Palm Sunday – Finding Your Purpose: Listening to Your Heart Scripture – April 14, 2019

Palm Sunday – Finding Your Purpose: Listening to Your Heart – April 14, 2019 

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane… And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” (Matthew 26:36, 39)

Jesus’ prayer life was described most often in the scriptures as something he did “away” from the crowds or disciples. And as we come to the last week of this Lent journey, we

have experienced the blessings of turning away from the noise of the world in order to turn inward to hear that “still small voice” of God and finding our own voice of wisdom there as well. This Sunday begins the story of the end of Jesus’ human life and the scripture contains one of the rare examples of how Jesus prayed. It was honest, it was gut-wrenching, and it finally was a letting-go of expectations about life and a turn toward the acceptance that gives the courage to move onward.

Finding Your Mystic: Listening Beyond the Voices – April 7, 2019

Finding Your Mystic: Listening Beyond the Voices – April 7, 2019

Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature. Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think… Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. (Romans 12:2-3, 12)

We often have a “cast of characters” living inside our heads that love to carry on endless conversations–each from their own perspective. The chatter of our minds can sometimes keep us from a deeper listening and it is often difficult to decipher exactly what constitutes a mystical connection to God. Getting our True Self into the chairperson’s seat in the committee meeting does not mean ignoring those voices of pessimism, people-pleasing or accusation, but instead listening intently to them and not letting them bully us into action based on fear. Letting them in and letting them go is the prayer of the mystic within.

 

Finding Your Power: Listening for Healing – March 31, 2019

Because she had heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothes. She was thinking, If I can just touch his clothes, I’ll be healed.   (Mark 5:27-28)

Prayer as a spiritual practice may come easily for you and maybe it doesn’t. Even the most devout among us has doubts about prayer’s power at times. What is it? How does

it work? This week we will consider that the mechanics of what happens in prayer is not as important as that we do it. Because whether or not the outcome for ourselves or others is an actual healing, the very act of being entangled with God and with others through prayer has healing and power-bestowing benefits.

Finding a Word: Listening to the Texts – March 24, 2019

Wisdom shouts in the street; in the public square she raises her voice. Above the noisy crowd, she calls out. At the entrances of the city gates, she has her say: “How long will you clueless people love your naïveté, mockers hold their mocking dear, and fools hate knowledge? You should respond when I correct you. Look, I’ll pour out my spirit on you. I’ll reveal my words to you.” (Proverbs 1:20-23)

The Wisdom tradition within Christianity invites us to love knowledge, especially the self knowledge that comes from examining ourselves in relationship to the liberating Word of God. Lectio divina (“divine reading”) is an ancient tradition of mixing the reading of scripture with prayer and meditation. Rather than an analytical approach to the words of scripture, it is a way for the words to simply be present and live in us. What will we hear when we let go of what it all is “supposed to” mean and simply let it reside within us?

Finding Your Breath: Listening to our Bodies – March 17, 2019

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.  (Romans 8:26)

Our sacred texts connect the breath of God with our own aliveness–God blew breath into us at creation and we continue to breathe all of creation in and out of our bodies constantly. The early church also believed that breath and Spirit were one in the same. How might the meditative practice of paying attention to our breath be, in and of itself, a prayer of connection to God? When we embrace our bodies as the holy vessel of God, we become even more our True Selves–which has been there all along.

Finding Your Cave: Listening Spaces – March 10, 2019

…he went into a cave and spent the night… The Lord said, “Go out and stand at the mountain before the Lord. The Lord is passing by.” A very strong wind tore through the mountains and broke apart the stones before the Lord. But the Lord wasn’t in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire. But the Lord wasn’t in the fire. After the fire, there was a sound. Thin. Quiet…  (1 Kings 19: 11-12)

Sometimes we just need to get away in order to hear from that “still small voice” within. This quiet voice is an attribute of the Holy Living God, as Elijah found out in a cave where he expected to experience God in big wind and earthquake and fire. What is your “cave” equivalent? What place (a park, a path, a rocking chair, a shoreline) and practice (walking, journaling, reading, making art) helps you get quiet enough for long enough so you can hear past the chaos and into the depths of your life?

Ash Wednesday: Finding Your Life: Listening Deeply – March 6, 2019

“…repent and believe in the Good News.” – Luke 1: 9-15

As we prepare for our 40-day journey of Lent, we “turn around” (the root meaning of the word “repent”) from the distractions of daily noise and focus our attention on listening in a deeper way. Writer Parker Palmer suggests we must listen “to what our life is telling us”–in other words, to listen to the deep wisdom God gave to us as a birthright, connecting to God’s purpose once again.

It’s the End of the World As We Know It – March 3, 2019

So, since we have such a hope, we act with great confidence. 2 Corinthians 3:12)

The Transfiguration reminds us that we have hope in Christ and the confidence to follow Christ even when the world as we know it comes to an end, and we must trust God’s promises. The message of Revelation is one of hope and confidence in God, and is placed at the end of our scriptures to give us confidence that as God is glorified in Jesus, and in us, the world will change for good.

The Church Goes on the Road – February 24, 2019

The Church Goes on the Road – February 24, 2019

Those who had been scattered moved on, preaching the good news along the way.  Philip went down to a city in Samaria and began to preach Christ to them. (Acts 8:4-5)

Philip was the first of the disciples to go on the road, and he was followed by many, especially Paul, Barnabas, Luke, Silas and eventually Timothy and others. The church grows when we leave the building, the spaces where we are comfortable, and the world is waiting to hear our witness of Christ.

Did I Hear That Right? The Enigmatic Teachings of the New Testament – February 17, 2019

 Jesus raised his eyes to his disciples and said:“Happy are you who are poor, because God’s kingdom is yours. Happy are you who hunger now, because you will be satisfied.

Happy are you who weep now, because you will laugh. (Luke 6:20-22)

Jesus said the most enigmatic things, possibly none so enigmatic as the Beatitudes. This sermon will explore a variety of things Jesus says, and what we should make of them, based on the teachings in Luke called the Sermon on the Plain.