Daring Invitation

Edina Morningside Community Church
Today’s scripture reading: Mark 1:1-20 Sermon audio:

These days after Christmas are a little treasure that I rediscover every year. They exist here in an overlooked space on the calendar, a quiet little valley between the mountain peaks of Christmas and New Years. People are so hurried and busy before Christmas, but now we might experience some real Sabbath. These days of leisure following Christmas are something like the “vacation after vacation” which we long for at other times of the year.

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Big Enough for God’s New Life

Edina Morningside Community Church
Today’s scripture reading: Luke 2:1-20 Sermon audio:

Howard Thurman, the African American mystic, poet and spiritual leader, describes in verse a mother observing her small child doing his bedtime prayer. She says,

Each night my bonny, sturdy lad
Persists in adding to his, Now I lay me
Down to sleep, the earnest, wistful plea:
‘God make me big.’
And I, his mother, with a greater need,
Do echo in a humbled, contrite heart,
‘God make me big.’

We might all pray for such bigness this year on behalf of children everywhere: bigness of vision, of stamina, of grace, and of courage.

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God’s Promise: Wilderness Spirit

Edina Morningside Community Church
Today’s scripture reading: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80 Sermon audio:

I’ve been reading lately about a new form of spiritual community that gathers for worship in open fields or a stand of forest trees. People assemble outdoors at a given time and share in opening liturgy. In place of a sermon, people are given time to wander in their surroundings, to explore, meditate, and learn from their observations. Brought back together by a cowbell, they share reflections on what they see. Some communities gather monthly, and others weekly, no matter the weather. This movement trusts that there is wisdom and worth in wildness. Its historical precedents go at least as far back as biblical times.

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God’s Promise: A Way in the Wilderness

Edina Morningside Community Church
Today’s scripture reading: Isaiah 40:1-11 Sermon audio:

Anne Turner was diagnosed with “an aggressive but early stage breast cancer”, and writes about how the diagnosis sent her into exile from her former life. “Cancer brings all kinds of struggle,” she says in an essay for the Christian Century magazine, describing chemo side effects, her weakened immune system, and “fatigue that put me to bed before it was dark out. But perhaps the hardest loss was my hair. It was public and strangely shaming.” Having spent time in recent months with close family living through cancer, I can attest to ways that the disease and its treatment are a disorientating, bizarre, life-altering, all-consuming estrangement from what used to be considered “normal life”.

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God’s Promise: Justice and Righteousness

Edina Morningside Community Church
Today’s scripture reading: Jeremiah 33:14-18 Sermon audio:

When you imagine the future, what do you feel? When you picture five years from now, or ten, or twenty, what do you see? What will your loved ones be doing? What will this community be like? Do you hope that things will be better than they are right now? Or are you convinced that they will be worse?

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