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Can’t worship God and Money (readings for May 25, 08)

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Pawnshop from WikipediaHere I sit in the richest nation on earth. Perhaps it should be no surprise, then, that the conflicts over which we Americans fuss most (Iraq, immigration, health care) are about our own wealth.

The question that’s ever before us goes something like this: Do we address these issues to protect the poorest or to protect ourselves alone?

One way follows the example of Jesus. But only one. Read on.

Proper 3 (8)

May 25, 2008 (Because of the early Easter, the readings from Epiphany 8 are used.)

Isaiah 49:8-16a; Psalm 131; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34

Matthew 6:24-34

24″You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

May 22, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Politics

On not giving up (worship gathering of August 19, 2007)

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Proper 15 (20); August 19, 2007
Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:1-2,8-19; Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56

The band played Blessed Be Your Name; Jesus, Be the Centre; Jesus, All for Jesus; In His Time
Pastor Sharon prayed, Terry Hagedorn welcomed, and we read this paragraph together from Hebrews 12:

runner Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.*

And I began the sermon:

Why, do you suppose, the Bible includes this paragraph? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

August 20, 2007 at 1:58 pm

A Christ- worshipping agnostic

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Over at the excellent God’s Politics, Ryan Rodrick Beiler quotes recently-deceased Kurt Vonnegut who, for reasons un-explained, gave a sermon on Palm Sunday in 1980. I excerpt the excerpt, touched by his tender heart:

Kurt VonnegutI am enchanted by the Sermon on the Mount. Being merciful, it seems to me, is the only good idea we have received so far. Perhaps we will get another idea that good by and by – and then we will have two good ideas. …

I read from the Revised Standard Bible rather than the King James, because it is easier for me to understand. Also, I will argue afterward that Jesus was only joking, and it is impossible to joke in King James English. The funniest joke in the world, if told in King James English, is doomed to sound like Charlton Heston… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

April 23, 2007 at 5:13 pm

Posted in Art, Bible, Jesus, Poverty, Religion

Worship music for Advent 2, 12-10-06

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Mary and Elizabeth MeetRather than a Psalm from Psalms, this week’s psalm reading is Zechariah’s song. Zechariah’s been unable to speak for all of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, and now bursts into a “Blessed be the Lord God …”

So, why not begin similarly:

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed Be the Lord God Almighty – which includes the line as your people declare your mighty works – exactly what Zechariah was doing.

Next, thinking of Zechariah’s months of silence, and of Advent’s long wait for Messiah, and whatever it is you and I await:

I Waited (I waited for the Lord on high. I waited, and he heard my cry.)

Meanwhile, the angel has revealed to Mary that she’ll be giving birth as well. Perhaps as reaction to the suspicion of the neighbors – and even her fiancee – Mary goes to spend some time with her cousin, Elizabeth, who’s waiting for her own baby to arrive. Is Mary there to enjoy Elizabeth’s instant understanding and escape the stares of Nazareth?

You Are My Hiding Place

Finally, the day’s gospel reading recounts the beginning of John the Baptist’s preaching. And John makes it clear from the beginning that he’s there to tell of someone else – someone yet to come – who is to be the focus of all his work. Perhaps we echo his thoughts:

Jesus, Be the Centre

Wherever you worship this week, I hope you experience the reality and presence of God himself!

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Written by Monte

December 7, 2006 at 5:27 pm

Call to worship for November 12

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A call to worship for the Revised Common Lectionary’s Year B Proper 27, by Georgann Haeffner:

Good morning, people of the Lord.

We are gathered together to give Him praise today.
We have a God who cares about us and all the details
of our lives. Let’s praise Him, people!

Our God wants to work with you to build your life.
Our God wants to work with you to protect that life!
Our God wants to set you free from too much working
and too much anxiety.
Our God wants to give rest to His loved ones – to you.

Come to Him this morning. Find rest in Him and praise
His holy name!

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Written by Monte

November 11, 2006 at 5:41 pm