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The most significant American contribution to the church’s hymnody and song is the African American spiritual.  These are songs from an earlier time in American history that came out of the experience of a people oppressed and enslaved.  These songs have no specific composers.  They just rose to heaven from the fields where God’s children, who had been ripped from their homeland and brought to work on the plantations of the south, lived and labored and suffered and died. They are spirituals because they make reference to biblical stories and experiences that mirror their own.  They used these images and stories to talk about their sorrows and to voice their hopes for redemption. Continue Reading »

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Today we commemorate the anniversary of our congregation.  We were chartered on Reformation Day in 2004.

 

During the last 14 years, There is a three word phrase we have used on every piece of communication about our church.  Every mailing, every printed invitation, every social media posting, every newspaper advertisement has included this three word phrase.  Continue Reading »

One of the marks of good writing is avoiding the use of the passive voice.  For example, if I say, “I am holding a pen.”  “I” am the subject of the verb – I am doing the action.  The “pen” is the object of the verb.  To state that in the passive voice we would say, “The pen is being held by me.”  That’s not good English.  “I heard it through the grapevine” is in the active voice.  “It was heard by me through the grapevine” is passive . . . and awkward. . . .and not a catchy song title anymore.  So the active voice is almost always better. Continue Reading »

I don’t think I could do it.  Could you?

Give up all your material possessions and give them to the poor?

Keep all the commandments perfectly?  No way.

The impossible demands reflected in today’s Gospel made one young man turn away from Jesus when he realized he couldn’t do it either.

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You’ll have been downtown and seen the people standing at the corner needing money — most likely holding up a sign:  “Will work for food” or something similar.  Some roadside beggars have gotten a bit more creative with their signs.  Here are some actual signs seen on street corners in America:
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In honor of school starting this week, we are going to begin with a little study in anthropology this morning. Anybody take Anthropology 101?  Anthropology is the study of humanity.  So here are some pictures of humanity for us to study this morning.

faces of humanity

What do you see when you study these human faces?

What is the first thing that comes to your mind?

What kind of assumptions do you make about each person based on their externals?

What experiences and beliefs shape the way you view each one?

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John, the disciple of Jesus and the writer of the 4th Gospel, has a unique style of writing.  In his Gospel, John arranges the words of Jesus and the stories of Jesus’ life in such as way as to highlight the significance of who Jesus is and what he came to do.   His story of Jesus’ life is not necessarily in chronological order, but he places events and words next to each other to give them significance. Continue Reading »

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