Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blogging Towards Sunday, July 31, 2011

Today’s scripture, suggested by Sharon Nelson, is the climactic portion of Paul’s theological explanation in the letter to the church in Ancient Rome.  Over the previous chapters, Paul has explained the tension between sin and brokenness and grace and reconicilation.  He’s talked of the paradox that God in Christ saves not just the Jew but also the Gentile.  Now he arrives at the point in his teaching when he moves from theology to ethics.  How do we live a life in community as diverse and different followers of Jesus?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blogging Towards  Sunday, July 24th    

Chosen by our guest preacher Rev. Jack Buckley who serves First Presbyterian Church Alameda, this teaching of Jesus is quite challenging.   The first verses quote the First Testament and then lift up the common critic of Jesus by his opposition, principally that he’s too much of a party guy always hanging out with the wrong type of folks.

Jesus picks up later and talks about rest and renewal.  A life of faith, a life of following his teachings and example is like the lightest yoke you could imagine.  We rarely use yokes these days, as we drive cars or ride the bus, not a horse.  The yoke is the way in which a beast of burden is guided and directed – controlled in a sense by the weight on his shoulders.  We too often can identify with being driven  around by the heavy burdens of worries, fears, concerns, anxieties and uncertainty on our shoulders. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bumper Sticker of the Week

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blogging Towards Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chosen by our guest preacher Rev. Nancy Walters, formerly on staff at the Westminster House Ministry at Cal Berkeley, this portion of Romans is among the climactic words of this pastoral letter.  Paul has been writing to the church in Rome, explaining faith in Jesus as the Christ.  He’s articulated how the death of one man – Jesus – can bring life to all humanity – US! Paul has tied faith in Christ into the historic Jewish faith in Jehovah lifted up in the story of Abraham and Sarah’s radical journey from nowhere to where God wanted them to be.

Faith isn’t merely historical, it’s not merely a moral compass for our lives.  It is life itself, a new way of being, of being with others and of being with God.  Paul in Romans 8 writes of a new life that we know through the presence and inheritance of God’s Spirit among and in us.  It’s not just genetic or given to a particular people or ethnic tribe, God’s presence is freely given, actively present, grace-fully loving us and winning us towards love.  Paul ends his development of this vision of how life, faith and love are indistinguishable with this ecstatic proclamation of how much God loves us.  Hauntingly beautiful, philosophically challenging, it’s a radical reminder of the hope that we have in the love of God that we know in Jesus – not just in ancient Palestine, but here, now, today in the urban jungle and metropolitan mix of the East Bay.

·       What word, image or phrase in this passage grabs your attention?
·       How does that word, image or phrase touch your life and what you’re living or wrestling with these days?
·       How do you hear the Spirit of God inviting you – or us as a church – to act, speak or be through this passage?
·       How do you struggle to believe, accept or acknowledge God’s love for you?
·       How has this conquering love healed or transformed you?  How do you need God to liberate you today from the things that can separate you from that love?

Friday, July 08, 2011

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Blogging Towards Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chosen by a member of my church community as a challenging Bible passage, this story contains the shortest verse in the whole Bible: John 11:35  “Jesus wept.”  In this story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, we also see the encounter of Jesus with Lazarus’ sisters.  The story points to the power of Jesus over death, to Jesus as more than just a human being – as the power of God divine incarnate in the human condition.  But the text just might ask more questions of us and our faith, then supply us with answers.  Why does Jesus weep?  Why didn’t he heal Lazarus before he died?  If Jesus was divine, wouldn’t he also know what would happen? 

Friday, July 01, 2011

Summer Camp 2011

We've been at summer camp at Westminster Woods this week, brining children from our church community to camp for the week, and for me to be speaking in the Forest 4th-6th grade camp.  It's nearly the end of the week, and as I walked back from an early morning meeting today I found myself thinking about what constitutes a day in the life this week: the pool, pudding cups for desert, campfire, the craft shack, Robin Hood dueling with the Sheriff, Ro-Sham-Bo about the life cycle of a salmon with Chimi & Changa, Free Time, not taking a shower, new friends, old friends, dumb body tricks, and mosquitos, trying new things, reveling in old favorites, getting a bit homesick, or just plain tired.  That’s what camp is about it.  All of those things in a brief span.  Comfort and challenge, joy and frustration, living with others and learning to stand on your own with your parents not nearby (unless your Dad is the camp speaker).  

Bumper Sticker of the Week