The Progressive Christian Voice
Summary: Listen to sermons that connect spiritual teachings to the relevant issues of our day. Featuring sermons at Western Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C..
We hear the term 'idol' and we think that we don't worship those - we don't worship golden calves. But, what are our functional idols or icons? What do you make sacrifices to and for?
Our daily lives are wrought with decisions to make - what to eat for breakfast; where to go for lunch; how to prioritize the 'to do' when there's not enough time to do it all; how to respond to hurt feelings or how we behave when we meet someone who is different from us. And, each day, we have a decision to make - who is the God we will follow today? Is it a hopeful God?
What comes to mind when you hear the word "servant"? For Downton Abbey fans, it's probably someone in a black uniform with a white apron. Feminists have critiqued the idea of "servant" as a model of faith, saying it encourages subservience. But Christian faith points to something more when it comes to serving. On this All Saints' Day, we'll consider the servants whose faith has shaped our own serving.
Scripture tells us that when David regained the ark of the covenant from his Philistine enemies, he led it in a dancing procession all the way back to his capital city. But scripture does not tell us whether he was truly praising God, or rather marching in an ancient near eastern ritual dance playing a mythic victor. Was David an admirable leader or a self-promoting conqueror? What can we learn from him and from the response of his wife Michal as we both use and respond to leadership today?
Delving into the prophet Amos, guest preacher, Andrew Foster Connors challenges us all to consider what we're hungry for.
"Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find." It sounds like a country song, but it's Shakespeare. True faithfulness - whether to friends or to loved ones or to God - is not easy or to be taken lightly. In the story of our faith, Ruth is one whose faithfulness made her a role model, especially given her identity as a marginalized outsider to the Hebrew faith and culture. What might she - and her spiritual children - teach us about faithfulness?
The Ten Commandments can be broken down into three sections – laws about our relationship with God, a law about our relationship with oneself, and laws concerning our relationship with the community. God gives the commandments not to restrict freedom but as a framework to promote free and life-giving relationships with God, with others, and within ourselves. This message of God’s love for us and for all humanity is absolutely extraordinary and bears repeating day in and day out. So, I wonder, can you imagine a world where we actively lived into these commandments?
Every year we celebrate World Communion Sunday, remembering we are not Christians on our own, that we are connected with folks around the world. But why? And given the state of the world -refugees unable to find a home; or our nation - yet another college reeling after a shooting - why do we care, beyond just being nice people? How might we discover our own call - our own burning bush, as we read the story of Moses - where we realize these are all holy matters, because that's just who God is?
A mysterious guest tells Sarah she will have a child in her old age; Jesus hints to his disciples that a rich person just might be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Both imply that nothing is impossible for God. What kinds of "impossible possibilities" does faith help us experience today?
Often times, verses are plucked from our holy text and quoted as sound bites to address complex and intimate human experiences. Our scripture for this week has one of those sound bites embedded in it. Trusting the Bible is not a weapon we'll take a look at Genesis 2 and listen again for what God deems good.
Kumbayah - Come by here - in times of difficulty and celebration, we lift our voices to sing Kumbayah. Take a moment out of your busy day and listen as the Western Presbyterian Church Choir sings this well-known song, allowing you to center, again, on the presence of God in your life.
James' letter says clearly that faith without works is dead. He was speaking to a group that seemed to privilege those with wealth over those without. What does James say to us about our faith? Does your faith "work"? Does what you do reflect the faith you profess?
The Pharisees watched on as Jesus and his disciples sit down for a meal. They noticed some of the disciples didn't properly wash their hands according to the traditions of the elders and they pressed Jesus for an explanation. Jesus responds, "It's not about what goes in the body, pay attention to what comes out of the heart." How does your daily life reflect your living faith? James 1: 17-27; Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23
"Western Presbyterian... that's the church where there's a great mission with the homeless," said one of my new neighbors when I told him where I serve. As I read the psalm afterwards, describing the ancient temple as God's dwelling place, it dawned on me that when it comes to God, "home" looks different, that in some ways we are all homeless, and for some of us it's just more obvious. What might it mean for us to find our home in God? How does Western help you find your home?
We hunger for all kinds of things: food, comfort, love, meaning, beauty, fulfillment, to name a few. Being hungry isn't a bad thing, until our hungers become insatiable cravings. Jesus seems to say that our hungry souls truly long for what only God can offer. What would it look like if we truly had a taste of "living bread"? John 6:24-26; Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16