Week of June 24

Dear Friends:

This summer I’ll be highlighting some Biblical Storytelling, my favorite way to approach the texts.  Allowing imagination to breathe life back into the stories has some interesting consequences.  I can’t always tell, when I get started, where the story will end up.  Often, once I have the characters in my imagination, they start showing me things I never expected, or asking me to research things that I haven’t yet considered.  For example, this Sunday I will be sharing the story of Peter as he dares to walk on water.  I haven’t written the story yet, but Peter is suggesting to me that I need a little more information about the size and depth of the sea, the kind of fish that tend to be found there, the color of the water, what stars might be seen overhead.  I am not sure if any of that will end up part of the story; still Peter needs me to be more familiar with his surroundings if he is going to tell me what was in his heart that moment when he asked Jesus to bid him to walk on the waves.  

Storytelling also implies a living relationship with the texts for me.  The story I might cook up today may be nothing like the one I discovered 5 years ago.  And it has an implicit invitation for you to allow your imagination to scan these texts as well.  Together we make space for the texts to show us something rather than expecting a granular and bounded declaration of what the texts “mean.”  When people ask me what the bible says, I always think:  What the bible says to who?  And in what circumstance?  And does it say anything at all if you don’t demonstrate a willingness to enter it’s domain and stay a little while?

So come for some stories (and a Sunday of singing old hymns).  

In the meanwhile, may you enjoy the story of your life, and be blessed by the music of your spirit.



Subject to change, here is a look at what I’ll be up to this summer from the pulpit:

June 24:  Peter walks on Water;  Matthew 14:22-33

July 1:  The hemorrhaging woman; Mark 5:25-34

July 22:  Hymn Sunday;  we can sing whatever you want to, plus I’ll share a few of my favorites and why

Aug 12:  Feeding the 5,000;  Matthew 14:13-21

Aug 19:  The woman at the well; John 4:1-42



Wind In The Pine

Oh, I can hear you, God, above the cry
                 Of the tossing trees—
Rolling your windy tides across the sky,
  And splashing your silver seas
                    Over the pine,
                 To the water-line
                    Of the moon.
           Oh, I can hear you, God,
Above the wail of the lonely loon—
When the pine-tops pitch and nod—
           Chanting your melodies
Of ghostly waterfalls and avalanches,
Washing your wind among the branches
  To make them pure and white.
Wash over me, God, with your piney breeze,
  And your moon’s wet-silver pool;
Wash over me, God, with your wind and night,
           And leave me clean and cool.

-Lew Sarett




When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again. ... Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone.” 
― Thich Nhat HanhLiving Buddha, Living Christ

Week of June 3

Choir Sunday, this Sunday!

Mich used to like to say that on Choir Sunday the choir gives the Sermon.

(That never really stopped him from delivering a sermon of his own those days.)

What Mich knew and was saying is that strong and beautiful words can be carried directly into the heart by the melodies and harmonies of human voices- and the Talmadge Hill  Choir will be doing our best to testify to that this Sunday. And Susan will be there to support us all- as preacher AND as soprano.

Here are some advance quotes from the choir sermon- words according to a few of our spiritual guides- Curtis Mayfield, Rumi, Machado, Hank Williams and Bob Marley:

“Like the blind man that God gave back his sight, Praise the Lord! I saw the light!”

“Help each man be a better man with the kindness that you give.”

“Wade in the water! You gotta go deeper if you’re gonna cross over.”

“There’s room for all of the loved and the lost.”

“One Love, One Heart.”

“Lift you foot, cross over.”

“It is God I have here inside my heart.”

And, I am truly excited to announce that joining us from Bridgeport for the first time Sunday will be members of the KEYS Chorus.  The KEYS kids  have been working hard and they have learned quite a few of our songs.

Please come and be inspired by the singers (you getting inspired inspires us back), support the children and feed your heart!

With love, Rob


Sabbath ceasing means to cease not only from work itself, but also from the need to accomplish and be productive, from the worry and tension that accompany our modern criterion of efficiency, from our efforts to be in control of our lives as if we were God, from our possessiveness and our enculturation, and, finally, from the humdrum and meaninglessness that result when life is pursued without the Lord at the center of it all.

Marva J. Dawn

Sabbath is that uncluttered time and space in which we can distance ourselves from our own activities enough to see what God is doing.

Eugene Peterson