No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.
This slogan of the United Church of Christ is not just given lip service, but is lived out in this congregation, as we gather for worship, work and play.
All hands are welcome as we provide shelter for the homeless, all mouths are welcome as we gather for pot luck suppers, and all souls are welcome as we come to worship our God in community.
All religious backgrounds, all ages, and all family configurations come together to blend our voices in a harmony that reflects the diversity of God’s creation. This is the beloved community of Christ, and we hope that you will find a home here.
EASTER PASTOR PRESENT
Mocking God and Taking Stock of Ourselves
Happy Easter comes through bad news, horrific acts, and madness. We are made good by Good Friday.
A good friend sent me a horrible email during Holy Week that began “God is not mocked,” then ticked off and celebrated the deaths of celebrities who had “mocked God,” beginning with John Lennon for claiming he was more popular than Jesus, and Marilyn Monroe, who, after a visit by Billy Graham, told him, “I don’t need your Jesus,” then was found dead the next week, and ending with another nonbelieving star, who got into a car, then got killed in a crash, along with the others in that car.
Nevertheless Lennon was on target: he was more popular than Jesus, at least in England. But that doesn’t mean that the Jesus or the God I believe in is out to kill off everyone who won’t bow to Graham’s Jesus or to “our” God—nor to Bin Laden’s Mohammed or to the Tsarnaev brothers’ (the Boston bombers’) Allah. They were infidels. Islam means “Peace.” We are in this place—this church and world—to pass the peace, not the gunpowder. So I will preach and we will worship our “One God” on May 12—Mother’s Day, which the church has tried to reframe as the Festival of the Christian Home, and I hope, will become someday the Festival of the Human Family.
“God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world,” Jesus tells his followers, “but that the world through him might be saved.” And to all who are not saved (or are not saved the way we feel saved) “God so loved the world that he gave his Son,” the Good Shepherd, the sacrificial Lamb, who said on a Good Friday 2000 years ago, on a Terrorized Tuesday 12 years ago, and on a Bad Monday 2 weeks ago, —to his condemners, mockers and killers as he bled out on a cross— “Father, forgive them.” – and forgive my “saved” so-called “disciples,” one who turned me in, one who denied he even knew me, and all , except John, who ran from the bloody scene to save themselves.
I don’t know about you, but I too sure as hell would have run for my life from Jesus’ cross and death, go weep with Peter, and hope I got another chance for a comeback for confession and salvation.
Apostle Paul’s warning to the wavering Galatians (6:7) and us all: “Don’t be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever you sow, that you shall also reap.” It means we will reap what we now sow, not to let us know that those who say or do anything against, or doubting, God, Jesus, America or us, will be zapped by God,or should be expunged and exiled or exterminated by us.
Jesus, when being arrested, warned sword-happy Peter and us: “All who live by the sword—the gun or the bomb—will die by it.” (Matthew 26:52)
A vigilante call to go get (or rejoice that God is going to get) the infidels, is no better or more faithful for us than the infidel Islamists who are out to fatwa whack all they see as “infidels.”
Instead, Paul, who began his letter to the galling Galatians (1:6) by calling them “deserters” of Christ, ends in Christian compassion: “If someone is overtaken by a transgression, you who are spiritual should restore them in a spirit of gentleness.” And he ends that knock-on-those-who-mock-God with this point: “So let’s not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up.
So, whenever we have an opportunity, let’s work for the good of all.
[not just to those who live and are saved like us], and especially
[but not exclusively] to those of the household of faith.” (6:9-10)
Yes, I get—we get—very weary of the faith-mocking bad news in the world, in the church, around us, and in us, yet we live in love with Christ, the world, the church, and ourselves, not on hold, but in a “household” faith that our house cannot hold, by God, and thank God, with Jesus, in flesh and blood and spirit, in an everlasting open house,where the evil will never match the good.