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

What Golden Idol Are You Dancing Around?

Exodus 32:1-14    Matthew 22:1-14   Russell Eidmann-Hicks          We’re not sure what we’re gonna do.  Moses, our leader and guide, walked off a couple of days ago up that mountain.  You see that one up there, covered with those rumbling clouds, and lightening, and raging fire.    Nobody can survive in the middle of that, do you think?    The trouble is Moses is the only one who can talk to God.  He was the one who got us the bread we eat and the water from a rock.   The manna is still coming every day… for now.  But we don’t know what’s gonna happen if Moses doesn’t come back.  We’re awful afraid.          So, Aaron and a bunch of the rest of us figured that since Moses is gone, and we don’t know what’s happening with God, that we would have a little party.  We figured that since this thing [...]

By | 2017-10-25T14:45:45+00:00 October 25th, 2017|October 2017|Comments Off on What Golden Idol Are You Dancing Around?

Community of Love and Respect

Exodus 20:1–4, 7–9, 12–20   Matthew 21:33-46    Russell Eidmann-Hicks This morning we hear the 10 Commandments – a list of rules and regulations.  If you look closely at them, you realize that these laws and regulations are less random laws involving punishment – and more guidelines meant to create a loving and supportive community. Elders are respected, personal boundaries are protected, marriages and relationships secured, and healthy lifestyles fostered.  Our faith is less about following arbitrary rules and more about ordering and expressing our lives in love.   Jesus reduced the many laws in the Jewish tradition to two: love God and love neighbor.  When we love, then all of the laws are fulfilled.   The more we focus only on law and punishment, the more love is left behind. People are more important than rules. An example of this comes from Samuel Wells, vicar of St. Martin in the Fields in [...]

By | 2017-10-14T20:20:03+00:00 October 14th, 2017|October 2017|Comments Off on Community of Love and Respect

Crystal Aquifer

Exodus 17:1-7    Philippians 2:1-13     Russell Eidmann-Hicks           Where do we go to unearth waters of life?   Well, our scripture lesson tells us.    It’s below the surface, available to us all.  Just break through the barriers that get in the way.   Moses struck the rock at Mt Horeb and out it poured.          In my childhood, walking on my rambles through miles of woods behind my home, after hours of clomping through the snow, climbing over logs and through hemlock groves, I would grow thirsty, even in the bitter cold.   Streams ran through these woods, gurgling and bubbling under brittle ice.   But to get to the water I would have to break through layers of crystal.             Ice on a fast-moving stream has several layers.   A very thin and delicate layer is suspended several inches above the water, which breaks with a satisfying crack and crunch.   Another layer [...]

By | 2017-10-04T13:42:01+00:00 October 4th, 2017|October 2017|Comments Off on Crystal Aquifer

Bread in the Wilderness

Exodus 16:2-15   Matthew 20:1-16   Russell Eidmann-Hicks Bread in the wilderness.  It was tough enough to face the terror of Pharaoh’s army and the hopelessness at the edge of the sea.  But then the waters parted and a way emerged, and the people crossed to dry ground.  They were free. They got across, they made it, right? But then what?   All they saw ahead of them was cactus and stones, desolate wasteland, miles of gravel and dirt.  They had their children’s mouths to feed, their animals to water, their homes to build.  What’s up with God? Huh?  How’s this gonna work? Most of us have gone through something close to this.  Your boss tells you nicely or not so nicely that your position is being elimated, or you are being let go.  You step through the doorway after a funeral and sense the cavernous emptiness and deadly stillness that lies inside [...]

By | 2017-09-26T19:21:06+00:00 September 26th, 2017|September 2017|Comments Off on Bread in the Wilderness

When Two or Three Are Gathered

When Two or Three Are Gathered  Exodus 12:1-14  Matthew 18:15-21    Russell Eidmann-Hicks What’s going on these days?  Between back to back hurricanes ravaging the Caribbean and Florida, to massive earthquakes in Mexico to raging wildfires out West – to nuclear bombs in North Korea – to 800,000 young people threatened with deportation…all in the matter of two or three weeks!  It’s making us feel a little crazy, right?   Science fiction writer, John Scalzi, who surveyed the charred and flooded and shaken landscape, said on Twitter that this ‘sure as hell feels like the End Times are getting in a few dress rehearsals right about now.’  Between these events and our own personal crises and upheavals – we can use a bit of soothing, don’t you think?  Where can we look for a bit of stability and hope and security? Well – I think our scripture lesson today is giving us [...]

By | 2017-09-13T13:36:05+00:00 September 13th, 2017|September 2017|Comments Off on When Two or Three Are Gathered

Treasure in Small Boxes

Treasure in Small Boxes   Genesis 29:15–28  Matthew 13:31–33, 44–52  Russell Eidmann-Hicks The movie, Dunkirk, is a summer blockbuster that tells a true and amazing story.  If you haven’t seen the movie, I’m sure you know the tale.  400,000 English and French troops early in WWII were forced to retreat to the beach at Dunkirk after the Nazis swept through France in their invasion in the spring of 1940.  The beach became a prison and a killing ground – with the Luftwaffe bombers and fighter planes strafing and releasing bombs on the thousands of troops stuck there.  These planes also targeted and sank any large vessels sailing to ferry the men away. It seemed absolutely hopeless. As it was, the army was there for days – with the Nazis believing they could go nowhere, leaving the German air-force plenty of time to pick them off.  Historians say that this was one of [...]

By | 2017-09-13T13:34:22+00:00 September 13th, 2017|July 2017|Comments Off on Treasure in Small Boxes