The sermon from Sunday, August 27, 2017 on Psalm 138 –
I had a message from Rev. Sonya Gravlee midday yesterday that said “bulletin?”
At the time, I was standing at a bus stop on the upper West Side of Manhattan, halfway along the journey from the North Bronx to LaGuardia Airport, after spending a couple of days at my mother-in-law’s immersed in the work of clearing out her apartment.
Truth is, it wasn’t that I had overlooked sending her the information for the bulletin, which she kindly agrees to assemble each week.
It’s that I was still mystified by the Spirit’s tug on my heart to preach on this Psalm and on gratitude – which had been clear to me as I read through the lectionary texts last Monday – and I kept delaying in hopes that perhaps I’d get a different answer.
Continue reading The Reality of Gratitude
The sermon from Sunday, August 20, 2017 on Isaiah 56:1-8
Last week we talked about the experiences of two prophets, Elijah and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This week we focus on the words of another, the prophet Isaiah, who brought wisdom and witness into the world more than 700 years before the birth of Christ.
It was a time of war and threat, of erasure, death, and conquest. Sound familiar?
Continue reading A House of Prayer for All
Volunteers are needed to help with brown bag hospitality on Wednesday, September 20th and Saturday, September 23rd for our neighbors who stop by for food assistance. This program provides a bag of non-perishable food to 48 local neighbors in need. Bag packing lasts from 5-6 pm Wednesday, and hospitality lasts from 10-11 am Saturday. We serve food and fellowship with guests as they arrive.
Contact Molly Merkle to volunteer!
The sermon from Sunday, August 13, 2017 on 1 Kings 19: 9-18
The great priest and peace activist Daniel Berrigan writes that 1 Kings (among other books in the Hebrew Bible) offers us “a diagnosis of the pathology of power.”
What then is the role of the prophet mired in the pathology of power, residing in a bloody land that worships idols?
Berrigan lifts up the idea that “Prophecy [is] speaking loud and clear, interpreting, warning and blessing, praising goodness and denouncing evil in high places and low.” Continue reading A Time for Troubling: A Sermon for Charlottesville
The sermon from Sunday, July 23, 2017 on Genesis 28: 10-19
Jacob had to get out of town. With the complicity of his mother, Rebekah, he has deceived his father, Isaac, in order to cheat his brother, Esau, out of his father’s due blessing and birthright. Jacob has contrived to take the better portion for himself. Not surprisingly, Esau is furious. He plans to kill Jacob for his betrayal.
Jacob decides he’d better give his brother some time to cool off. Rebekah suggests he go stay with her brother, so Jacob hits the road.
When you travel a distance, even when you are fleeing peril, eventually you have to stop for the night, right?
In our age of great comforts, we don’t think much for using a stone as a pillow. Jacob didn’t have a lot of choices though, did he? He’d left in a hurry. He was making a long journey on foot.
You work with what you’ve got.
Continue reading Stones and Ladders
Rev. Sonya Gravlee’s sermon from Sunday, July 16, 2017 on Matthew 13:1-10 and 18-23
Back when I taught at the University of La Verne, a Biology professor and I co-created and co-taught an interdisciplinary course called Women and the Environment. One of the documentaries we always showed in that class features an architect and designer named William McDonough.
McDonough advises business and political leaders about good design, design built around abundance rather than scarcity, around good instead of around less bad or just plain bad. When he talks to these leaders, he often begins by asking them, “What do you want to grow?” Do you want to grow prosperity or poverty? Do you want to grow sickness or health? What do you want to grow? Decide that, then design around it.
Continue reading What Do You Want to Grow?
The sermon from Sunday, July 2, 2017 on Romans 6:12-23
This passage from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Roman church is layered.
That’s good because I sat down to write one sermon and ended up writing another. The Holy Spirit will do that to you.
Let’s start with this line from the middle – I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations.
Continue reading Independence or Interdependence
The sermon from Sunday, June 25, 2017 on Matthew 10:40-42, when we celebrated Beloved’s 17th Anniversary
Statistics will tell you that many new church starts fail. Conventional wisdom runs that the most successful ones appeal to a particular target demographic – and they end up being pretty homogeneous. Having a group of people who are very much alike works relatively well as a substantive basis of community.
Even under those circumstances it’s not an easy task to build community and connection in this world. It’s especially not an easy task to build community and connection among people who are quite different from one another.
Yet the realm of God is populated by all God’s people.
Continue reading All God’s People: 17th Anniversary Sermon
We hope you will join us through advocacy, prayer and action this month to support the realm of God on earth.
This is our Covenant: “With the help of God, We will walk together in the ways of Jesus, creating a community and striving for a world where no one is an outcast and no one is a stranger…
Speak out for Sanctuary policies in Birmingham
“Where all people are celebrated as precious children of God“
Speak out against LGBTQ discrimination in Birmingham
“Where we joyfully share with one another: Hope for the living…”
Write letters to support summer feeding and child nutrition programs
“Comfort for the dying.. Dignity for those in struggle…”