We have a familiar Gospel this morning that talks about the kingdom of God with Jesus using parables, those teaching tools, to explain how God works. And right in the middle of our lesson, one of the most familiar stories, the parable of the mustard seed. The smallest of all the seeds and yet when it grows, the greatest of shrubs with its large branches that provide shelter for all around. And that is how God works, from surprising, often small beginnings to incredible, awesome results.
There are so many great images of that little mustard seed. Children, new life, new ministry…new beginnings. No doubt our faith is like that. We are blessed with a rich and vibrant education ministry – with dedicated teachers that work with our littlest members…and on up through adult – with weekly Forum programs during the year and daytime and evening Bible studies. It’s more than learning about stories, though it’s about living faith-filled lives and sharing the Gospel with others. It’s giving life to faith, putting our faith into action.
I find it difficult to read the paper every day and even more disturbing to watch the news with all that’s going on… (more…)
Seminaries emphasize the importance of being sensitive to gender pronouns and not make assumptions about the maleness of ‘God’ – the Holy Spirit, in particular. We find scripture that show feminine images and female metaphors for God, beginning in Genesis…where we’re told that “Humankind – male and female – was created as God’s reflection, created in God’s divine image. God made them.” (Genesis 1:27).
Power and patriarchy have been part of the current conversation in many fields – in the arts and business, in government, in sports…and in the church. The “Me Too” movement has shed light on male dominance in all of these areas. From beginning to end, the Bible positions women as leaders, powerful and prolific people who the story literally would not exist without. They are church founders prophets and apostles. Women are co-laborers with God and men, and image bearers of God who are meant to participate in God’s work in the church and the world.
When we were talking about the possibility of my coming here to Faith, Pastor Mac reminded me of something Pastor Masawe said in one of his sermons when he was visiting from Africa a ways back: (more…)
What a pleasure it is to come this Festival of Pentecost and to celebrate the ways the Holy Spirit is at work in the church. Signs of Glory, Visions of Hope. With new ministries and expanded outreach with children and young adults. Identifying the needs of this Family of Faith as we look to ahead to ways we might reimagine ourselves as the Church in this time, in this place.
It’s tough living faithfully in an often faithless society. Living as a child of faith requires courage to stand up – to stand strong – for what we believe.
Our yearlong theme – Together in Hope – captures the essence of this day quite well. “There is one body and one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism…who is above all and through all and in all.”
We learn from the past, live in the present, with hope for the future of Christ’s church. To paraphrase Churchill, who borrowed from an earlier 19th century philosopher: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” (more…)