Abide in My Love

Edina Morningside Community Church

Today’s scripture reading:
John 15:1-17
Sermon audio:

Javen and I have made a couple mistakes with our little rosebud tree. A few years ago, we decided to replant the gardens around our house, and our biggest investment was a dwarf rosebud tree next to the front entrance. It’s not supposed to get more than 8 feet tall, with fluttering heart-shaped leaves and sweet little pink buds that come out early in the spring. But in the last several years, we realize we still planted it too close to the house foundation. It’s not able to thrive if the roots are cramped against the concrete, not given room to grow. Also, the tree had misshapen leaves throughout the entire last season. We recently got the results of a test back, and it appears that mites had infested the tree. These little mites are smaller to see than aphids, but they had sucked out all the sap leading to the leaves, leaving the leaves cupped and unable to bend open or soak up the light. Our sweet tree is a pitiful shadow of what it could be, judging from the advertised pictures when we bought it.

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Come and See

Edina Morningside Community Church

Today’s scripture reading:
John 9:1-41
Sermon audio:

A company called Second Sight has been working for years on technology that gives sight to the blind. The model they are testing has cameras implanted in a pair of glasses. Images are then wirelessly broadcast to a receiver that’s implanted in the surface of the eye, which sends them through the retina to the brain. Those who once were blind are now able to see—well enough to go skiing, take up archery, and move around at will.

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Come and See as Jesus Sees

Edina Morningside Community Church

Today’s scripture reading:
John 4:1-42
Sermon audio:

We start today with a puzzle of biblical geography. John’s gospel says that Jesus had to go through Samaria, but that’s just not the case. In the last chapter, Jesus was in Jerusalem and had that midnight conversation with the Jewish leader Nicodemus. Now we’re told that he leaves Judea and goes north again to Galilee. Any reasonable traveler between those two regions would have used either the coastal route along the Mediterranean, or the inland route along the Jordan River. Both are well-established paths of trade and travel, easier to navigate than the high hill country between them and to the east, which was Samaria. So when John writes that Jesus “had to go through Samaria”, that’s like a travel agent sending you from Minneapolis to Duluth, through Fargo. Something else is afoot. If Jesus does have to go through Samaria, it’s because of who he will meet there.

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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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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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More Life

Edina Morningside Community Church

Today’s scripture reading:
Matthew 2:1-23
Sermon audio:

I always find this week to be a weird one, don’t you? It’s a sort of limbo time, between the high points of Christmas and New Year’s. Christmas is the finale after weeks—or months—of preparation, and New Year’s is the launch of a brand-new start, but in between them are these quiet, unremarkable days. For many families, this week involves travel—coming home from a Christmas trip, seeing the other side of the family, or going to wherever one will spend the rest of the winter. Even if this week has not literally held travel, it still feels like the hours on a trip between departure and arrival, when everything is in motion and nothing is settled yet.

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