Sermons

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The Calamities of Our Times

Kate Lasso

What struck me most about the scriptures for today is that they offer a stark contrast between parallel choices about how to live.  On one side, we can live committed to a free-will and faithful relationship with God.  In his book Come Out My People, Wes Howard-Brook would call this a life embracing the “religion of creation,” which is “grounded in the experience of and, ongoing relationship, with God the Creator, leading to a covenantal bond between that God and God’s people for the blessing and abundance of all people and all creation.” 

Alternatively, we can live according to the tenets of what Wes has called the “religion of empire.”  Wes describes this religion as “sometimes claiming to be grounded in that same God, [but it] is actually a human invention used to justify and legitimize attitudes and behaviors that provide blessing and abundance for some at the expense of others.”  According to Wes, the ideas of both the religion of creation and the religion of empire are present in the bible, woven together as contrasting threads of the same story of humanity in search of God.

Amazing Grace

David Hilfiker

November 11, 2018

Texts:
     Luke 15:11-32
     Romans 5:15-17

A month ago Gail talked here about “amazing grace.” Today I’d like to follow up on her teaching by sharing with you what I find not only amazing but also so disturbing about grace.  I’d like to suggest that God’s grace is so startling that none of us really believes it, especially when it comes to ourselves.  We talk about grace, we may even teach about grace, but when it comes down to it, we really can’t believe it.  In fact, in some ways, I don’t think we even want to believe it.

Let’s remember that grace is always available to us.  It doesn’t depend on how major the sin is, how sorry we are, whether we make amends, or whether we even want that grace.  God always offers grace, that is, God always forgives and never holds it against us.  Whether we can believe it, accept it and make it real for us.is a different question

Grieve, Cry Out, and Give Thanks

Meade Hanna

October 28, 2018

Bartimaeus Story played out at beginning of sermon

Crowd1, Crowd2, and Bartimaeus, blindfolded are facing the congregation along the side of the road (by the side of the altar) while Disciple 1, Disciple 2, and Jesus are walking along slowly the road with Jesus in the middle and do not notice the conversation until the second time Bartimaeus shouts)

Disciple 1 - Look, you guys! I am finally seeing the road out of Jericho and toward Jerusalem!

Disciple 2 - I will be really glad to get away from this crowd.  It is a miracle no one has begged you for healing, Jesus!

Finding the “Courage to Be”

Kent Beduhn

October 28, 2018

Where does courage come from?

  • The one essential ingredient for leadership is courage, for many reasons:
    • COURAGE is the movement of the heart, from the French coeur, meaning heart.
    • It’s hard to stand for what you believe, sense and know to be true; to do so we must learn to “live by heart,” it calls for decision and commitment by heart.
    • It’s important to own your own strengths and gifts, but also weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If you, as a leader, don’t do that you end up projecting them onto one another, a kind of scapegoating that divides, excludes and separates.     
    • When differences are owned, revealed and then worked through among leaders, a larger set of truths and learnings emerge. This shows up in 8th Day’s continued commitment to consensus-oriented decision-making, where empathy is critical in resolving unresolved issues.
    • This heart-centered process gives us, in our best moments, the courage to be our authentic selves, the courage to serve the whole community, and most importantly the courage to be who we can in service to the poor.

What's So Amazing About Grace?

Gail Arnall

Gail Arnall

October 14, 2018

Some years ago, there was a British conference on comparative religions.  Experts from around the world debated whether any beliefs were unique to the Christian faith.  They began to eliminate possibilities:  The incarnation?  No…  God in human form?  No…. Resurrection?  No.  The debate went on for some time until C.S. Lewis wandered into the room.  “What’s going on,” he asked.  They explained the question—what, if anything, is Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions.  “That’s easy,” he said.  It’s grace.”

My mission group is reading Philip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing About Grace? I want to share from this book and then pose some questions about our response to God’s grace.

The notion of God’s love, coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against all of our instincts.  But in Christianity, God’s love is unconditional.  Perhaps aware of our in-built resistance to grace, Jesus talked about it a lot:  the sun shines on people both good and bad; birds gather seeds for free without plowing or harvesting; unattended wildflowers flourish.  Jesus saw grace everywhere.  He didn’t analyze it.  He didn’t define it.  He almost never used the word.  But he conveyed grace through stories – what we know as parable.

The Courage to Be

Teaching: Wendy Dorsey

Camp Meeting Weekend
Oct 7, 2018

Texts: Mark10:13-16
           Mark 9:33-37     
           Matt 18:3-5  
           1 Corinthians 1:20-29

Mark 10:13-16    13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.  14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant.  He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Good morning 8th Day!   Today I hope to weave together the lectionary (and other related) scriptures we just heard with the theme of our weekend “The Courage to Be.” At the end of my teaching, I would like to have a brief dialogue in small groups of three on the subject of courage, so listen up so you’ll know how to respond!

In the first passage read, the Gospel for today, Mark 10, Jesus chastises his disciples for trying to keep the parents and their children away from him.  He is “indignant” - a word that comes from the Latin indignus “unworthy, not fitting,” and may be defined as “an anger aroused by something perceived as an indignity, an offense or injustice.” Jesus is immediately aroused by his disciples unjustly keeping the children away, as in that society children were supposed to be seen and not heard.  This, I believe, would be characteristic of Jesus, who was always sensitive to those on the outside of the community, whether they be prostitute or tax collector, leper or Samaritan.  He goes further, though.  He then uses this moment with the children as a teaching moment, saying, “The Kingdom belongs to such as these.  …anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Love: A Real Possibility for Our Lives

Alfonso Sasieta

August 12, 2018

Text: Ephesians 5:1

Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Good morning church, I’m excited to be with you all today.  I just re-read this verse from Ephesians because my hope today is that this verse will be like a wet-willy.  For those of you who didn’t have siblings, a wet-willy is when you surprise someone next to you by licking your finger and putting your finger in their ear.  If you have not had the fun experience of being given a wet-willy, allow me to say that it is very strange.  My sisters would be able to confirm this for you!

Like a wet-willy, I hope that this verse from Ephesians sticks with you a little bit:

Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and live a life of love

What a simple command!   May the simplicity of this Gospel command disarm you and lead you today toward freedom, laughter, and courage.  Amen.

Finding Call

Jennie Gosché

August 5, 2018

I want to thank David Dorsey for inviting me to speak today. The last time I gave a teaching, it was the last Sunday 8th Day met in the “back room” of the Potter’s House before we moved to the Festival Center. I also want to thank Kate Lasso, my friend and spiritual director, who encouraged me to accept David’s invitation. It is always a rich learning experience to prepare a teaching.

Last Sunday Richard and I went to see the movie Mama Mia! Here We Go Again. For those of you who don’t know about Mama Mia, it was a musical stage play which was later made into a movie starring Meryl Streep. It is a story about a carefree woman, Streep, who moves to Greece in the 1970’s, falls in love, and has a daughter. The story incorporates the incredibly infectious music of the super group from Sweden, ABBA. I lived in Southern California in the 1970’s and ABBA was part of the sound track of that era.

When I go to the movies, I almost always become completely immersed in the feelings and atmosphere of the movie I am attending. While watching Mama Mia last weekend, I started to cry. It is a comedy with music, intended to make the audience smile, laugh, and sing along. Why was I crying?

I Let Go of My Accumulations

Patty Wudel

July 22, 2018

Thank you for inviting me back to share something real with you that is close to my heart.

In the past months I have read and re-read two books by young African-American Christian leaders. Drew Hart’s Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism; and Austin Channing Brown’s Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness.  And since reading Professor George Yancy’s incredible love letter, “Dear White America,” published in the New York Times about three years ago, I have returned to it often and more so in recent months, and searched my soul.

Drew Hart and Austin Channing Brown both write about being young, gifted, African-American Christian activists and leaders working or studying in white, liberal, Christian churches and universities. Professor Yancy writes to white people with tough love and invites us to have the courage to engage our racism honestly, to let ourselves be vulnerable and look into the “disagreeable mirror” he holds up for us, so we can actually finally see how we nice white people are complicit with systemic and institutional power and privilege and the suffering it brings on African-American people. And change. Learn to change.

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