Praying for Revival (I Think)…

A few years ago, I was at a local  gathering of Disciples (my denomination) in Minnesota.  It was a good event overall, a time when our small tribe could gather to worship and fellowship.  Somewhere early in the event, there was a slide that showed all of the Disciple congregations in Minnesota that no longer exist.  The speaker wanted us to honor the work that these former faith communities did and I was in agreement.  They had for a season, been a small example of God’s kingdom. As much as I wanted to honor these congregations, I also felt a … Continue reading Praying for Revival (I Think)…

Sermon: “Blasphemous Rumors”

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“Blasphemous Rumors”
Isaiah 7:10-16 and Matthew 1:18-25
Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 22, 2013
First Christian Church
Mahtomedi, MN

I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humor
And when I die I expect to find Him laughing

-Blasphemous Rumors, Depeche Mode, 1984

Those are the lyrics of a song called “Blasphemous Rumors” by the British New Wave band Depeche Mode. It’s an interesting song, because it takes on the topic of suffering and where faith intersects. In the song, we hear of a young girl trying to commit suicide, failing at first and then succeeding and another girl who became a committed Christian only to end up in a accident that left her on life support until the decision was made to turn the machine off.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t like this song because it seemed to denounce God for not stopping the evil that overtook these two women. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to see how this song is a song of complaint and questioning. Why does evil exist in this world? How can a good God allow such bad things to happen?

Saturday was the Winter Solstice, the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the day in the year with the shortest amount of daylight. A number of churches are starting to do services around that day that are little less festive than the rest of the season. The service goes by different names: Blue Christmas, Longest Night, Service of Light and so on. I’ve done a Blue Christmas service at First Christian in Minneapolis in 2011 and 2012 and I hope to do one here next year. The point of the service is to help those who might be facing a Christmas without a loved one, or are facing a job loss or anything that could keep you from celebrating during the holidays. These services provide a space for grief and sadness amidst the joy. It helps people remember that God has not forgotten them. Continue reading “Sermon: “Blasphemous Rumors””

Sermon: “Things Can Only Get Better”

“Things Can Only Get Better” Isaiah 11:1-10 Second Sunday of Advent December 8, 2013 First Christian Church Mahtomedi, MN When I Daniel and I moved to our house in North Minneapolis back in 2007, there was a large Silver Maple tree in the backyard. This tree was quite fruitful, because we were always getting rid of little saplings that seemed to appear everywhere in our yard. Three years later, we decided to expand our house. We also learned the maple tree was diseased, which meant it was susceptible to falling over. So, we called a service and had the mighty … Continue reading Sermon: “Things Can Only Get Better”