Sheaves of Joy and Thanksgiving

Sheaves of Joy and Thanksgiving   Psalm 126    Matthew 6:26-34   Rev. Rusty Eidmann-Hicks Oatmeal Collective cartoon: 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

Semper Reformanda – Always Reforming

Semper Reformanda – Always Reforming   Romans 6:1-14    Mark 6:6b – 13                                                  Russell Eidmann-Hicks   October 25, 2015 By faith that we are saved through God’s grace. We are not saved our own efforts or position or status or money. A humble faith in God is all that is required. Sincere hope and love are key, not know-it-all expertise or arrogant strength. This is a core principal of the Protestant Reformation, proclaimed by Marin Luther and other reformers – and later affirmed even by the Roman Catholic Church.   We are saved by faith through grace. On this Reformation Sunday we celebrate this insight that runs counter to the blindness so often found in religion and in the world.   Luther had to contend with the blindness of corrupt and wealthy church officials who enforced rules of hierarchy and prestige, denying common people the sacraments or tricking them into paying high prices [...]

By | 2015-10-27T20:33:59+00:00 October 27th, 2015|Sermon - October 2015|Comments Off on Semper Reformanda – Always Reforming

Conversation & Connection

Conversation & Connection   I Timothy 1:1-7, 15-19   Mark 10:35-45              Oct. 18, 2015                                   Russell Eidmann-Hicks James and John come to Jesus with this outrageous request: “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”   Glory, they want glory, and a ton of power and fame. Where does that come from? Haven’t they heard a WORD of what Jesus is teaching? You’d think something would sink in, right?   They’re right next to the messiah! Is it really so surprising that these two young men reflect the culture around them?   They lived in a nation occupied by the most powerful and violent society in the world: the Roman Empire. It’s values revolved around glory – around being supreme, on top, the [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 October 20th, 2015|Sermon - October 2015|Comments Off on Conversation & Connection

“What Must I Do?” – October 11, 2015

“What Must I Do?”      Job 23:1-9, 16-17       Mark 10:17-31 The young man asks a simple question – one that many of us wrestle with: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”   What must we do? A person once asked Rabbi Akiba in the 1st century to explain to him the whole law and the prophets while standing on one foot. “Treat your neighbor as you would want to be treated yourself,” he said on one foot.   Jesus, of course, says something very similar: “Do unto others as you would want done unto you.”  We want simple answers. We want to be able to understand – and too often this whole religion thing starts sounding too complex, too fuzzy, too out of touch, too mushy. “What must we do?” Just say it! We worry it is too hard, too difficult, beyond what we are able to [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 October 12th, 2015|Sermon - October 2015|Comments Off on “What Must I Do?” – October 11, 2015

Community of Compassion – October 4, 2015

Community of Compassion      Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12     Mark 10:2-16 Another shooting in our nation, another week of political polarization and reputation bashing, another week of relentless attacks and one-upmanship…. Sadly, we take this for granted nowadays.   The spiritual writer Parker Palmer talks about our politics in this way: “…the buffoonery and blathering, the racism and sexism and homophobia, the distortions and demonizing, the rhetorical cruelty, the cover-ups, the abysmal ignorance and flat-out lies that suck the marrow from our souls…Those evil spirits are intent on dividing us so deeply that there will be no more “we” in “We the People” — and thus no way for us to reach even a rough consensus on the common good to which we can hold our leaders accountable. Those evil spirits want to take us out of the action, neutralizing the people-power on which democracy depends by setting us against one [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 October 12th, 2015|Sermon - October 2015, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Community of Compassion – October 4, 2015

Wake Up! – June 21, 2015

Wake Up! - June 21, 2015 1 Samuel 17:32-51      Mark 4:35-41         Many of us are still reeling from the act of domestic terrorism and violent hatred that occurred in a church – much like this one – last Wednesday evening.   Let me begin this sermon with a prayer – a prayer given by Rev. Clementa Pinkney, Senior Minister of the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, SC, and State Senator in S.C., who was among the nine killed: Did you hear in that prayer the pastor pray for love and ‘righteous indignation in the face of injustice.’   Love and righteous indignation.   That is our faith.   We love, but we also stand up for justice, for peace, for reconciliation among people, for a caring and moral society.   All of that felt shattered last week, when we woke up on Thursday to hear of the appalling [...]

By | 2016-10-21T21:38:49+00:00 June 21st, 2015|Sermon - June 2015|Comments Off on Wake Up! – June 21, 2015

Reconciling All Things – April 5th, 2015

Reconciling All Things - April 5th, 2015 Colossians 1:15-20    Mark 16:1-8     Russell Eidmann-Hicks Three friends were discussing death and one of them asked: "What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?"   The first of the friends said:   “I would like them to say, ‘he was a great humanitarian, who cared about his community.’”  The second said: “She was a great wife and mother, who was an example to follow.”  The third friend said, “I would like them to say, ‘Look, he’s moving!!’”     On Easter Sunday we affirm that God does get things moving again, even in situations that seem absolutely hopeless – even after the body has been left in the tomb, even after sorrow, devastation and loss.   God breathes abundant life into the whole universe, continues to create, and can move anything.  This is our faith. But imagine going to the cemetery [...]

By | 2015-08-23T17:11:27+00:00 April 5th, 2015|Sermon - April 2015|Comments Off on Reconciling All Things – April 5th, 2015