Friday, September 19, 2014

Forgiveness is tricky Genesis 50:15-21, Romans 14:1-12, Matthew 18:21-35

Good morning friends!
It is good to gather in worship with all of you this Sunday. I am feeling pretty energized today-it's been an exciting week! I spent the last two days listening to inspiring preaching and powerful teaching about the structures of racial discrimination and institutionalized violence in our society. It was a stretching experience- challenging both to my way of life that comfortably enjoys the privileges of my whiteness, and also to listen to people who sometimes said things that I really really disagreed with, with some conspiracy theories and pseudo-scientific nonsense, but I come away inspired to continue the work of social transformation in a country that has not yet overcome it's sinful and shameful history.
Equally, I had a wonderful time at retreat last weekend, and I hope that those of you who made it out were also blessed by the cool weather, the good company, and Roland Kuhl's reflections on the church as a mosaic and a parable that God is speaking into the world.
We have some work ahead of us, collecting and collating the conversations we have had over the last couple of months and turning them into a direct kind of proposal for the congregation, and that is work we are going to do. But I decided a week or two off from visioning will be good for me, and probably for all of you as well.

Forgiveness is important.
So lets talk about forgiveness. We have before us powerful stories-
Joseph, reunited with his brothers after they betrayed him and sold him into slavery.
Paul, encouraging people at each other's throats fighting over essential theological differences to get along.
And Jesus, encouraging us to forgive seventy-times seven times. (or 490, for those of us who do not have quite as much poetry in their souls).

And the Bible is full of these kinds of powerful stories of forgiveness. Jacob, reunited with Esau, The Prodigal Son are all stories of people reuniting with one another. And even more are the stories of God's forgiveness- The Old Testament can be summed up as a story of the people abandoning God, experiencing the consequences, repenting and asking for forgiveness, and being restored to the beloved community. Jesus again and again told the people that he healed “your sins are forgiven”, often without them ever vocalizing the request. And on the cross he asked God, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
So this is something that we have to talk about.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sermon for August 31

Good morning friends!
It is good to gather in worship with all of you this Sunday.
I hope that this day finds you well, and that you are enjoying the three day weekend. Tomorrow I hope that you take time to honor labor day. It is a good chance to remember the value of work, and the meaning it creates in our lives, to remember the struggles of workers through history who have fought for humane treatment from their employers and won things like paid vacation, holidays, and regulated work weeks, to consider the work yet to be done in improving conditions for workers, like better parental leave, and to pray for those who are not able to find work, or are not paid a reasonable wage for their efforts.

This is the last Sunday in our sermon series about visioning, before our retreat next weekend. I'm excited about gathering with all of you to talk about our work together with Roland Kuhl! It's going to be a fun weekend, hopefully not too hot, and filled with good friends and good conversation.