Aug 25

The Eucharist: Spirit and Life

It is, without a doubt, the church dedication service to end all church dedication services, a festival for celebrating a new worship building like none other. For generations the ark of God has gone about in a tabernacle, in a tent that moved with the people of God, the people of Israel. And now, Solomon, king of Israel, stands before his people at the altar of a new house for God, one that will not move. The image of God as a pilgrim with a journeying people that the ark and the tabernacle presented is being replaced by a new vision: of God resting with God’s people and of those people journeying in pilgrimage to the place God dwells. Continue reading

May 25

Easter People: The World of the Spirit

We live in a zero-sum world. If I live here, you must live somewhere else. If my team wins, your team loses. If you own something, I can’t have it, too. For every person going up the ladder of success there’s someone else who’s heading the opposite direction—or even being pulled down by those scrambling for the top. There’s only one first in line. And while a Supreme Court justice supposedly once said that your freedom to swing your arm stops where the other guy’s nose begins, the truth is almost everything we do affects those around us, making it easier or harder to do and be what they want. We can’t all be the best, all have the nicest toys, all live in the largest homes, all be the most famous. Continue reading

May 18

Easter People Journey to Perfection

As Easter people, we United Methodists believe that we are on a journey to Christian perfection, or entire sanctification. In Article XI of our Confession of Faith, we read that Christian perfection is “a state of perfect love, righteousness, and true holiness” and that it “should be sought earnestly by every child of God.” And in our reading from 1 John 4 this morning, the word “perfect” comes up three times. Continue reading

Mar 16

Memorial Service for Iris Winternitz: On Love

Love has the power to change everything. This is one of the deep truths of the universe, one of the greatest secrets of creation, one of the most essential tenets of our Christian faith. So it’s a shame that we hear about the great power of love more from sentimental Hallmark cards and sappy TV movies than from anywhere else. In our time, love’s power has been cheapened, and expressions about “the power of love” have replaced anything like reflection and meditation before love’s great power. In fact, for someone even to begin speaking about love’s power is enough to get people rolling their eyes and shutting down their attention. But for all this cheap love, real love still retains its power to change everything. Continue reading