Oct 10, 2021 |
Heaven is a life shared| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Heaven is a life shared
Every time Jesus says follow me, he is not saying, “Hey, let's you and me go for a one on one walk, so that I can teach you how you can go to heaven.” Every time Jesus says follow me, he is inviting people into a community that is already begun and is growing and is drawing from the Holy Spirit to be filled with the love of God and participate with Jesus in the healing of the world. Follow me is not an individual command, but an invitation into a life shared not only with God but with one another. Follow me is a thing that Jesus says so that we will recognize that if we go with Jesus, we will be drawn outside of ourselves, outside of our own fears, outside of our own false security and into real life, love and relationship with the God made us.
Oct 03, 2021 |
Humans Are Meant to be Together| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Humans Are Meant to be Together
Some Pharisees come to test Jesus and they asked, is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? And Jesus basically says, sure, it's aloud. But from the very beginning of creation, from the very beginning way back in Genesis, people we're meant we're made to be together. Separating them in any way is going to be a very, very painful experience. And in Jesus' time, it was almost always the most painful for the woman, because the patriarchy made sure that a woman could barely survive without a man to provide for her the basic necessities of life. Now we are in a lot of ways in a very, very different time, but divorce is still a painful experience. And it's usually still the most painful for the most vulnerable one...Jesus is reminding us today that when we separate ourselves from other people, be it through divorce or racism or classism or sexism or any of the other isms: When we separate ourselves from other people for any reason, we are not living the way that God intended for us to live, which is in harmony.
Sep 26, 2021 |
Being the Salt of the Earth| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Being the Salt of the Earth
Should we stop people who are outside of our understanding from bringing blessing and love into the world in Jesus' name and Jesus' response is, if you do that, you may as well go to hell. That's what Jesus says. That's what that whole second section of the gospel is about. When we get in the way of other people sharing the blessing, we are bringing hell to earth. When we get in the way of other people making the world more like God would have it because they're doing it in a way we don't understand, we are marring our own body: the body of Christ. We are cutting ourselves up. We are burning and bringing the fire here and we know how to do that, don't we? I know how to do that. I know how to confine my life so that it looks just enough like I want it to so that I can say, it's going okay. I can see love here and I can shut out love when it doesn't look like what I'd like it to, which really just means I can shut love out when it's going to push me and make me uncomfortable and challenge me and make me into something I wasn't expecting. This is exactly what Jesus does in our lives time and time again. Jesus pushes us to recognize God's blessing and power in places and in people we could never have imagined.
Sep 19, 2021 |
What really makes you the GOAT? (Greatest of All Time)| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
What really makes you the GOAT? (Greatest of All Time)
" We readily talk about who is the greatest. We want to know them or name them. Our culture is attuned to that, to power and influence, to excelling. There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to do our best, to encourage others, to excel, to use the gifts that we have. But in Bible study, the conversation immediately hit on the sports world and our longing to name or witness the prowess of the greatest of all our sports stars, the greatest of all time. Be it baseball, football, basketball, gymnastics, swimming, tennis...It's not the awards and the recognition, it’s how you encourage others. It's not about accomplishments, it’s about humility and faith and service to others. No one could be more worthy of the awards and recognitions and accolades this man received. But for him, it was never ever about any of that. It was always about service, about lifting up others to help them create better lives for themselves and for the generations to come."
Sep 12, 2021 |
Get Behind Me Satan| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Get Behind Me Satan
“ When we look at the people around us and we read about how we're supposed to love everybody. And then we look at the people around us when we hear Satan say, I mean everybody, but THAT person, we're not going to love them. Or, I could love them if they would just think like I think. I would love them. I could love everybody if they just got vaccinated. I could love everybody if they would just get on board with how I am, to which Jesus himself says, ‘Get behind me Satan.’ You are thinking about the world on your terms and not on God's terms. And this is so important. Not only that Jesus says that you are thinking about things on worldly terms and not on God's terms, because we know that we do that. But what Jesus says about it; he calls us Satan, or he recognizes Satan in our midst, and we got to hear that. We got to hear that we are capable of being adversaries to God's will, to God's work in the world. We have to see it, but also, we have to recognize that Jesus is saying, ‘get behind me’, not get away from me, not go away forever, or be banished. Jesus tells his disciple who has gotten out of line and says, do things my way, Jesus. No, you get behind me, from behind Jesus, You can follow. "
Sep 06, 2021 |
What really makes you the GOAT? (Greatest of All Time)| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
What really makes you the GOAT? (Greatest of All Time)
" We readily talk about who is the greatest. We want to know them or name them. Our culture is attuned to that, to power and influence, to excelling. There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to do our best, to encourage others, to excel, to use the gifts that we have. But in Bible study, the conversation immediately hit on the sports world and our longing to name or witness the prowess of the greatest of all our sports stars, the greatest of all time. Be it baseball, football, basketball, gymnastics, swimming, tennis.... It's not the awards and the recognition, it’s how you encourage others. It's not about accomplishments, it’s about humility and faith and service to others. No one could be more worthy of the awards and recognitions and accolades this man received. But for him, it was never ever about any of that. It was always about service, about lifting up others to help them create better lives for themselves and for the generations to come. "
Sep 05, 2021 |
Who is Jesus in the Real World?| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Who is Jesus in the Real World?
"Jesus wasn't a rich person who decided to like poor people. He was poor. Jesus was not a person in the middle of society who chose to hang out with the people who are marginalized. Jesus was marginalized. Jesus was not a person in the middle of great privilege and wealth who just decided that it was cool to hang out with people who were on the edges of society. Jesus belonged on the edge of society... Last year we did a book study by Howard Thurman and the book was called Jesus and the Disinherited. It was the second time I'd read the book and apparently the first time I'd read it, I still hadn't figured it out. It took me until the second time and it's in the very first chapter of the book. Howard Thurman says, 'Jesus, isn't hanging out among the disinherited of the world. Jesus is the disinherited of the world.'"
Aug 29, 2021 |
Beauty and Love Endure| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
Beauty and Love Endure
"Amid heartbreak there is light and love and deepest gratitude for the most precious earthly time we have. Whether it's at the time when life is ending. Or at the time life is beginning. Or at that unknown period in between. That gratitude for the life and the love that is at hand. Beauty and Love endure. So yes, there are evil forces in our world and evil thoughts and intentions born of pain, brokenness, separation from God and each other. There are those things that we can find in our own heart. There are those things. But let us bravely discern whenever we suspect evil, whenever we confront evil. Let us bravely encounter it. And especially when it's within us, let us call it out and let it go. Let us pray: Deliver us from evil. And also pray: Deliver the evil from us. Because it is only with God's help that we can find our way."
Aug 22, 2021 |
Talking About Evil| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Talking About Evil
"We often avoid talking about the armor of God because it sounds just a little too militant. We rarely sing, “Onward Christian Soldiers” or “Stand up, stand up for Jesus” because they arouse this ugly association with a Crusader mentality. We don't talk like that anymore because it forces us to own the horrors done on our behalf, by faithful followers who obliterated our brothers and sisters of Abraham in Medieval Times; who annihilated native peoples in this land in the name of discovery; who enslaved our siblings of color and who denigrate them still. We don't acknowledge the discomfort of the association because we prefer to focus on the nice pretty parts instead. Instead of saying no. Being a Christian soldier is not about destruction. It's about life."
Aug 15, 2021 |
Make the Most of Our Time| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Make the Most of Our Time
"To eat the flesh and to drink the blood of Jesus is language that helps us to understand our very nourishment. How we feed ourselves in our daily lives is meant to be centered in Jesus, in the God of love. Our very food and drink is love. Any wisdom we can get, it’s not by reading something or by going to all the right places. It is about constructing, building lives that are nourished, fed, the bread and wine of true and real unconditional love. How do we build our lives around the love that is unending? How do we make the most of our time? How do we make our life rooted and grounded in the love that creates all things?"
Aug 08, 2021 |
Strength for the Journey| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Strength for the Journey
"This reading from First Kings to me is what Eucharist is like. We come and we receive a gift that we need. When we've had enough, when we give up, when we can't do it anymore. All of this. All of this that's going on in the world. We can't do it anymore. And we put out our hands. We receive a gift of grace. We come here to be what we see and to receive who we are. The body of Christ. We gain strength for the journey in a shared meal, in a communion feast."
Aug 01, 2021 |
Thrust Into Uncertainty| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Thrust Into Uncertainty
"The testimony we have before us today and the testimony of our faith is sure and certain and clear and consistent. We hear time and again, as we did today, you will be thrust into places of uncertainty, discomfort, fear, and change. And in all of those places you will find God. You are not alone. We are not alone. We are not left to our own devices right now. In the times of great uncertainty and fear and change God, the God of love, the God of all creation, the God who great gathers all things up into heaven, is with us right now. Sharing life with us. And drawing us into deeper communion and connection with one another."
Jul 25, 2021 |
That's A Miracle!| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
That's A Miracle!
The presence of Jesus in physical form, physical human form is a continuous miracle throughout the gospels. Jesus’ very being is a miracle, both transcendent and grounded all at once. And the path of love Jesus teaches us and invites us to enable us to bear witness, in our own days, to the miraculous nature of love.
Jul 11, 2021 |
The Voice of the Prophet| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
The Voice of the Prophet
"There's something really wonderful about saying, 'Oh yeah, God is love isn't that nice.' Without acknowledging that that means that if God is love and God has called me into life, into living, into being in this world that I am made for love. And then I’m meant to live in this world as if that's true. Well, that might require me to look at myself differently"
Jul 04, 2021 |
Along the way of Love| The Rev. Gary Lubin
Along the way of Love
"Then along the way of Love, we hear in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus sends out the 12 disciples to heal and teach like he had been doing. Then later on, Jesus sends out 70 more disciples to do exactly the same thing. So the Jesus love movement grew then and continues to grow even now because Jesus’ followers say and do something in the name of love and for the sake of love, even if it’s just a little thing. Just being grateful and faithful followers of Jesus persuade us to speak on God’s behalf to becoming a beloved community."
Jun 27, 2021 |
Unimagined Miracles| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
“This is our very human dilemma, as people of faith. Like Jairus, we desperately want our loved ones to be healed. Like the woman, we want ourselves to be healed. We pray faithfully, and yet if we focus on what we think that healing looks like, we may miss the healing that is happening in our midst, the healing that already is.”
Jun 20, 2021 |
Peaceful Easy Feeling| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Peaceful Easy Feeling
"Sometimes my son's wisdoms wisdom falls short of his ancient namesake, who reminded us that humility is a flower which does not grow in everyone's garden. And what I realized in my son Aristotle's response was a real-life example of society and scripture in conflict. The world says to us, punch that storm in the face. But the gospel says to us, ask for help. The world says, be afraid. And the gospel says, keep the faith. The world says, take control. And the gospel says, some things are beyond you."
Jun 13, 2021 |
In My Mother's Garden| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
In My Mother's Garden
"But in my mother's garden, the one that is wild and free with all the weeds growing in it, a conglomeration of cuttings from heirloom plants and pretty flowers from one daughter and hardy trees from another and exotic ground coverings from another and veggies to feed our friends and some flourishing throwaways that we rescued from the flower dump down the street. Among all of these, there in that place, the sign makes sense. Because that garden looks a lot like the world and that's where God is."
Jun 06, 2021 |
We Are Family| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
We Are Family
"But the power of family, the power of blood, can do so many things to keep us in its thrall and make us feel like we've got to stay in something that is unhealthy. We've got to put up with abuse. We've got to put up with being less than God has made us to be. And Jesus has a liberating message for us in those moments: That our true family, our true belonging, is found in the God who made us, and our siblings and parents are the people who understand that God is love. And the community that is built on the God of love is meant to become our family."