Extending the Table

By Rev. Cynthia L. Simmons Based on: Genesis 37-1-4, 12-28 Family therapists – people who make their living helping families in trouble determine and change the behaviors and patterns that are leading to dysfunction – would have a field day with the families in the book of Genesis.  Consider, for example, Abraham and his descendants. […]

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Imagine!

By the Rev. Dr. Steve Simmons Based on Isaiah 55: 1-5 In many churches, including this one, preachers ordinarily follow a three-year cycle of assigned Bible readings called a lectionary. Now, the lectionary has some real advantages over choosing your own passages to preach on; one big one is that it’s designed to take you […]

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Exiled Home

By Rev. J.C. Austin The United States is often portrayed as a highly mobile and even rootless society, especially among young people. And there’s no question that perspective is deeply ingrained in our society. So many of our stories are about going from wherever you grow up and making it big somewhere else. And that […]

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Advent in July

by Rev. J.C. Austin If there’s a universal experience of life during the pandemic, it must be the loss of any real grasp of how to count time. Honestly, if I didn’t have Sunday worship as a reliable touchstone, I really don’t know how I would keep any of it straight, and even then I […]

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Up With a Twist

By Rev. J.C. Austin As many of you know, I was an English major in college, and one day while studying the poetry of T.S. Eliot, the professor began the class by announcing that we were going to read a poem with one of the most shocking beginnings in literature.  “It starts off gently, beautiful, […]

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Pulling Our Weight

By Rev. Cynthia Simmons It was not easy being a Jew in Palestine at the time of Jesus. The glory days of Israel, a strong nation ruled by King David and then King Solomon, were long past – about 1,000 years – and the intervening centuries had not been kind. The land was invaded and […]

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A Command Performance

By Rev. J.C. Austin The Letter of James almost didn’t make it in the Bible. Only Revelation was more controversial as an inclusion in the Christian New Testament when the early Christians were assembling the New Testament. Many of the early Christian bishops felt it teetered on the edge of legalistic faith and what Protestants […]

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A Clear Signal

By Rev. J.C. Austin Exhaustion is the new busy. Before the pandemic, “busy” had become the standard definition of most of our lives, so much so that people were regularly writing books and articles on the culture and cult of busyness pervading U.S. society. The standard reply to the polite greeting, “How are you?” had […]

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The Big Reveal

By Rev. J.C. Austin I was talking with a friend recently and he started off by asking, “so, how’s the apocalypse going in Bethlehem? Good location, I suppose.” He isn’t a Christian, nor is his family, so what he knows is from general and popular culture. So I think he just assumes that Bethlehem is […]

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Putting Things in Order

By Rev. J.C. Austin There are always limits to parental understanding. My formative childhood years were mostly in the 1970s, and my mother was determined to raise her two boys to be what is now called emotionally intelligent: able to be aware of the full range our feelings, to manage and articulate them, and to […]

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