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

Strong in the Broken Places

Strong in the Broken Places    Genesis 32:22-31  Matthew 14:13-21   Russell Eidmann-Hicks A joke goes that Mother Teresa died and went to heaven.   God met her and asked if she was hungry.  Mother Teresa said, “I could eat,” so God opens a can of tuna and some rye bread and they share it.   As she ate, Mother Teresa looked down into Hell and saw the people there eating huge steaks, lobsters, expensive wine, flaming desserts.   Mother Teresa said, “I’m really glad to be in heaven, God, but why do we just eat tuna and rye bread while down in Hell they’re eating like kings?”   God said, “Well, for just two people, why bother to cook?” That is certainly not my vision of heaven, nor do I think it is Jesus’.    On the hillside as the sun was going down, Jesus realized the crowd of his followers needed supper, and there [...]

By | 2017-09-13T13:28:20+00:00 September 13th, 2017|August 2017|Comments Off on Strong in the Broken Places

Seeking Good Soil

Genesis 25:19–34   Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23  Russell Eidmann-Hicks Jesus began by sitting alone, quietly on the beach, listening to the lapping of waves and creaking of boats and rustling of sails.  Eyes closed, in prayer and inner peace, he enjoyed the warm sand and gentle breeze.   One by one, people in the village spotted him, and word spread, and many flocked to the beach, and sat all around him in a circle, waiting patiently for him to open his eyes and to come out of his stillness.   When he finally looked around, he saw an enormous crowd, and decided to speak, stepping into a nearby boat and pushing out a little way, so that all could see and hear him.   He told them a parable, a simple story that can be interpreted in many ways.   The story is about seeds tossed out into the winds, which can land on various types [...]

By | 2017-07-26T18:14:07+00:00 July 26th, 2017|July 2017|Comments Off on Seeking Good Soil

None Apart From God

None Apart From God  Romans 8:35-39  Matthew 10:24-39 John O’Donohue in his book Anam Cara tells “an old story from India about a man condemned to spend the night in a cell with a poisonous snake.  If he made the slightest movement, the snake would strike to kill him.  All night the man stood petrified in the corner of the cell, afraid even to breathe for fear of alerting the snake.  As the first light of dawn reached into the cell, he could make out the shape of the snake in the other corner.  He was deeply relieved not to have alerted it.  Then as the light of dawn increased further and became really bright, he saw that it was not a snake at all, but an old rope lying in the corner of the cell.  The moral of the story is that there are harmless things, like that old [...]

By | 2017-07-11T17:10:34+00:00 July 11th, 2017|June 2017|Comments Off on None Apart From God

Subject To Each Other

Subject to Each Other  Philippians 4:10-13    Matthew 10:21, 25-33 A Doonesbury comic started with a picture of Mike Doonesbury at his 25th Reunion at Walden College.  He’s talking with a husband and wife.  The husband asks whether Mike has a child, and if he, like men nowadays, is helping out with the child-care.  “Are you a modern dad?  My wife and I share the load.”  His wife chimed in, “What do you mean share the load?  You do 20% tops.”  Her husband protests, but she says, “So what does this mean, that in five generations you might actually pick up your socks?”  Mike is seen slinking away from this marital quarrel.   It’s Father’s Day.  Fathers, like mothers are going through lots of changes in their identity nowadays.  Modern fathers do pitch in more than in previous generations.  Expectations are different about whose time will be taken up with [...]

By | 2017-07-11T17:08:36+00:00 July 11th, 2017|June 2017|Comments Off on Subject To Each Other

Arise My Fair One and Come Away

Arise, My Fair One, and Come Away    Genesis 24:34–38, 42–49, 58–67    Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30 It was in early spring, snow still on the ground, when I received a bright blue card in the mail.  As a lonely assistant minister in a small, hardscrabble urban church, I didn’t get many fancy cards.  Inside I found a lovely note from a girl I knew from the divinity school, who had been a field education student at my church the year before.  She said that she was thinking of me, knowing I was going through a tough time, and that she wished me well in my ministry.  I was struck by how thoughtful and simply-put the card was.  I waited and then wrote back, with enormous trepidation, to asked if she might want to go for a walk sometime.  After a couple of weeks, which were agony for me, another blue [...]

By | 2017-07-11T17:06:15+00:00 July 11th, 2017|July 2017|Comments Off on Arise My Fair One and Come Away

Pride & Pentecost

Acts 8:15-40   Acts 2:1-21    UCC Minister Martin Copenhaver shares this story about what it means to see the love and Spirit of God in each person: In his memoirs Oscar Wilde recalled the experience of being brought from the prison, where he was held after being declared—in the strange manner of his day — "guilty" of homosexuality. He writes: "When I was brought down from my prison between two policemen, a man I know waited in the long dreary corridor so that, before the whole crowd, whom an action so sweet and simple hushed into silence, he might gravely raise his hat to me as, handcuffed and with bowed head, I passed him by. Men have gone to heaven for smaller things than that." Such a small act, but it meant so much!  It still means much to show respect and dignity to someone who is being dismissed and [...]

By | 2017-06-06T18:54:05+00:00 June 6th, 2017|June 2017|Comments Off on Pride & Pentecost

Who is My Mother?

Who is My Mother?   1 Kings 3:16-28   Matthew 12:46-50 From her book, Traveling Mercies, writer Annie Lamott tells this story:  “Two days before his seventh birthday, Sam and I were in a town in Idaho, several thousand feet above sea level, where I was teaching at a writing conference.  We were taking an early morning walk in a valley that was so majestic it made you feel patriotic, when Sam noticed half a dozen paragliders floating down off the jagged high mountain above us.  His eyes radiated excitement… Our mouths were hanging open because these fabulous silk-winged creatures – wings of aqua, lavender, rose, apricot, red – were hanging in the sky above us, like a little sky gang led by Icarus himself.           After a minute, when it became clear that they were going to land a few hundred feet away, Sam begged me to run with him [...]

By | 2017-05-17T20:32:06+00:00 May 17th, 2017|May 2017|Comments Off on Who is My Mother?

The Last Tree

  Genesis 9:3-17   Matthew 6:25-34          Earth Sunday      Russell Eidmann-Hicks In USA Today recently, Physicist Stephen Hawking says that human greed and stupidity are still the biggest threats to humankind. During an interview on Larry King Now, the science superstar told King that in the six years since he’s spoken with the talk show host people haven’t cleaned up their act. “We certainly have not become less greedy or less stupid,” Hawking said. “The population has grown by half a billion since our last meeting, with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be eleven billion by 2100.” He noted that the massive problem of pollution has only grown.  “Air pollution has increased over the past five years,” he said. “More than 80% of inhabitants of urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution.”   When asked what the biggest problem facing the world [...]

By | 2017-05-01T16:02:11+00:00 May 1st, 2017|April 2017|Comments Off on The Last Tree