In the Flow

Isaiah 42:1-9   Matthew 3:13-17 A couple of years ago, when a group from our church went on a bike ride in the Finger Lakes in upstate NY, Martha & I took a side trip up the Watkins Glen gorge.  Over thousands of years water carved through the mountain’s rock to fashion an intricate and glorious path, filled with deep pools of crystal clear water and imposing cliffs.   We climbed up the walkway, created by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression.  As we looked down into this gorge in all its beauty, I was struck by the wonder of smooth stone slides and round deep pools, all hung with moss and pine.   The power of water over time is astounding – it is able to carve pathways through stone. Chinese Sage Lao Tzu, writing in 500 BC said: “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away [...]

By | 2017-01-09T19:18:04+00:00 January 9th, 2017|January 2017|Comments Off on In the Flow

God With Us

Matthew 1:18-25    Luke 2:1-20     Rev. Rusty Eidmann-Hicks Be careful what you ask for…you just might get it!   A young soldier sat in a bus station waiting for his bus and feeling sorry for himself.   An elderly woman nearby said, “Cheer up, young fellow.  It’s Christmas.  You know, Santa, ho-ho-ho!”  The soldier said, “Let him go ho-ho-ho himself!  When I was ten I asked him for a soldier suit.  This year I got it!”   Some gifts you just don’t want. God needed to be careful for what God asked for… Christmas at first looked like a rotten deal.   Too many complicated personalities and hurt feelings and control issues.  Look what happens in just one of the stories of Jesus’ birth stories.  Poor Joseph…. Can you imagine how he felt?  Mary stops in one day and says, “O Joseph, don’t be upset, but I’m pregnant – Hey it’s [...]

By | 2017-01-02T14:58:47+00:00 January 2nd, 2017|December 2016|Comments Off on God With Us

To Everything There is a Season

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9, 8:6-8a, 9:7-12    Matthew 2:13-23     Russell Eidmann-Hicks “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”  Another translation of this is ‘emptiness, emptiness, all is emptiness – and a striving after wind.”  The writer of Ecclesiastes, is traditionally known as King Solomon – but more probably a teacher in the wisdom tradition from the 3rd century BC.  The teacher is an elder sage, rooted in the natural world, and speaks of the meaning-lessnes of a life not centered in God, a life solely focused on the changing tides and seasons of life.  Jesus was very influenced by this ‘wisdom’ teaching. Like modern day existentialism, the writer sees little essential purpose in life, beyond enjoying day to day pleasures and work; but understands the beauty and fragility of life, and the eternal nature and unknowability of God. “To everything there is a season…a time to kill, and a time to [...]

By | 2017-01-02T14:53:58+00:00 January 2nd, 2017|January 2017|Comments Off on To Everything There is a Season

Make a Joyful Noise!

Make a Joyful Noise!   Psalm 98  John 1:1-14    Russell Eidmann-Hicks In 1936, amid the gathering clouds of war that would turn much of Europe and Asia to wilderness, author E. B. White penned this note in The New Yorker: Shopping in Woolworth’s in the turbulent days, we saw a little boy put his hand inquiringly on a ten-cent Christ child, part of a creche. “What is this?” he asked his mother, who had him by the hand. “C’mon, c’mon,” replied the harassed woman, “you don’t want that” She dragged him grimly away, a Woolworth Madonna, her mind dark with gift-thoughts, following a star of her own devising.   We gather here this Christmas morning, having taken a break from opening presents and sharing the many gifts that we give to each other, to remind ourselves of the real meaning of this day.    It is good to be here, because it [...]

By | 2016-12-28T17:12:29+00:00 December 28th, 2016|December 2016|Comments Off on Make a Joyful Noise!

Strong, Humble & Kind

Strong, Humble, and Kind    Isaiah 35:1-10,   Luke 1:39-56 Krista Tippet, in her book: Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, shares this creation story, that comes from the Hasidic tradition of the Middle Ages: “In the beginning there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof, the source of life. In the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand, thousand things, emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then, perhaps because this is a Jewish story, there was an accident, and the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, broke. “The wholeness of the world, the light of the world, was scattered into a thousand thousand fragments of light. And they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until [...]

By | 2016-12-12T15:36:18+00:00 December 12th, 2016|December 2016|Comments Off on Strong, Humble & Kind

Green Shoots

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" overlay_opacity="0.5" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hover_type="none" link="" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="left top" undefined="" background_repeat="no-repeat" border_size="2" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="right" padding="" margin_top="3px" margin_bottom="3px" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset="" last="no"][fusion_text] 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 [...]

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