Come and See What You Can Be

Edina Morningside Community Church

Today’s scripture reading:
John 3:1-17
Sermon audio:

The global visionary, humanitarian, and writer Danaan Parry uses the imagery of a trapeze artist to describe how humans navigate through growth and change. He swings along, Parry writes, hanging from a bar that symbolize confidence and certainty. But then the trapeze artist sees another bar swinging towards him. “…I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart of hearts I know that, for me to grow, I must release my grip on this present, well-known bar and move to the new one.” But letting go of a thing that’s certain requires surrendering control and knowledge. It means hovering in a space where the past is past, but the future is not yet seen. Parry concludes, “Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. So, for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of ‘the past is gone, the future is not yet here.’”

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Come and See Faith Set Free

Edina Morningside Community Church

Today’s scripture reading:
John 2:13-22
Sermon audio:

What do all these things have in common: horses, currency, the compass, the telegraph, internal combustion engines, radio, the Internet, and smartphones? These are all examples of “disruptive technology”—transformational new methods of trading, traveling or communicating. They have an outsize impact on the history of civilization, changing the course of human activity in revolutionary, unforeseen ways. Fifty years from now, which of these will be added to the list: virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, gene editing, or driverless vehicles? Which of them will have the effect in the 21st or 22nd centuries that the printing press had in the 16th century? It’s easy to recognize disruptive technology after-the-fact, but we are surrounded by such innovations in their infancy today.

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A Public Faith, Following Jesus

This past Sunday after worship, almost a dozen folks from my congregation gathered in the church library to hear about Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, who are a church-started organization advocating for affordable housing in the Twin Cities. Then yesterday, I joined with others from Edina Morningside Church (above) to attend a training and press event by the statewide, multiracial and multi-faith group ISAIAH. We helped announce the Claiming Our Voices Faith Agenda, developed from house meetings with thousands of Minnesotans over the past three months. It names the top priorities of these faithful neighbors as we anticipate the 2018 election season, including a caring economy and a democracy that honors the God-given dignity of every person. Javen and I are joining with others across the state to be trained as “Faith Delegates”, taking these principles into the caucus and convention processes of both major parties. (You can sign up for trainings here, or join Javen and I at a Mayflower UCC one next Thursday night.) We’ll stand together across artificial partisan and geographic divisions, asking whoever would lead Minnesota in the coming years to hear the cry of God’s people for loving justice in every corner of the state.

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Come and See God’s Glory

Edina Morningside Community Church

The day’s reading:
John 2:1-11
Sermon audio:

Does anyone recognize this? Do you know what it is? A wine aerator! I forget who first taught me about this, but somewhere along the way I learned that there’s more to wine than just the taste after it comes out of the bottle or bag. Pouring through an aerator such as this adds oxygen to the wine, which changes how it tastes. With such intention and care, wine “blooms” with fully-developed fragrance and flavor. Javen makes fun of me for bothering with an aerator, but I’m certain that his taste remains unrefined. After years of using one, I find it disappointing to drink non-aerated wine, because it seems to forego the potential in the glass. Admittedly, this is a silly, first-world gadget. But I love the way it makes even common table wine taste like a rare and complex vintage, using nothing but air and a little bit of time. It’s delightful to discover extraordinary potential in the ordinary things of life.

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When the Song of the Angels is Stilled (Howard Thurman)

Each time that Christmas shifts to the church season of Epiphany, I think about the African American mystic Howard Thurman, whose meditation for this season serves as a kickoff of sorts into the new year. It’s a helpful reminder that Christmas is more than a cute feel-good story, but a transformative call to seek justice and joy. Continue reading “When the Song of the Angels is Stilled (Howard Thurman)”

Epiphany Blessings

Blessings to you in Epiphany! This is a season of the church between Christmas and Lent that starts on January 6th, after the 12th day of Christmas. Epiphany traditionally marks the arrival of the wise travelers to the child Jesus, when they present their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Epiphany themes include light in the darkness, worldwide appeal of Jesus, and gaining wisdom.

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