Green Shoots

Green Shoot     Isaiah 11:1-10    Matthew 3:1-12    Russell Eidmann-Hicks    Dec. 4, 2016 Barbara Brown Taylor shares this reflection:   “I knew a woman once who was not sure she wanted to go on living.  She was old.  She lived alone.   She was afraid to go to sleep at night for fear that she would not wake up in the morning, so she lay in her bed waiting for the sun to come up before she dared to shut her eyes.   Then someone who loved her suggested that as long as she was awake, she might as well start listening for the first bird that sang each morning.   Before long, the sound of that bird became the bell that woke her heart to life again.  She named the bird. She discovered what such birds like to eat, and put feeders full of seed in her yard.   Other birds [...]

By | 2016-12-12T15:33:58+00:00 December 12th, 2016|December 2016|Comments Off on Green Shoots

Bread of Heaven

Deuteronomy 26:1–11    John 6:25-35     November 20, 2016    Russell Eidmann-Hicks On this Thanksgiving Sunday, we look forward to celebrations when we will be gathering with loved ones to enjoy abundant feasts.  This week we take time to give thanks for the blessings in our lives, for our provisions, for our security, for our well-being.  And of course much of this is not material – it is invisible, inner, and spiritual.   Jesus gives his disciples a hard time because they mis-understood the meaning of the miracle he just performed: the feeding of 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish.  Imagine if you had 20 show up at your house for Thanksgiving, and all you had in the house was five loaves and two fish?   Not pretty.  Imagine 5000!   Jesus pushes them to look deeper, and to understand that the real bread that comes from heaven is bread that fills us [...]

By | 2016-11-23T21:34:01+00:00 November 23rd, 2016|November 2016|Comments Off on Bread of Heaven

A Rock on Which to Stand

A Rock on Which to Stand   Isaiah 65:17-25  Luke 21:5-19   Russell Eidmann-Hicks  November 13, 2016       The prophet Isaiah was speaking to a community in shock.  They had just made a long, agonizing trek back across the desert from exile in Babylon to Jerusalem.  What they found was not the glorious city of King David, but rather a crumbling hill town, whose temple and walls had been pulled down, and whose homes had been abandoned or taken over by nomads and shepherds.   Great stones that had held up the magnificent temple of Solomon, were rolled over the cliff of the temple mount to the valley below.  The people were threatened by roaming bandits and marauders, and they had to struggle just to find enough food and water.  The future was a fearful and gloomy prospect. In our New Testament lesson, we hear a similar message 500 years later..  Jesus is [...]

By | 2016-11-23T21:30:52+00:00 November 23rd, 2016|November 2016|Comments Off on A Rock on Which to Stand

The Wind Telephone

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14    Luke 20:27-38     Russell Eidmann-Hicks I don’t know if you have ever had this feeling, but sometimes I sense that I am being watched over by those I have known who have died.   This isn’t spooky, or about ghosts or Halloween – it’s just a feeling of belonging, of being in a loving presence who wishes to bring blessing and guidance, protection and comfort.  It can just be a vague feeling – I don’t know – or a wish that I have.  But when I remember certain people, I feel that in some strange way we are still connected, and that the love we have for each other isn’t over, it hasn’t died. In our scripture this morning, we hear of our faith that our God is God of the living, not of the dead – meaning that those whom we have lost still live in [...]

By | 2016-11-07T21:40:29+00:00 November 7th, 2016|November 2016|Comments Off on The Wind Telephone

Faith Alone

Faith Alone   A sermon for October 20, 2016     William Field Luke 19:1-10 There he was. A rich man, enjoying the fruits of his work. There he was. An outcast, spurned by his neighbors because of that work. There he was. A tax collector, collecting more than he should.  Paying to the Romans what he had to and living high off the rest. There he was. A sinner. A sinner because he was cheating his people. A sinner because he was collaborating with the enemy. A sinner because he was human. There he was. Just like you, and me. Human. Cutting corners.  Speeding a little, maybe.  Drinking a little more than you should, maybe.  Working on the Sabbath, probably.  Not loving your neighbor as yourself – it’s hard, I know, believe me, I know, it’s hard.  We all fall short.  We all sin. There he was, just like you [...]

By | 2016-10-31T13:27:30+00:00 October 31st, 2016|October 2016|Comments Off on Faith Alone

God Have Mercy on Me, a Sinner!

Joel 2:23-32  Luke 18:9-14      Russell Eidmann-Hicks On November 19th, 1863, in the middle of Civil War, Abraham Lincoln came to dedicate the battlefield at Gettysburg as a lasting cemetery for the thousands and thousands who died in the battle that previous July.  He followed an Oration by the Honorable Edward Everett that lasted for two solid hours.  That was meant to be the Gettysburg Address – but the one that is remembered from that day is the very short address by Lincoln that began: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”  The war was a great test as to whether the [...]

By | 2016-10-25T18:00:16+00:00 October 25th, 2016|October 2016|Comments Off on God Have Mercy on Me, a Sinner!

The Bright Thread

2 Timothy 1:1-14     Luke 17:5-10     Rusty Eidmann-Hicks        At Christmastime when I was growing up, my Mother would cover the dining room table with a plaid red and green tablecloth.   What I remember distinctly is that the tablecloth had a few golden threads that cut across the cloth – making it festive and bright.   These golden threads would glitter in the light, especially when candles were lit at Christmas. We have fine quilters here in our congregation – and Lynn – Pru – you know what it means to have a bright thread that catches the eye and that draws attention to a pattern or design.   Spiritually, we seek to discern a pattern, a pathway pointing us to something deeper, with great beauty or meaning.    Our spiritual lives are a search for that bright thread, those outlines in life and in our relationships, that lead us to [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 October 3rd, 2016|October 2016|Comments Off on The Bright Thread

Pray for Our Leaders

Pray For Our Leaders    I Timothy 2:1-7    Luke 16:1-13 Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote this about prayer: “Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it that will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.”  Prayer is an education in opening our hearts to others- gaining a new insight, a wider vision, and an opening to compassion.  It settles the heart; it offers us not only inner sanctuary, it also offers direction, a spirit path to follow.  It fosters positive energy and soul-light illuminating our lives.  Prayer heals, reconciles and unites. Let’s all take a moment to pray, first in silence and then with words….   I read once that Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and writer, used to keep a picture of Richard Nixon on his altar, where he would [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 September 19th, 2016|September 2016|Comments Off on Pray for Our Leaders

Is It Enough?

Is it Enough?    Colossians 3:1-11    Luke 12:13-21        Milton Berle once said: “Money won’t buy you happiness.  Money won’t buy you love.  Money won’t buy you health.   But the way I see it is – give me the money and I’ll rent them!”   Money is certainly at the center of most of our thoughts, and though money doesn’t solve everything, it’s a good start! The guy in Jesus’ parable was willing to gamble on happiness based on having plenty of stuff – barns full of grain – figuring it’s going to bring him happiness, enough to ‘eat, drink and be merry.’  Most of us are willing to make that bargain also; figuring if we’ve got enough money, the rest will follow.  Our goal is to get as much stuff as we can and to secure it in big barns – whether houses or bank accounts or [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 August 1st, 2016|July 2016|Comments Off on Is It Enough?

Go and Do Likewise

2 Kings 5:1-14   Luke 10:25-37    This past Friday, Martha and I were in New York City at Union Square, looking for a subway entrance.  Surrounding the entrance were several hundred demonstrators protesting the two latest shootings of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers.  We saw painted signs of anger and frustration, many shouting vulgar rage against the police and saying “Black Lives Matter.”  Around the demonstrators were dozens of tense police officers, doing their jobs – being careful to be respectful. The news had just broken about the sniper killings of the five police officers in Dallas.  The faces of the police officers – women and men – were stony.  Right in front of us in a dramatic tableau was the tragic and continuing racial divide in this country.   How can we possibly regain trust and community in the torn and tattered cloth of our nation? [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 July 11th, 2016|July 2016|Comments Off on Go and Do Likewise