Sermon: Hope Amidst the Darkness

Christ calls us to see the unseen, and right now the unseen include many who are rejecting the wisdom that we hold dear. They reject it because they see nothing in it for them, and nothing in it that respects who they are or what they need. And, until that changes, nothing we do will have a lasting impact, no matter how well intentioned we are. …And that’s a hard truth to face.

I’m starting today’s message with a slideshow. Each and every quote and image you’ll be seeing in these slides was said or written by someone I know well, or by a friend of someone I know well; and many of the locations shown in these slides (except for the very last one) are probably places you know of and may well have been to, or at least near… So, these are all people and locations with a relatively close connection to me.

These quotes and images demonstrate how this election has caused fear to overwhelm so many people that we know. This is not a criticism of whoever ran. It is trying to help us understand that there are a lot of scared and hurting people out there. People close to us, living in places close to us. I’m hoping they help us see how these reports of terror, bullying, and oppression are not just something from a newscast about a distant place, but are happening to our neighbors and friends and relatives right here, and right now.

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An Expository Reading of Pilate’s Questioning of Jesus

Presented at Sudbury Memorial UCC Church, November 25, 2012
Scripture: John 18:33-37

Prologue…

Today we celebrate “Christ the King” or “The Reign of Christ” Sunday, the last Sunday of the Liturgical year, a time when we ponder the meaning of Christ’s Lordship here on earth, and in our lives.

In exploring this today, we will focus on the topic of Fact vs. Faith.  For us to allow the Son of God to have Lordship over our lives, then Christ must be real and tangible truth to us in some way.  But, what does that mean?  How do faith, fact and truth intersect?  How does the truth of Christ become reality in our lives?

In 1975, James Cone, a well known African American Theologian, got right to the heart of this issue when he wrote that “Jesus is Black.”  People were shocked by this, as you might imagine.  Many rejected the idea, others tried to understand it as a metaphor.  But Cone insisted, saying that his critics didn’t understand, the TRUTH is that for African Americans, Jesus is Black.  He must be, otherwise, Jesus is not talking to those of us who are African Americans, but only to those who are White.  In order for Jesus to speak to us, to really be what he says he is – God with Us – then, for Cone and many others, Jesus must be Black.  Otherwise, Jesus is not someone that Cone can relate to as a member of a race that has been oppressed and marginalized for centuries because of the color of their skin.

In hearing this, our reaction may be “But, that’s not the truth!”

Really?  How can we be sure?  …Does it matter?

Continue reading “An Expository Reading of Pilate’s Questioning of Jesus”