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March 8, 2020- Don’t Give Up Snark for Lent

Excerpts from a Legend of the Baal Shem Tov; From Genesis Rabbah (Midrash), 38; Genesis 12: 1-4a

“Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him”. Genesis 12: 1-4a

 

March 1, 2020- The Great Temptations of Our Time

Excerpts from a Legend of the Baal Shem Tov; Matthew 4: 1-11

“The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.” from T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

 

February 23, 2020- Sometimes, I Water God

Luke 13: 6-9

“When you stop trying to force the Bible to be something it’s not – static, perspicacious, certain, absolute – then you’re free to revel in what it is: living, breathing, confounding, surprising, and yes, perhaps even magic.” – from Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans

 

February 16, 2020- What Is It That We Do Here, Anyway?

The complete Works of Zhuangzi, page 131; 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.” 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, vs. 12,13

 

February 9, 2020- Anyone Got a Flashlight Handy?

Isaiah 58: 1-9a; The Sutra of 42 Sections, Chapter 10

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.” -William Shakespeare, the Merchant of Venice

 

February 2, 2020- Against Shame

Micah 6: 6-8; Matthew 5: 1-12

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” -Camille Pissarro

 

January 26, 2020- The Power of a Name

Pirkei Avot 4:13; a Reading by Abu Dawud; John 1: 35-42

“Rabbi Shimon said, “There are three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty. However, the crown of a good name is greater than all of them.” -from Pirkei Avot

 

January 19, 2020- Don’t Mourn, Organize

a reading from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Luke 11: 46-49

“The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

January 12, 2020- The Jordan River is Disappointing

The Shurangama; Matthew 3: 13-17

“I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.” -Upton Sinclair

 

January 5, 2020- Journeys, Detours, Waystations

Tao Te Ching; Matthew 2: 1-12

“Little by little, one travels far.” -JRR Tolkien

 

December 24, 2019- Christmas Eve Reflection

Luke 2: 1-20

“Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2: 9-11

 

December 22, 2019- The First Christmas Was Scary

Isaiah 7: 10-16; Matthew 1: 18-25

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” 1 John 4:18

 

December 1, 2019- What Exactly Were You Expecting?

Selections from the Gospel of Thomas; Matthew 24: 42-44

“If you come at four in the afternoon, I’ll begin to be happy by three.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

 

November 24, 2019- Other Kinds of Life

Matthew 6: 25-34; Ecclesiastes 3: 19-22

“Like any good ecologist, I regard death as changing into other kinds of life. Death is, among other things, also a wild celebration of renewal, with our substance hosting the party.” -Bernd Heinrich, Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death

 

November 17, 2019- My Battery is Low and It’s Getting Dark

Isaiah 40: 30-31; 1 Kings 19: 4-9

“If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.” -Seneca, Letters from a Stoic, 64 CE

 

November 10, 2019- Rooted in Faith

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; Micah 6: 1-5

“Liturgy is a dead end if it is its own end.” -Stephen B. Bevans & Roger P. Schroeder Prophetic Dialogue: Reflections on Christian Mission Today

 

November 3, 2019- What is Remembered, Lives

Wisdom of Solomon 3: 1-9; The Epic Gilgamesh

“‘Tis a fearful thing to love what death can touch. A fearful thing to love, to hope, to dream, to be – to be, and oh, to lose.” -Yehuda HaLevi

 

October 27, 2019- Fear is the Mind Killer

1 Corinthians 13: 9-13

“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” -1 Corinthians 13: 13

 

October 20, 2019- This Is A Fight; Let’s Act Like It

Ephesians 6: 10-17; Vitakkasanthana Sutta: The Removal of Distracting Thoughts

“To do two things at once is to do neither” -Publilius Syrus

 

October 13, 2019- Hope in a Time of Mass Shootings

Isaiah 43: 2-7; A poem by Izumi Shikibu (Japan, 974? – 1034?)

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” -JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

September 29, 2019- The Time is Now

Romans 8: 19-25

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” -Samuel Beckett

 

September 22, 2019- We Need to Talk About Guns

Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 26: 49-52

“Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house. We could not, so help us God, do otherwise….The time is past when good men [sic] can remain silent, when obedience can segregate men [sic] from public risk, when the poor can die without defense.” -Fr. Daniel Berrigan, while burning draft files in front of Local Board 33 during the Vietnam War

 

September 15, 2019- Everybody Loves a Good Story

Song of Songs Rabbah, 1: 1:9; Luke 15: 1-10

“Like everybody starts out somewheres. And they do something, something gets done to them and it changes their life. That’s called an arc. Where’s my arc?” -Christopher Moltisanti, The Sopranos

 

September 8, 2019- Welcome Home: Same Great Church, New Energy

Isaiah 43: 18-21; Mark 6: 1-6

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” -Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

 

September 1, 2019- A Time for Rest

The Holy Quran 6: 95-99; The Reform Siddur, “Atah Echad”

“Rest and be thankful” -William Wadsworth

 

August 25, 2019- The Only Rule is Compassion: Developing an Ethical Center

Luke 13: 10-17

“He [Rabbi Tarfon] used to say: It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it.” -Pirkei Avot 2:16

 

August 11, 2019- Not a Game, More Than a Show

Babylonian Talmud, Sukkot 49b; Isaiah 1: 1, 10-18

“They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” -Jeremiah 6:14

 

July 28, 2019- The Type of Anger That Helps

John 2: 13-22; from Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification), XIV, 171

“Some of the brothers happened one day to meet at Abba Joseph’s cell. While they were sitting there, questioning him, he became cheerful and, filled with happiness, he said to them: ‘I am a king today; for I reign over the passions.'” -Sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

 

July 21, 2019- If You See Something, Say Something

Ezekiel 33: 1-9

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” – Paulo Freire

 

July 14, 2019- How to Pray: Doubters’ Edition

from Analects 7:35; 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-22

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays”. – Soren Kierkegaard

 

July 7, 2019- A Guide for Unlikely Seekers

2 Kings 5: 1-14; Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20

“One day Abba Anthony received a letter from the Emperor Constantius, asking him to come to Constantinople and he wondered whether he ought to go. So he said to Abba Paul, his disciple, “Ought I to go?” He replied, “If you go, you will be called Anthony, but if you stay here, you will be called Abba Anthony”. – The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

 

June 30, 2019- They Said What?: Hard Teachings

Anguttara Nikaya 7.68; Luke 9: 51-62

“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'” – Luke 9:62

 

June 16, 2019- Choose Wisely

Proverbs 8: 1-4, 22-31; Mark 10: 17-22

“When you care enough, I think you’ll find that you already know what to do. You demand justice the same way you demand anything else in life that really matters to you.” – Rev. Dr. Renita Weems

 

June 2, 2019- You’re Already There

from Tao Te Ching, Ch. 29; Luke 17: 20-21

“In the midst of winter, I find within me the invisible summer…” – Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God Is Within You

 

May 12, 2019- Not Very Sheep-Like

Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 82a; John 10; 22-30

“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)…There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

 

May 5, 2019- The Spirituality of the Stomach

Angulimala Sutra, Chapter 7; John 21, 1-14

“Two of the greatest hungers in our world today are the hunger for spirituality and the hunger for social change. The connection between the two is the one the world is waiting for, especially the new generation. And the first hunger will empower the second.” – Jim Wallis

 

April 28, 2019- I’m New Here

Isaiah 43: 15-19; John 20: 19-31

“She said I had an ego on me the size of Texas. Well, I’m new here and I forget, does that mean big or small? Turn around, turn around, turn around, and you may come full circle and be new here again.” – Gill Scott-Heron, I’m New Here

 

January 13, 2019- Holy Strength and Vulnerability

Mark 1: 16-20; from Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 84a

“Weave, weave, weave us together. Weave us together in unity and love. Weave, weave, weave us together. Weave us together, together in love.”