2009-11-26 by Jacqueline King
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Every year I look forward to the season of delicious food, family, a game of cards, and a long nap during the football game before our family congregates to eat again.Thanksgiving is so part of the American experience. Of course every year there seems to be a battle between Halloween and Christmas since Christmas trumps Thanksgiving as soon as Halloween is over. Who knows it may be a matter of time when Christmas trumps Halloween too! But today Thanksgiving is a reminder for me to be living a life of Thanks (what I like to simply call Thanksliving). The holiday challenges me to give thanks in all things (I Thessalonians 5:18). Normally I tend to not mix religion and politics, but today I thought it be appropriate to repost George Washington’s original Thanksgiving Proclamation (as given to me by the Euliss Consulting Group):"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best."
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789. -George Washington Thanksgiving is not just a day of Turkey and Football, but shared memories with loved ones and service for the common good. May we never lose sight of this vision. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24)Have a Happy, Inspiring, and Safe Thanksgiving!
"Lectionary Homiletics" Highlight; Jacqueline King; Satan; Squirrels
2009-11-25 by David von Schlichten
Thank you to Jacqueline King for her posts so far. It's delightful to hear her be so enthusiastic about her calling. Scroll down to read her thoughts about the apocalypse and the new Church year. Among other things, she reminds us of the importance of a both/and paradigm when thinking about God, the End, and our lives. Many in the pew think in either/or terms, but the Good News has a both/and hue.
Lectionary Homiletics Highlight:
Luke Bouman suggests in "Theological Themes" that, although Luke writes that Christ's followers will "escape" the horrors of the end, what Christ really means is that we will proclaim and embody God's life-giving love in the midst of the horrors and trials. After all, through Luke and Acts, the followers of Christ face many hardships. They do not "escape" so much as they proclaim God in the face of death.
This Sunday, I am starting a four-part series called "The Voices of Christ's Comings." Each Sunday will feature a different "character." This Sunday's sermon is entitled, "Satan" and will be a monologue in which Satan explains how he uses panic about the End to distract people from seeing God's loving activity in the world.
Finally, here is a poem I posted on the "Poems" site under Share It!. I include the poem here because it is relevant to the lessons.
Silver bullet streaks
From tree to tree, furry blur
Making my heart wag.
Wishing you a Thanksgiving of savory gravy-gratitude, I am
David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator
2009-11-24 by Jacqueline King
Hi! Whenever I read an article, I cannot help but be curious of the author. I want to know who I’m reading! Although I’ve put down two blogs already, let me briefly introduce myself, and I’ll continue blogging away.
I’m Jacqueline King. I’m a newly Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. I’m from the Mid-West but now pastor in the South with my wonderful clergy husband. My church is located in Natchitoches, Louisiana. I have a deep appreciation for family, food, culture, and ethnic diversity. I am a certified Nia practitioner and teach classes blending martial arts, yoga, and dance. My favorite non-scripture quote is from Martha Graham: “[The] driving force of God that plunges through me is what I live for." As a clergywoman, I feel like I have the best job in the world!
2009-11-24 by Jacqueline King
Winola Green submitted a question regarding how we deal with the end of time (see Pastor Talk To Me: Comfort Amid Tension Nov 29).
Advent is always a time where we look to the past and to the future simultaneously. We remember the birth of Jesus and prepare our hearts once again to receive the Christ child AND at the same time we look to the future and wait for Christ’s final return where all of humanity will be fully restored. Many television programs are speculating the “end of time.” The 5,125 year Mayan Long Count Calendar concludes during the Winter Solstice of 2012 and many people are wondering what life will look like following that day. Will we be around to see another day? Some speculators believe it will mark the beginning of the end, others think it will be a rebirth. I now reside in the Bible Belt and experience many Christians who see the end of the world as coming very soon. I wish I had a nickel every time my sweet neighbor said, ‘Pastor, it is just the signs of the times…Jesus is coming” My neighbor was so convinced that Jesus is coming any moment that if she heard anything unusual, she ran out the door and expected to see Jesus Christ descending gloriously from heaven. Most people heard a jumbo jet flying overhead, but she heard the apocalypse.
I appreciated my neighbor’s faith and enthusiasm, but I also witnessed her tendency to become complacent and uninvolved with the everyday. That is why I am passionate about approaching the tension with a both/and worldview. Yes, God is in control. Yes, Jesus Christ is coming. Yes, all of humanity will be restored at the appointed time AND we eagerly wait with serving hands, not twiddling thumbs. Our faith and action should resemble waiting for a houseguest to arrive. When we anticipate company, we don’t just sit around the house waiting. We clean up house! We get the towels ready! We wash the bedclothes! We dust and organize and throw out the trash! What if we lived everyday making the world a better place for our eternal house dweller to arrive? We would feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned, care for the sick, and help the poor. The scriptures of Advent invites us to connect to the past, future, and especially the here and now.
Rev. Jacqueline King
Happy Liturgical New Year!
2009-11-23 by Jacqueline King
As I drink my morning cup of tea, I am reflective of the season. Recently we celebrated Christ the King Sunday. In the church world, Christ the King Sunday is our sacred version of New Year’s Eve. We celebrate the liturgical season concluding and prepare for a new liturgical season to embark upon us. We will once again walk through the Old Testament, Psalms, Gospels, and Epistles but with a slight different focus and hear the scriptures from different voices.
Usually I find myself dwelling in the Gospels over the Advent season, but I feel called to spend serious time unpacking the prophets. The prophets were able to harmoniously unite God’s eternal victorious dwelling with the present day-to-day existence.
November 29th (First Sunday of Advent or what I like to call our Liturgical New Year’s Day) hears the voice of the prophet Jeremiah (33:14-16). Jeremiah could almost be called a book of Lamentations. Of all the prophets of the Bible, Jeremiah is perhaps the whiniest prophet (though Jonah does come close). However, Jeremiah has reason for despair, frustration, and complaint. As a prophet, he speaks on behalf of God in bleak and dire circumstances. The people are in economic and violent turmoil. All that is familiar to the people are under great threat. Human creation looks more like a human slaughterhouse.
Jeremiah pushes the people to not dwell in the past but to look forward to a new hope by a New King. It was understood back in the biblical days that the righteousness and justice of the King had the power of being an effective mediator between God and the people. An irresponsible king systemically caused havoc and turmoil on society. (In Jonah, we see the people, animals and king all repenting in sackcloth and ashes; as if we are seeing a reordering of creation from bottom to top).
In Jeremiah’s day, much of the people have lost their roots and identity. They are integrated into the corrupt Babylonian Empire and the people have to make a choice to join the political and religious benefits of the Babylonians or to regain their identity as a people of YHWH. The religious identity of the Israelites is threatened to dissolve in this Babylonian melting pot.
I believe we tend to lose ourselves when life gets the best of us. We may hear the loudspeakers play “Tis the season to be jolly….” But in this time, it seems that these words are more hauntingly ironic than an invite to be jolly. We ourselves have experienced dwindling pension plans, unemployment, sickness, and the fear of the unknown.
It is that time of the season when we are invited to prayer, to reflect, to look towards God’s victory though the battle wages on. At this point in Advent we reflect on our brokenness and our need to be restored by the grace of God. Our symbol of hope for this passage in Jeremiah comes in the form of a branch. I imagine the Branch stands quietly but courageously tall as all of life seems to fall down. We Christians interpret this Branch to refer to Jesus Christ the King who will strengthen and renew the House of David. This King we await for is filled with righteousness. The Greek version of the Old Testament (Septuagint) the word to describe God’s mercy, justice, and righteousness are all interchangeable.
In Advent we dwell in the Right Now and the Not Yet. Advent looks toward the past (when the baby Jesus is born) and looks toward the future when Christ will come again. Advent recognizes our internal longing for order and peace to be restored. May this Liturgical New Year truly renew our souls!
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