Beyond Wood and Stone

Rev. Elisabeth's Cedar Park Blog site

Month: October 2012

Living our Logo Study page uploaded

Those of you trying to stay connected to the “Living our Logo” series can find handouts and other material on the page called “Living our Logo” (see top tabs, or columns to the right of this page).

The Kingdom of God on Earth

This Sunday, Oct 21, we continue our Sermon Series on the Lord’s Prayer.

What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘kingdom’?  Is it knights in shining armour, or the pomp and circumstance of a royal wedding? Or something less romantic – sinister even? Images of traditionalism, classism, even sexism? Not for nothing does the writer of the Old Testament book of Daniel insist on using the term “kingdom” to describe the  Dream of God.   He knows his listeners and hearers have imaginations stuffed full of empires past and present, of fiercely armed warriors from Persia or Macedonia, of parades of military might, and social oppression of 95% of the population.

“BUT”, he says, “the kingdom of God is like none of these! Where you see might and violence, God’s kingdom is one of peace. Where the kingdoms of this earth oppress the poor, God raises them up to a place of honour….” and so the picture goes on.

This Danielic vision fuelled the spiritual imagination of Jesus of Nazareth. When came back from the wilderness, preaching that the Kingdom of God is here, close at hand, he too set up the vision of God’s kingdom in direct contradistinction to the ruling Empire of Rome.

If this is the case, then whenever we pray the Lord’s Prayer ” Thy kingdom come”, we have some imaginative reversals to conduct before we can grasp the import of what we’re saying. Asking for God’s Kingdom to come has nothing to do with mighty armies, or structures of governance, or violent overthrow.  Jesus’ images of the Kingdom of God on earth involve widows and a tiny coin,  small seeds that grow into trees, the yeast that leavens a loaf of bread, the catch of fish that has all sorts of species, great and small, of night-time prayers, and roadside meals. The kingdom of God is populated by lepers, mentally ill, physically disabled, foreigners, widows, children, and tax collectors. The kingdom of  God works subversively under the nose of oppressive regimes to create fellowship and freedom.

As you pray for the kingdom of God on earth, of what does your heart’s prayer consist? For what do you hope and pray?

Comments will be a wonderful addition to this post.  Please add yours!

Sermon Series on the Prayer of Jesus

This Sunday, October 14th,  in response to requests from a number of you,  we’re going to take a four week detour from the Lectionary to explore the one piece of scripture that almost all of us can quote: “the Lord’s Prayer.” If you didn’t know this prayer is lifted almost unchanged from the pages of Scripture, here’s your first discovery!!  You can find it in Matthew 6:9-13, and again at Luke 2:2-4.  Use one of these links to read it in various versions of the Bible in English or French (or Spanish if that’s your mother tongue!):  http://bible.oremus.org/ or http://www.biblegateway.com/.

Each of the four weeks will focus on one phrase or short section of this prayer, so that hopefully by the end of the series, none of us will ever be able to quote, or say, or pray this prayer in quite the same way again!  Here’s the outline:

  • Oct 14th   Who are you talking to, Jesus (Our Father in Heaven)
  • Oct 21       The Kingdom of God on Earth
  • Oct 28      Times of Trial
  • Nov 4     Daily Bread, forever, Amen

I’m hoping that the worship services, and sermons will provoke questions, ahas and responses from you, which I invite you to post as a comment  here on this page.   I’m also hoping that some of you have burning questions or experiences with this prayer that you can share, so that I can use the wisdom of this community to shape my sermons.

For the first sermon on Oct 14th we tackle the opening 2 words!  There’s enough in those two words to fill a book or two, but I’ll try to confine myself to a 12 minute sermon.  See you Sunday!

 

 

 

 

 

Or better yet, do both!!

Musings from Minnesota

Context is everything!  Right now I’m in the land of Garrison Kiellor, and Lutherans, and Ludefisk and Lohse..!!  There are few Canadians here, and being from “Queeebec” makes me even more of an oddity in this Midwest milieu.   But…. and that’s a big BUT, we share a passion:  telling the Biblical Story in ways that make this Story connect with the stories of our own lives, with its blend of faith and doubt, struggle and joy.

Listening to the sermons, speakers, and conversations enables me to make connections, hear a great idea that might, just work, even though we (CPU) live in the land of Just for Laughs, Roman Catholic francophone culture, poutine, and maple syrup (to continue the gross stereotyping!) Some of these great ideas – like preaching with all the fire and brimstone of a great African American preacher – won’t, but the point of a conference like this is to spend time immersed in possibility.

And yes, the image that comes to my mind is the children’s ball pen,  jumping in to waist high multicoloured balls, and having fun! Some of the multicoloured balls that have caught my attention so far.

Why do most stewardship programmes focus on the 2, 3, 5% of money we’d like people to give to our church, when Jesus spent his time focussing on the 100% of the money that people have,?”  – Wow! What a question!  The  presenter of this workshop continued “People want to know how their faith, or their value systems, impact what they do with all their money.”  Does that resonate with you?  I’d be thrilled to hear your response to this.

“Gospel happens in that mysterious place between the question mark and the exclamation point“…… you’ll need to watch this space for more on this fascinating and compelling moment in one of the  most powerful sermons I’ve heard in a loooong time!  I’ll be musing this one for a while.

Is there any body in your preaching? Note that’s not ‘anybody’, but rather a plea to pay attention to the bodies that inhabit Scripture,  and that are (or are not) welcome in our worship and community life. The Lutherans are still struggling with inclusion of GLBTQ in all arenas of church life and ministry, the US is mired in gay marriage questions, and both  Canada and US are barely keeping up with issues of physical access for all to public spaces.  This is the context (the ball pen) in which I head  a 7o yr old woman preach from her heart about the ‘Broken body’ that is not whole until aged bodies, lame bodies, blind bodies, deaf bodies, gay bodies, black bodies, bi-racial bodies, bent bodies, can take their place as ‘whole bodies’ around the table of welcome set by the Broken One, Jesus.”  Amen, Sister!

Now, wish for me travelling mercies as I head back to la Belle Province!

 

 

 

 

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