Eidmann-Hicks What a marvel it is to be with you – in the Lord’s house built in the year of my death: 1705!  What is truly a marvel today is that you would invite a ghost to preach a sermon in your church on a Sunday!  You do know I am a ghost don’t you.  And you can see me, right? And hear me?  Wave if you can see me.  Ahh, good.  Being a ghost I have been here before, many times, but you didn’t notice. The reason you can see me is that Rev. Hicks invited me – and only ghosts who [...]

By | 2017-11-28T20:16:15+00:00 November 28th, 2017|November 2017|Comments Off on Richard Stout 1615-1705

True Thanksgiving

Genesis 11:1-9    Matthew 25:14-30   Russell Eidmann-Hicks Years ago, I inherited from my great-uncle a beautiful silver wind-up pocket watch, which is over 100 years old.   I put it away in a safety deposit box – but then the bank closed and I stuck it in the back of a drawer. I learned that this was not a good idea.   A wind-up watch needs to be used, wound-up every so often or else it will stop forever.   Hiding it away in the dark drawer was actually destroying the very thing I treasure.  Then a few years ago, a thief broke into our house and stole not only my wife’s beautiful family jewelry, but also my silver watch.  I never got to enjoy it – to use it – to feel the weight of it in my pocket every day – to remember my great uncle when I checked the time.  Sometimes [...]

By | 2017-11-20T18:05:26+00:00 November 20th, 2017|November 2017|Comments Off on True Thanksgiving

Saints and Martyrs

Saints & Martyrs    Acts 7:51-60  Matthew 23:1-12   Russell Eidmann-Hicks Last Friday I was invited to join Eric Case to hear the great documentary film-maker Ken Burns talk about his latest release: Vietnam.  For someone so famous, prolific and talented, it was refreshing to witness Ken’s humor and his humility: he is a very down-to-earth guy.   One thing he said that relates to our scripture today is about heroes. He said, people ask me nowadays why we don’t seem to have heroes or heroines like we used to?  Why is that?  He said, one reason is because in the media nowadays we learn everything there is to know about our leaders and people in power.  We learn their strengths but also their flaws.  In his films, he said, he focuses on everyday people – soldiers out on the front lines in the Civil War, or WWII or Vietnam, or regular [...]

By | 2017-11-05T22:06:18+00:00 November 5th, 2017|November 2017|Comments Off on Saints and Martyrs

Tent of Meeting

Tent of Meeting  Exodus 33:7-16   Matthew 22:15-22 Have you ever done a ‘trust-walk’?   We used to do it in youth group meetings.   It’s when one person leads another who is wearing a blindfold – so that the person who can’t see has to trust the leader.  They trust the leader will warn them about obstacles or stairs or doors or pot-holes or hanging plants.   It can be nerve-wracking as the blindfolded person, if you don’t trust that person.   Inevitably, in any youth group, there is some goofball, who thinks he or she is so funny and intentionally leads someone into a wall or a tree or into a bathroom and leaves them there.  Ha. Ha. Ha. But that person also gets dumped on by the whole group – because everyone gets that trust is precious and fragile.  It’s similar to ‘trust-falls’ that we also do in youth group, in which [...]

By | 2017-10-25T14:46:51+00:00 October 25th, 2017|October 2017|Comments Off on Tent of Meeting