Restoring Humanity

Restoring Humanity

Sermon on Mark 1:21-28, for January 8, 2018, Epiphany +4  B

Mark 1:21-28

They went to Capernaum; and when the Sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching — with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

I was reading a prayer that caught my attention recently.  It was a morning prayer; a prayer of praise.  The author gave thanks to God for human consciousness itself.  That struck me. 

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What an amazing gift: to be a human with consciousness!  Not just to be alive, like the grass and trees are alive, and not just to have consciousness like the fish and birds do, or even dogs or chimps. 

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Being the Beloved Community of the Called

Being the Beloved Community of the Called

Sermon on Mark 1:14-20 for Epiphany +3B, Jan. 21, 2018

Mark 1:14-20

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea — for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Monday was Dr. Martin Luther King day, and I want to thank all of you who baked or bought snacks and fruit for us to pass out.  It was a wonderful day of celebration of all that Dr. King’s movement has accomplished for civil rights in our country.

MLK Day 2018 Fairhope

Dr. King liked to speak of his vision of a reconciled humanity as “the Beloved Community”. 

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Connected to the Past, Open to the Future

Connected to the Past, Open to the Future

Sermon on Luke 2:22-40 for December 31, 2017, Christmas +1B

Luke 2:22-40

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

   “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
 and for glory to your people Israel.”

And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

So, it is New Year’s Eve.   And you are in church. 

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You have a lot in common with the characters in the text we read from Luke.  Joseph and Mary, with the baby Jesus in tow, as well as Simeon and Anna, are at Israel’s place of worship, the temple in Jerusalem, being faithful Jewish people. 

You are here in church, which I take as an act of faithfulness.  You closing out the year by gathering with the community of faith where we worship. 

Continue reading “Connected to the Past, Open to the Future”