Starting Over

Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia, PA
February 28, 1999 (Lent)

John 3:1-17 is read by the liturgist.

[Communion table has a big celtic cross (which is always there), bowl of ashes (for lent), candle, and a row of misc books.]

A reading from the Hebrew scripture: Psalm 121: 1-2

I lift my eyes to the hills
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from God,
who made heaven and earth.

[Amy, who is visiting, gets up from her pew.  Walks to the communion table.  Shoves all the books onto the floor.  Pauses. Approaches the large cross.  Moves it to the center of the table. Returns to her seat]

A reading from the Persian scripture.  The prophet Rumi.

Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the Beauty we love be what we do.
There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Continue reading “Starting Over”

An Opportunity to Testify

edited somewhat for print
Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia, PA
November 19, 1995

Isaiah 12:1-6; Luke 21:5-19

Where are we?

In this passage from the gospel of Luke, we find Jesus being asked about signs of the times. And he paints us a pretty dismal picture. My first reaction to being asked to preach on this text was “Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into now!?”

I hate this stuff! I hate it when religion is used to fill us with fear. Stories of cataclysmic ends and final judgements. All the world is a battlefield and we must choose sides–against one another. It just doesn’t seem healthy.

Continue reading “An Opportunity to Testify”