They Started It!

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

– The “Second Great Commandment” – Matthew 22:39

In a recent interview with Sean Hannity on Fox, Eric Trump said that those who oppose his dad “are not even people” and then proceeded to criticize those who are calling his father names, and making all sorts of vile accusations against him.

I’ll have to admit, it’s really hard for many to take such ire seriously.  After all, no one has ever accused our current president of being a high-minded politician.  And, all of us (even his most ardent supporters) can easily recite quite a long list of derogatory phrases he has used to label those he sees as enemies.  He’s a master at the craft of name-calling and the memorable insult, we all know it.

But, does that justify our own insults of him in return?  And, does our own insulting of him justify his supporters (and him) re-insulting us back?  And, does their re-insulting of us in response to our insulting of them after they insulted us justify our re-insulting them back again?  And, does our re-insulting of them for re-insulting us after we insulted them for their insulting us justify their re-re-insulting us again?  And…

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Sermon: Covenant

A Covenant is not about rules but about relationship, to ensure that the relationship between the parties will be strong and will prosper over time. Any rules or guidelines in the covenant are to provide guidance on how to ensure this happens, and to protect the interests of both parties. But, if the situation changes (and it always does – as change is the only constant in this world) then, in the interest of preserving the relationship, it is understood that the rules will eventually need to be negotiated – and a new (or revised) Covenant agreed-upon.

This is (with some edits to include important points made in the audio) the draft version of the sermon I gave this past Sunday, when we joined together to “Re-Covenant” our ministries for the start of our Congregation’s “Program Year.”   I gave the actual sermon without reference to this draft (for the most part) – and, frankly doing so made for a message that was far better and more relevant than you will read here.  (That one should listen when the Holy Spirit stirs within you is a lesson I learned long ago.)

If you wish to hear the sermon as given, the audio can be found at the bottom of this page.  (I may someday update the draft to match the audio – in my copious spare time!)


Please join me in prayer…

Lord God, we lift up this morning’s lessons.  May they touch our hearts, and speak clearly to our souls, that we may come to more fully comprehend your eternal and undying love for us and for all of your Creation. Amen.

The year is 622 BCE.

Zoroaster, founder of the great Zoroastrian faith is a young boy in Persia. Lao Tse – founder of Taoism, and Confucius, and Buddha, all would be born within the next few years. Classical Greek Culture was just beginning its rise to dominance, and Rome was a small city under Etruscan domination.

In Israel young Josiah has been King of Judah for about 18 years. And, for the first time in generations, his Kingdom is not threatened by external aggression or domination. The Assyrian Empire that his Kingdom had long paid tribute to, and which had destroyed Samaria in Northern Israel just a century earlier, was disintegrating. Egypt was also recovering from Assyria’s domination, and Babylon had not yet laid claim to Assyria’s place as the dominant power in that part of the ancient world.

Josiah about 26 years old, and possibly exploiting the opportunities that arose from his Kingdom’s newfound independence, the Bible tells us he directed Hilkiah, the High Priest, to use Tax Money to renovate the long neglected Temple of Yahweh.

And Lo and Behold! As the renovation of the Temple began, Hikiah found a scroll hidden among the stones.

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