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Mike Brown

December 8, 2019

     Isaiah 11:1-10
     Psalm 85: 8-13
     Romans 15: 4-13
     Matthew 3:1-12

We are in the Second Sunday of Advent.  Advent is all about watching and waiting; imagining and dreaming.  The colors for Advent are purple or deep blue.  For some these colors reflects the color of the autumn's night lit by moon and stars.  The days are short, and the nights are long.  The moon is called traditionally Cold Moon.  The Old English/Anglo-Saxon name is the Moon Before Yule.

These long nights are fertile ground for dreaming and imagining the advent themes of hope, peace, joy, and love.  Last Sunday, Ann Barnet taught about Hope with its emphasis of keeping awake and living in expectation.  Next week we explore the theme of Joy with Marcia.  This Sunday, the theme is Peace with its dream of harmony as a Peaceable Kingdom.

In today's scripture reading, Isaiah announces the coming of the Prince of Peace to the Hebrew people:

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse...  The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge.... He shall judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth.          (NRIV). 

Advent Hope

Ann Barnet

December 1, 2019

 This grey and rainy Sunday is a good one to reflect on what causes us to hope.  We’ve lost a pillar of our community, Fred Taylor.  My faithful co-mission group member, Joe Collier, died a few weeks ago.  My foster-son Arthur died unexpectedly on November 12th.  Maria just lost her mother.  Eleanor is grieving over the death of her niece.  And so it goes.

A few weeks ago Fred Taylor and I talked by phone about this teaching.  He said that he hoped he could attend in person.  That was not to be, but I truly believe he is here in spirit.  Fred was a person of radiant inspiring hope.  He found hope in this community.

One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus

Kate Lasso

November 17, 2019

One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That's all I ask of You
Just give me the strength to do
What I have to do

Yesterday's gone, sweet Jesus
And tomorrow is a vision of happiness
Lord, help me today, show me the way
One day at a time

When reading through today's scriptures, what really leapt out to me is their focus on covenant renewal — on relationship renewal.  Since we know that God is always pursuing and reaching out and longing for relationship with us, it's only common sense that cultivating renewed relationship with God is really up to us.  It's our decision to extend our hands, our lives and our hearts to God.  This is what is meant in Mark 1:15, "“The time has come,” … “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent (originally metanoeo, meaning change one's mind or think differently) and believe the good news!”   

Stumbling Blocks in the Bible..

Betsy Grooms Edmonds

November 12, 2019

‘You could have knocked me over with a feather!”
“You have led me down the primrose path!”
“The evil plan he proposed ‘stinks to high heaven’!

Hey, you understand what I’ve just said; but if you were an Aramaic Jew, a Semite, of Jesus time, it would be nonsense to you. 

Coming from another direction, many years ago I did community organizing for the Church of the Saviour.  We had a group of concerned people gather at the Potters House to plan for a day care center.   As I remember, nothing had been said about teaching children the Bible, but one of the outspoken women declared that, when it is taught, it will be literally taught word for word! None of this messing around with interpretations.

The Call to Come On Down!

Wendy Dorsey

November 3, 2019

Good Morning 8th Day Friends!   I was asked by the Servants Group to do one of this Fall’s first Sunday teachings on “CALL” for this month.  As you recall, David Hilfiker gave the first one last month.  I will share some of my personal experiences with call, but I also think we need to think of call in the context of community and even a corporate “community call.” In the C of S, call has been received in general by individuals who then call a group together to work out and fulfill that call.  We also speak often of “my call” or “her call” to a specific vocation or ministry.  However, both in the Bible and historically in Church of the Saviour, communities are called to act together.

In the story of Exodus, for instance, the Hebrew people were called by God, and led by Moses as a community, to leave the land of Pharaoh and go into the desert and eventual freedom.  When Gordon led the way into the “New Land” of the Church of the Savior in 1975-76, communities were encouraged to form around a corporate community call.  For instance, Seekers was formed around the call of FLOC and I believe that 8th Day was focused strongly on the Polycultural Institute, and later became involved with the Sanctuary movement.  These calls were specific responses to a critical time in both the Hebrew nation and our nation’s history.  I believe we have such a critical time now in our country, and that it would be well for us to think about what our corporate call is for 8th Day.  Perhaps we are to rally around the call to Bridges to Democracy which was issued recently.  Perhaps we need to consider that as a community we address the ultimate existential crisis of climate change or combat racism which seems to be especially visible and vitriolic in our country now.  I have some specific thoughts about this which I will share later.

Pray Without Ceasing

Meade Hanna

October 27, 2019

What does a life of prayer without ceasing look like?

The hymn we just sang was originally a poem called ‘Pray Without Ceasing.’  It was written by Joseph Scriven who was born in Ireland in 1820 to wealthy parents.  At 25 he was to be married but his fiancé drowned the night before their wedding.  Comforted and allured by the theology, he joined the Brethren church and as a result, had conflicts with his parents who were probably Catholic, maybe Anglican.   Subsequently he emigrated to Canada.  At the age of 35, he learned of his mother dying back in Ireland and wrote the poem ‘Pray without Ceasing’ for his mother and sent it to her in Ireland.  At the age of 40, he fell in love again and was due to be married until his fiancé died unexpectedly of pneumonia.  At the age of 66, depressed and being watched around the clock by friends, he snuck out of his room at night and they found his drowned body on the edge of the lake nearby. 

Charles Converse, born 1834 in Massachusetts, wrote the music for the poem which became the hymn "What a Friend We Have in Jesus.'

The Widow says, “Take and Eat”

Crisely Melechio-Zambrano

October 20, 2019

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

Response: Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

I lift up my eyes toward the mountains;
whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Response: Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

May he not suffer your foot to slip;
may he slumber not who guards you:
indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps,
the guardian of Israel.
Response: Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The Nature of Call

David Hilfiker

     Isaiah: 6:6-9
     Luke: 5:1-11
     I Corinthians 12:4-11

The Servants group is scheduling about one teaching a month to examine our Eighth Day core beliefs and spirituality and also to share a bit about our personal spiritual journeys.

So I want us to speak this morning about the nature of “call,” one of the basic building blocks of our faith and practice.  I originally thought that this would be easy to write since I’ve felt called to a couple of personally meaningful vocations in the last forty years.  But it turns out I know less than I thought I did, so this will be a group teaching.  I’m going to talk a little about my calls and then we’ll hear from some of you about yours.

As we read from Corinthians, each of us is called, and within community each call is, in the eyes of God, of equal value.  A significant part of our faith journey is discerning that call.  Let me share a couple of mine:

Accompanying the Oppressed to Form a Just World

Carol Bullard-Bates
Helen Walker

Psalm 146 makes it clear that God is behind and rejoices in every action we take to uphold the cause of the oppressed.  God watches over the alien in our communities.  That was Jesus’ way of life, to be with the oppressed and develop their leadership power in sharing the good news that they were God’s people, no matter how outcast they were in their society.  That gave them the vision of what God’s Kingdom was, so they could stand up against oppression and work for justice.

Listen to Carol's teachng:

Jesus was born into the oppressive Roman Empire that had colonized Israel.  Even the Jewish religious leaders were more focused on the details they had added to the law that effectively left out the poor, than what God wanted of them.  Jesus was immersed in the words of the prophets who had to keep reminding Israel that God wanted them to take care of people who were poor and the aliens rather than focus on self-serving sacrifices that had nothing to do with God’s justice.  We too, as followers of Jesus, can be so brain-washed in our oppressive empire of the United States and its militarism and consumerism and racism, that we forget that God upholds the cause of the oppressed, and wants us to act to end the oppression with leadership from the oppressed, not for them.  It has been so painful to see our President increase the oppression of our aliens and our poor people and so make the chasm between rich people and poor people even greater.