God’s Faithfulness, Our Gratitude

Location: Community United Church of Christ (St. Paul Park, MN)

Scripture: Isaiah 5:1-7; 11:1-5

I’m on the email list for one of the local breweries in my neighborhood, so I get regular updates on their activities. This week Burning Brothers described the near-infinite number of variables that combine to make each batch of beer unique. Temperature, style and quantity of hops, other additions, and the timing of each step all play a role in how each batch of beer turns out. As they say, “With all of these different factors, you can end up with something very different from what you were trying to create, yet still delicious, something that is right on the mark, or something that is completely undrinkable…. In those instances, the brewers grit their teeth, and send barrels of beer down the drain.” This description was all by way of explaining that their latest batch of IPA did not turn out. Instead, they said, the foul-smelling brew “has gone to the beer trolls that live in the trench drains. While they were very happy about it, the rest of us wept a little.”[1] Having seen firsthand the weeks-long care and prayer that goes into a single pail of home-brewed beer, I have to believe that “wept a little” only scratches the surface of their deep disappointment.

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Ask the Audience

Location: Community United Church of Christ (St. Paul Park, MN)

Scripture: 1 Kings 12:1-17, 25-29

Last Thursday, one of the new generation of conservative leaders—the so-called “Young Guns”—was elected to a place of near ultimate political power. Over the last few weeks the man with two first names, Paul Ryan, became the consensus candidate to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner. Ironically, he didn’t even want the position. It was pressed upon him after there were no other viable candidates who could lead the splintered Republican side of the House of Representatives. On Thursday—at only 45 years old—he became one of the youngest Speakers of the House ever.

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