Everything Must Change: Paradise

Genesis 2:5-17; 3:1-7 Controversy is swirling in conservative Christian circles this week over the release of the movie based on the best-selling book, The Shack.  The book, originally self-published by author William Paul Young in 2007 has sold more than 10 million copies and been translated into over thirty languages. Of course there’s a movie! [Read More…]

Ashes, Ashes

Last week I received several expressions of gratitude for making myself available to impose ashes at two Ash Wednesday services. People said the kindest things, like: “I know you have so very much on your plate. Thank you for taking time out to lead services today.” I found these comments a bit curious, as leading [Read More…]

Overcome by Faith

Matthew 17:1-9 Transfiguration Early in my career I was responsible for planning and leading a women’s retreat.  I made up a carefully detailed schedule and lists of preparations that began the very first night with an ice breaker.  We went around the room and everyone was asked to describe and demonstrate, if possible, a special [Read More…]

Some Uncomfortable Words

Just last week I participated in a panel of guests discussing religion and advocacy in the current political climate. This sort of experience is not that unusual for me, especially in these difficult days. What was unusual for me were some of the details of the gathering, details that were definitely out of my usual [Read More…]

Praying in Dark Days

Having trouble finding the right words? Here’s last Sunday’s prayer prayed by Riverside’s Minister of Justice, Advocacy, and Change, Rev. Bertram Johnson. “God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who has brought us thus far on the way; Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light, Keep us [Read More…]

The Hardest Commandment

Matthew 5:38-48 This week the senior staff spent a day and a half in intensive staff development.  This is notable, because we rarely have occasion to spend this much time all together in one place, and honestly most of us came into the experience pretty sure it would be a waste of time and definitely [Read More…]

Praying in Dark Days

The following is a pastoral prayer written and delivered in Sunday worship by my excellent colleague, Rev. Michael Livingston.  Michael has a way of capturing the collective yearnings of our hearts in ways that help our community pray together.  In these days, when finding the right words for even the most simple conversation is difficult, Michael’s [Read More…]

Magical Thinking

Matthew 5:13-20 2017 is bound to be a tough year for folks who are superstitious.  Beginning with the month of January, there are two Friday the 13ths in this year.  I wouldn’t generally think of myself as superstitious, but when I was talking to a friend this week about choosing her wedding date in October—a [Read More…]

Taking Jesus Seriously

If your church follows the Revised Common Lectionary you will know that in these weeks after the Epiphany we are hearing parts of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ famous teachings from the gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7.  Last Sunday in worship, instead of preaching a sermon I had written, I decided to “preach” the [Read More…]

Executive Order

  Matthew 25:35-40   My name is Max Wolff. The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered in Auschwitz. My name is Siegfried Wilmersdörfer. The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered in Belgium. My name is Regina Blumenstein. The US turned me away at [Read More…]