Showing posts from January, 2011

Chili is a Means of Grace!

Every church has a lost and found.  A place where everything left behind at the church is stored: jackets, shoes, hats, whatever.  Only at our church have I ever seen keys or cell phones left here.  There are no vacant cars on the parking lot-- so whose keys are these?  And the phones are long dead.  What do we do with them?  Such are the questions on the heart of this preacher on a cold Friday morning in an empty church!

Every church should be a lost and found.  This should be the place where all people-- whether they were raised in the church or not-- are welcome and find a deeper relationship with God through our various ministries, from worship to study to fellowship.  I consistently hear feedback from guests that PUMC is a friendly place where they felt welcome.  Great!  Then begins the real work, which to me is very exciting: helping people plug into the broader ministries of the church.  For example, this year in Disciple Bible study, two couples began the class b…

In Response to the Tragedy in Arizona

I was to begin a new sermon series this morning, "Life in 140 Characters or Less-- Relationships in the Days of Facebook and Twitter".In light of yesterday's events in Arizona yesterday, I offered this reflection instead.  The Facebook/Twitter series will begin next Sunday, January 16.
The news out of Tuscon, AZ yesterday had a profound impact on me.  US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and several others were seriously wounded.  Federal District Judge John Roll was killed, along with five others, including a nine year old child—the granddaughter of former baseball man Dallas Green—who was born on September 11, 2001.  It appears Congresswoman Giffords will survive, although she is still in a very serious condition.  The gunman, a 22 year old high school dropout and US Army reject, was arrested.  Another man is considered a person of interest.  The shooting happened at a grocery store, a scheduled “meet and greet” many of our elected officials host to interact with their…

Happy Epiphany!

This morning I did some reading on Epiphany.  Traditionally, Epiphany is observed January 6 (yesterday), the twelfth day of Christmas (you know, "partridge in a pear tree," etc.).  In some Christian traditions, Epiphany is a day only.  In others it is a season.  Usually I think of it as a day, but this year is different: because Easter is so late (April 24-- about as late as it possibly can be) I'm thinking of Epiphany as a season.  A nine week season.  Wow.  That's almost as long as the seasons of Advent (before Christmas) and Lent (before Easter) combined.

Epiphany means "manifestation," or "appearance."  We recall the star which led the magi to visit the infant Jesus (not at his birth, by the way-- and the scripture (Matthew 2:1-12) says nothing about "three" or "kings").  The magi followed the star and brought gifts to the Christ child.  They were not Jews-- they were most likely astronomers from modern Iran.…