Message: “KEEPING FOCUSED” Dr. Stanley D. Smith February 8, 2015 Text: Mark 1:29-39 I read again this story that has been going around for a while. It was in a Washington DC metro station on a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them…
“STANDING UP” sermon by Stan Smith Text: Mark 1:4-11 January 11, 2015 Imagine yourself in a theater. The houselights dim, the curtain rises. On stage you see a great throng of people milling about. On one side of the stage a spotlight reveals a rough, heroic figure. His voice is loud and strident. He has everyone’s attention, and many are allowing…
How we think about God is important. If we assume God is cruel and has a finger on the giant zap button in the sky, we will shrink back and live out of fear rather than gratitude. If we assume God is violent, capricious and hostile, we find ways of incorporating those traits into our lives, too. What is your image of the divine? How does it shape your life and faith?
These are they whom we love. These are they who took risks. These are they who were ordinary flawed people, but were important. These are they that didn’t have supernatural powers or abilities, but showed up, stood with us when we needed them. These are they that have shaped our lives and made us what we are as individuals and therefore shape what kind of community we are.
What does it mean to bless animals, what are we doing? Is it a magic spell? We throw around the word blessed all the time. But sometimes it’s good to remember that blessings are more about giving God thanks for gifts and praying that we enjoy the gifts properly. It’s to pray for a good life, happiness, safety. When we learn to bless animals, we learn to bless all creation and one another.
Art as a form of prayer makes so much sense to me. It’s when you just let what is in you flow out, it may be the most honest form of prayer that we have, just to let it bubble up, instead of trying so darn hard to say the right thing or to let language become an obstacle—it’s really so limited. Art is prayer in its purest form, that’s why you can just lose yourself in it and time itself becomes different. You lose track. What? Three hours have past? I didn’t even notice. Many artists talk about moments where things start coming together, when inspiration hits and surprises them like a gift, and they feel connected to their spiritual selves and maybe even that creative energy that is God that courses through all creation.
What we learn from this is that there isn’t a script but a flow that God works with no matter what happens and the orientation of this God is ultimately toward grace and mercy instead of vengeance and punishment. That is, when we mess up, the Almighty isn’t going to press the button that zaps us, God is going to say, “Okay, that was bad, but if you want to get back on the right track, here is a way forward. God’s not into your destruction, but your redemption.
Sometimes the Ten Commandments become something of a political football. Politicians insist on public displays of the commandments but often when pressed, they can’t correctly name more than three or four of them. It screams of hypocrisy and it’s no wonder that so many don’t give these commandments a second thought. I don’t know about public displays; what I do know is that people of faith ought to have these down and pass them on by living them.
Pastor Dave Clark’s Sermon: The God Who Covenants Exodus 19:1-8 September 28, 2014 The candle flickered in the dark basement as my buddy Frank sterilized the razor knife in the flame. We mustered up an eerie solemnity, sixth graders terrified at the prospect of slicing into our own flesh to become blood brothers. Soon Frank,…
In any change things are going to get tense, but if your focus is through rose-colored glasses staring at the past, at what is familiar, that is where you are going end up.