What Will You Risk? Rev. Pam Easterday. Christmas Eve, 2015. Faith Presbyterian Church, Findly. Homily, Carols, Readings. Wonderful piano. Even a dulcimer! Enjoy. Listen. Full Worship Service. Or, a shortened 10 minute edit which includes piano, homily, dulcimer and silent night. Enjoy! Listen. Short Version.
Often, I have imagined God sets us free, like children barreling through a banging screen door into the green backyard. And God calls us home. We may resist. We may run full-speed. We may meander slowly home, investigating every shrub and frog on the journey. We may be broken by the hazards in the world, wander, swinging blindly at everyone. Or we may long to return home, yet be barred by human-set hurdles between us and the Holy One. Personally, my calling is to knock down the hurdles to allow everyone access to God.
Beyond our smiles, handshakes and yummy cookies (they are so good) ... But, yes. We are called to extravagant welcome, to share “the cost and joy of discipleship, to be [God's] servants in service of others, to proclaim the gospel to all the world, and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ's baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory” (UCC Statement of Faith). How shall we worship, learn, grow and serve?
What It's About. The Holy Bible: Love, Justice and Peace:
The word love appears in my Bible 586 times. Steadfast love runs through it. In spite of the fact that Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, God stayed with him and loved him steadfastly. God even used Joseph, in slavery, to feed people through a famine, redeeming his brothers' crime, using it for good.
The ancient prophets were God's messengers, telling the people in poetic and powerful ways that starving the poor to accumulate wealth is a sin. Indulging themselves while harming others is a crime, because God cares about justice, mercy and peace. The Holy One loved them. God loved us enough to risk coming to live among us. Yet even after we killed him, Jesus walked among us, granting us peace, telling us not to be afraid, revealing God's love.
In Matthew 22, Jesus says that the two greatest commandments are love God and love neighbor. ?On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.? Loving God and loving neighbor are the guiding principles by which we must judge all other rules and advice. Is it loving? If it does not show love, it is not godly.
Blessed to serve, Rev. Pam Easterday.