Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday, May 31st at The Gathering

This morning it is a nice day. Our doors to the street are open wide, and a few people wandered in while Carl Nystedt led the worship. Carl is good, and people like to stop and listen to him. So if we can open the doors (which face to the walking mall) everyone likes to visit in downtown Salem.

Jeff is preaching now, and started by saying that "eschatology" is a $5 theological word that you don't need to spend $30,000 at seminary to learn.

I teaching through the first part of the 5th chapter of James, Jeff tells about living at Larche, and learning to cultivate life and spirituality by cleaning toilets, and putting away his Merton.

Attendance at service this morning is smaller than typical. Are you a member of a small church? How does it effect you when the numbers are smaller on a Sunday morning? Does it effect you?

Now Jeff is on the subject of gossiping - now he's meddlin'! James meddles. I guess we need to meddle like he does as well. So Jeff is calling us to repentance on the subject of grumbling and gossiping. "Nothing about us without us," is a quote he brought up as a good rule of talking about others - say nothing about them with out them present.

Okay, now Jeff is talking about gopher wood, and wondering how gophers make wood. Hmmmm, what happened to that $30,000 seminary education.

Hey there, it's Jeff now. Phil started finishing up James by pointing us back to the openness and power that is evidenced in Acts 2:41-47 and encouraged in passages like I Corinthians 14. Phil noted that for all his tough talk and assumed heavy handedness, in passages like I Cor. 14 Paul encourages the church to a radical mutuality in which more than one prophet speaks, praises and tongues are encouraged and interpreted and the church shares all good things with one another.

In closing (a phrase that preachers use at their peril, btw), Phil reminded us that James has commissioned us to do what he was attempting to do. Namely, to turn one another from sin and death and so save one another. Hmmm...saving one sounds like Martin Luther had more than one reason to hate this book that he both wanted to strip from the canon and effectively commended in his writing and preaching on a number of occasions.

Paul Drake anchored the service by leading our celebration of Eucharist. In a reading of Mark that I have never thought up myself, Paul reminded us that the first Eucharist was kept among a community that was broken and disintegrating as the disciples worried that they would be the one to betray their Lord. Paul mentioned that his reading of the text was influenced by the relationality that was emphasized in the two former sermons that were preached this day. Maybe we have multiple prophets speaking during our services after all. I wish more of these prophets were women. We've got enough white male middle-class prophets around here.

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