The Power of Prayer . . . at the Kmart

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By Rev. Susan Sparks When I want to remind myself of the power of prayer, I go to the Astor Place Kmart on the lower east side of Manhattan. Sure, I could read Kierkegaard or Augustine, but I prefer the Kmart. Specifically I favor an area in the far back corner of the basement. It is devoid of windows or natural light with a back wall of clear glass that faces the dungeon-like dark tunnel of the Number 6 subway train. There, you will find the most unexpected of things -- a plant … [Read more...]

What Trayvon Teaches Us

By Rev. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, Ph.D.In the days following George Zimmerman’s acquittal, I have been thinking of the Book of First Samuel, in which God tells King Saul to destroy the Amalekites as punishment for their inhospitality toward Israel (1 Samuel 15). The command is not a pretty one. This edict does not portray God as a loving, merciful Creator of all. Although Saul is the newly minted king of Israel and has all rights, privileges, power pertaining to this new title, God trumps … [Read more...]

Mary and Martha: Use Your Gifts, Whatever They May Be

 By Sister Carol Perry On a Sunny Afternoon It is a lovely late afternoon in the little village of Bethany on a hilltop outside Jerusalem.  This is a delightful place to visit because it offers a breeze above the valley.  But Jesus stops here often for more than that.  He knows he has friends in the persons of Martha and her siblings, Mary and Lazarus.This day, as the family of Bethany looks down the road, they see Jesus and some of his disciples approaching.  They know there will be time f … [Read more...]

Good Samaritans All Around

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By Eric D. BarretoThe story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is so familiar that to some it probably starts to verge on a cliché. Even people who have never read the Bible, let alone the Gospel of Luke, know the image of compassion embodied by the Samaritan who takes the risk to help a stranger in the midst of great trouble. In fact, the notion of a “Good Samaritan” has a cultural cache almost entirely separate from the term’s biblical origins.However, despite many repetitions and r … [Read more...]

Galatians 6: Fighting for Freedom

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By Rev. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, Ph.D.“If you love somebody, set them free. Free. Free. Set them free.” Of all the songs to come to mind during this Independence Day weekend, this one rings in my head. Sting, the artist, did not have America’s freedom celebration in mind when he coined these words. Honestly, the song has little to do with patriotism; it is more of a ballad of love lost and letting go. Nonetheless I dare to invoke it, as the words resonate with the spirit of autonomy that … [Read more...]

Luke 9:51-62: Resistance Is Futile

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By Rev. Dr. Karyn L. WisemanIn the Methodist tradition in which I was I raised, there is a concept of perfection. We “strive for perfection” in loving each other and loving God. It is not about avoiding all mistakes. It is about growing in love for neighbor and being hospitable to all we come in contact with. This is the point of our theology: as we grow in faith and love, we become closer to God. In the end, resisting God’s call to love others is pretty hard to do.And yet we know not eve … [Read more...]


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