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Trust in the Promise

Trust in the Promise    Genesis 15:1–12, 17–18     Luke 13:31–35 The sun was broiling, baking the asphalt of the narrow road through endless miles of jungle.   Before the tire blew out, we had driven for at least an hour without seeing a town or garage, so chances of getting help were pretty slim.   Martha and I couldn’t sit in the car because the sun was too intense, so we got out to look at the tire and to see if the rental car had a spare and a tire iron and jack.  As I rose out of the car, I was confronted with a dozen men dressed in rags stepping silently out of the forest and quickly surrounding the car.   We stopped and stared at each other – native Mexicans from the wilds of the Yucatan, and two stranded, privileged American tourists.   Could we trust them?  We were completely [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 February 24th, 2016|February 2016|Comments Off on Trust in the Promise

All Gifts Matter

All Gifts Welcome  I Corinthians 12:1-11      John 2:1-12   Rev. Rusty Eidmann-Hicks In his book, Community: the Structure of Belonging, Peter Block writes: “If we care about transformation, then we will stay focused on gifts, to such an extent that our work becomes to simply bring the gifts of those on the margin into the center.” Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians that each gift of those in the community of faith – especially those on the margins - has value.   The various talents and callings of its diverse members contribute to the health of the common good.   We differ – and what we have to offer is unique – but working together we make one body, one whole.   In Paul’s day the Corinthian community in Greece was amazingly varied, since the Roman Empire drew upon people from its widest reaches.   Travel was easy and safe because of its roads, and [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 January 19th, 2016|Sermon - January 2016|Comments Off on All Gifts Matter

Beloved

Beloved    Isaiah 43:1–7       Luke 3:15-17, 21-22                                                  Russell Eidmann-Hicks Thomas Merton’s famous revelation in downtown Louisville is described this way in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander: “In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness… This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud… I have the immense joy of being human, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 January 19th, 2016|Sermon - January 2016|Comments Off on Beloved

Waiting for a Savior

Micah 5:2-5a    Luke 1:39-56                                                             Russell Eidmann-Hicks Two little brothers were fighting over who got the first pancake one morning. Their mother pulled them apart and said, “You are brothers; you should be like Jesus who would say, ‘Brother, you take the first pancake. I can wait.’ The older brother said to the younger, “You be Jesus first!” Waiting, watching, can be trying; we’d rather get what we want now – first – without having to wait. Henri Nouwen, in his book A Spirituality of Waiting: Being Alert to the Lord’s Presence in Our Lives, writes that “Elizabeth and Mary came together and enabled each other to wait. These two women created space for each other to wait. They affirmed for each other that something was happening that was worth waiting for ... It is one of the Bible’s most beautiful expressions of what it means to form community, to be together, [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 December 22nd, 2015|Sermon - December 2015|Comments Off on Waiting for a Savior

Guide our Feet into the Way of Peace

  Philippians 4:4-7     Luke 3:7-18 So here we are in Advent, hearing again from John the Baptist – the holy prophet with flying beard and knotted hair down to his waist, wrapped in animal skins – yelling 'Turn your life around!'  He cries to the scribes and religious leaders: you can’t depend on your ancestor Abraham to be saved. Do what God asks of you! Bear the fruit of compassion, justice, and moral action!   To common people he instructs them to share their belongings, to be honest in their dealings, not to cheat, or rob, or do violence to their neighbors.   He warns that Jesus will separate the wheat from the chaff, with the wheat going to the granary and the chaff into unquenchable fire.   We assume that means different people. But remember that wheat and chaff come from one stalk – and so he is saying that Jesus calls us [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 December 8th, 2015|Sermon - December 2015|Comments Off on Guide our Feet into the Way of Peace

Colonial Story: Penelope Stout 1622-1732

Penelope Van Princis Stout    1622-1732   Colonial Worship Service November 22, 2015 The storm that shipwrecked us in 1643 seemed like a wicked demon, pushing our vessel sideways, like a leaf blown across a pond. Waves and wind drove us onto sand at Sandy Hook, leaving the boat to be smashed by enormous rolling surf, until timbers gave way, the masts snapped, and our sails were torn to tatters. As many of us as were able slid over the side to wade into the waters, clutching what little we could carry. My husband was sickly and pale after weeks aboard ship. By the end of the night, after being soaked and knocked about by the waves, he could do little but crawl across the sand into a patch of woods. Other survivors, the captain and crew and merchant-men promised to return for us from New Amsterdam, once they arrived, [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 December 2nd, 2015|Sermon - November 2015|Comments Off on Colonial Story: Penelope Stout 1622-1732

Sheaves of Joy and Thanksgiving

Sheaves of Joy and Thanksgiving   Psalm 126    Matthew 6:26-34   Rev. Rusty Eidmann-Hicks Oatmeal Collective cartoon: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/plane True. We are in free fall among the stars. True: We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. True: We don’t know if we will prosper or decline. Like the people of Paris or Beirut or Mali, we don’t know if tragedy or sorrow may strike, and our hearts break. Also true: let’s get up and help someone. Praise and thanksgiving are always found against a backdrop of uncertainty and tragedy.   There are seasons when the harvest fails. Perhaps it was a drought, or a flood, or a windstorm that flattened the crops, or locust that ate every grain…sometimes the harvest does not come in. So when it does, it feels like a blessing; it’s a deliverance from want and famine, and it warrants a time of rejoicing.   While falling through the stars, [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 November 23rd, 2015|Sermon - November 2015|Comments Off on Sheaves of Joy and Thanksgiving

The Great Turning

The Great Turning    1 Samuel 1:4-17     Mark 13:1-8   Nov. 15, 2015   Rev. Rusty Eidmann-Hicks The Temple that Jesus and his disciples were walking from was Herod’s great temple. It had courtyards twice the size of the Roman Forum, hundreds of marble pillars holding up covered walkways, and the entire front of the building covered in beaten gold. Witnesses said that there was so much gold that it was absolutely blinding in the sunlight. And the stones were enormous. When a group of us travelled to Jerusalem, we walked through a tunnel that ran alongside the foundations of the building, and saw carved stones the size of railway cars. Amazing. The disciples were awed: “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!”   But Jesus saw something different; he predicted a future upheaval, a great turning: “Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 November 17th, 2015|Sermon - November 2015|Comments Off on The Great Turning

Joy of Generosity

Joy of Generosity   Ruth 3:1–5; 4:13–17  Mark 12:38-44                            Russell Eidmann-Hicks In scripture today hear of a very stupid old woman (in the eyes of our world). She not only has too little money, which is suspect – but then she turns around and gives it all away. All of it! What a fool! How dumb can she be, right?   What got into her head?   Assuming she’s got her head screwed on right, what is she thinking? The story begins with Jesus railing against the scribes, clergy or lawyers or politicians of his day, strutting around in their beautiful robes, showing off their wealth and power. Jesus makes the point that they give to God out of their surplus, their left-overs. This poor widow, on the other hand, is giving out of her very being, all she has to [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 November 11th, 2015|Sermon - November 2015|Comments Off on Joy of Generosity

Hearts Afire

Hearts Afire  Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9  John 11:32-44          All Saints Sunday                                                  Russell Eidmann-Hicks Here is a testimony about ways that songs remind us of our faith and how they light fires of love and memory that sustain us in times of sorrow or fear. It is by Nancy Bauer-King from Racine, Wisconsin:          “It took me 45 years to catch on to the value of a faith community. Then one Sunday, halfway through the first verse of the opening song, I got it. I had completed my first year as a pastor and was standing behind the pulpit singing No. 133 in the United Methodist Hymnal: “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms.” I knew the people well [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 November 3rd, 2015|Sermon - November 2015|Comments Off on Hearts Afire