Sermons

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Expectation, Prophesy, Waiting, Hope

Patty Wudel

Text: Mark 13:24-37

Good Morning, friends. 

Thank you for reading the scripture, Fred.  Thank you, David Dorsey, for inviting me to share my reflections with Eighth Day this morning; my reflections on the first candle of Advent.  Some faith communities think of this first candle as the candle of Expectation, or Waiting, or Prophesy.  In our community we call it the candle of Hope.

A few days ago at Joseph's House I was talking with a chaplain who was waiting to see one of our residents.  I confessed to her how out of sorts I feel this year, planning for Christmas.  Even the everyday, ordinary things feel really hard:

  • Organizing gifts so that everyone gets something they really need or will really like.  On a deadline!   Not leaving anybody out
  • Figuring out with staff and full time volunteers, the holiday staffing schedule when everybody wants to be with their own families
  • Supporting the many Christmas chefs in a crowded kitchen, to prepare dinner for 50 or more people – residents, former residents, families and friends and
  • trying to manage my own expectations and energy and living with the inevitable loneliness that seeps in. 

"Maybe it's Grief that you're feeling", she said quietly.  What a relief it was to hear it named!   And so kindly.

Questions

Dixcy Bosley-Smith

Here's a Pop Quiz:

True / False: Jesus is the man with all the answers ( F)
Jesus asked 137 / 240 / 307 questions in his life ( 307)
Of the 183 question asked of Jesus, he answered 13 / 3 / 34 questions in his life.  (3)

Jesus was the Great Interrogator....The One who asks questions What was he modeling for us..  ?

UNKNOWING
STRUGGLE
WONDERING
THINKING IT THROUGH
PROCESS ( He would love 8th Day!)
Maybe Jesus was modeling WHAT A LIFE OF FAITH SHOULD LOOK LIKE
We would not be sitting in this very room with each other had a young pastor, Gordon Cosby, faced with much soul searching in the fox holes of World War II, not asked these insightful questions ..
DID THE GOD STORY OF SCRIPTURE HAVE MEANING IN THE FACE OF HUMAN DESPAIR?
COULD THE DIVINE-HUMAN ENCOUNTER BE TRUSTED?
DID THE SUFFERING JESUS OFFER FUNDAMENTAL HOPE?

Being Who We Are

Kayla McClurg

October 15, 2017
Texts:
     Matthew 22:1-14
     Psalm 23
“If religion is supposed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, argues Amy-Jill Levine, then we should think of [this] parable as doing the latter. If we read the parables and find ourselves unsurprised and unchallenged, we haven’t read them honestly or well. Jesus was no teller of cozy bedtime stores; his parables are meant to disturb us—to wake us up, shake us out of our complacency, and compel us to ask hard questions about ourselves and about God.” – Debie Thomas, Living the Word, The Christian Century, September 27, 2017

If the musicians here this morning were to lead us in singing, “I’ve got peace like a river,” we likely would do so happily. And the river we most likely would be picturing would be quiet and beautiful, gently rolling along in its banks where it belongs, flowing happily to the sea. We probably would not be imagining a renegade river, rising higher and higher, crashing against the banks until they give way and the deepening water engulfs our houses and threatens our lives. I wonder how many people running for dry land during the recent floods were singing, “We’ve got peace like a river” as they ran? That’s not the sort of peace we prefer.

Fertile Ground

Sue Lewis Bodner

October 8, 2017

Texts: Isaiah 5:1-7
     Matthew 21:33-46

A Teaching for the 40th Reunion of the Eighth Day Faith Community

Good morning.  I am honored to be with all of you this morning.  I have never been so grateful for the lectionary scripture!  It was indeed a challenge to know where to begin for this particular teaching!  The first thing I thought of after reading both the Old and New Testament passages describing vineyards was a sermon Marilyn MacDonald gave years ago in which she had a drawing of the earth enveloped in blossoming grape vines-her interpretation of the words of Jesus in the gospel of John, “ I am the vine, you are the branches”.  It is an image that has stuck with me all these years and I think of it when I am feeling despair for the world.  So many words, images, and actions during my time at Eighth Day sank deep and continue to generate fertile soil for my life. 

Now as for actual vineyards, I never saw one until I found myself with two adult millennials.  In case you missed it, millennials love vineyards!  I have been on my first-and-only wine tasting vineyard trips with my daughter, Gail, and son, Ben in Virginia, New York, and most recently, California.  Last February, I was sitting in a lawn chair in Napa Valley, alone for a few moments.  As I looked across the beautiful fields of succulent grapes, I was reminded of Dayspring and the years I attended retreats there when it was still functioning as a farm.  What a joy it is to see the abundance produced from fertile soil.  And for those who worked the fields and nurtured the vines, there is surely a contentment that feeds the soul.

Living Into and Out of Story

Marcia Harrington

October 1, 2017

My teaching today is the fourth in a series of teachings given by members of the Eighth Day Servant Leaders Mission Group in preparation for our annual Camp Meeting, which this year is a forty-plus year reunion.  Maria, Emily and David Hilfiker over the past weeks have spoken to: 1) 8th Day’s theology; 2) the importance of belonging and relationship; 3) 8th Day’s history and structures.  The 8th Day Family Reunion next weekend will surely be one where there will be much storytelling, personal and communal.  So, I want to talk about story.

The concept of “story” in our Church of the Saviour tradition is important.  Years ago I asked Mary Cosby why writing/telling one’s spiritual autobiography was a requirement for membership in the Church of the Saviour.  I’m sure she tried to address my question, but I don’t remember getting a focused answer.  Mary and her sister Elizabeth were stunning storytellers, and for years Mary taught the New Testament classes in the School of Christian and Elizabeth taught Old Testament.  They were masterful and creative story tellers of these scriptures.  They taught with the assurance that knowing our foundational story as Christians was critical to understanding our faith history and life in community and to the building of a seriously committed community of faith.  These biblical stories are our stories, too.  The characters in the stories are mirrors of identity for us.  And, so, I thought, that reflecting on and telling our personal and communal spiritual stories, would contribute to understanding how each of us belongs to the larger faith story.

Our History

David Hilfiker

September 24, 2017
Texts: Acts 2:44-46; Acts 4:32-37

This won't be a sermon, exactly.  Rather, it's the third in a series of teachings from the Servant Leaders mission group about who we are as a community.

One way of understanding the Bible is as history: the history of the People of God.  This history is

  • sometimes surprising,
  • sometimes miraculous,
  • sometimes apocryphal,
  • sometimes inspiring,
  • sometimes boring,
  • sometimes exaggerated,
  • sometimes disappointing … but
  • it's always our history, and it offers important insights into who were are as a people now.

This morning, I'd like to talk about another history … our history of the Church of the Saviour and the Eighth Day faith community.  Some of you know it better than I; some of you hardly at all.  But together we can mine it for any clues as to who we are today and where we might be heading.

Covenant of Trust

Dee J Taylor

September 17, 2017

How to boil a frog!

This is how you boil a frog: you don’t put him in cold water because he will jump out.  You don’t put him in hot water because he will leap out quickly!  However, if you put him in lukewarm water, feel-good water, just a few degrees above his body temperature, he will be comfortable and relax.  Then every 3 minutes, you raise the temperature up 2 degrees.  In about 30 minutes, He Will Be Cooked!!!  Now, what is the point of the story?  Being unaware of small changes, we get comfortable.  Being unaware of small changes, we get comfortable with sin.  We don’t commit murder, steal, or disrespect our parents, so we think we are doing just great.  However, Jesus said in Matt.  5:20 that our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees which means we have to go deeper, looking at the root of the sin.  Starting with the first commandment of loving God with all our heart, then we must love our brothers and sisters, whom we can see, as ourselves, which validates our love for God.[1]  We must also be in His will and led by the Spirit of God.  Being connected by the cross on both ends, vertical (between you and God) and horizontal (between you and others) is walking in the Spirit.  Not being connected is Sin.  Not loving, not forgiving, not reconciling is SIN!

Today I am going to speak about the 3 basic foundations of our faith but look at them from a different perspective or interpretation as they apply to God, Self, and Community. 

Signs of Light in Darkness

Carol Martin

September 10, 2017

In a murderous time
the heart breaks
and breaks
and lives by breaking

It is necessary
to go
into the dark
and deeper dark
and not turn…

This is an excerpt from "The Wishing Tree" by Stanly Kunitz, one of our greatest contemporary poets.  I have been keeping it close to my awareness for a long time and, in some ways, it has gotten truer and truer.  It describes only part of our national life – there are still so many wonderful things happening every day and their beauty stands out brightly against the dark backdrop of some current events.  Most of us are working to create beauty and peacefulness and love, maybe more intentionally than we did in the past when things felt more reasonable and stable.

Belonging and Relationship in Community

Emily Owsley

September 3, 2017

Good morning friends and thank you for the opportunity to speak today.  This teaching is a part of a sermon series about the identity of Eighth Day.  Different members of the Servant Leaders Mission Group—Maria, Kate, Marcia, Kent, David, and I—are giving these teachings.  Two weeks ago Maria started us off with Eighth Day’s theology, and today I’ll be speaking about belonging and relationship in community. 

I’ll start with an overview of the main points of this teaching.  The first is that our initial place of belonging is to God.  This is true for all people, animals, beings, and all of the earth: it all belongs to God and God belongs to all of it, all of us.  I am defining God with openness here—I call it God, others, Allah, The Great Spirit, the Cosmos, Yahweh….  This belonging to God is deep and inseparable.  Second, Jesus came to offer all people a way to claim and act on this belonging through commitment and relationship with God and others.  And third, God’s work in the world becomes real in these relationships of shared belonging.

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