3/29/15 – “Welcoming the Wrong Jesus” by Rev. Diane K. HoogeSermons

by uccashland on March 30, 2015 with 0 comments

Last November we offered our support and blessing on the delegation that went to Georgia to participate in the 25th non-violent march outside of Fort Benning. This year, which marked the twenty fifth anniversary of the massacre of six Jesuit priests and two women, brought folks from around the world to once again demand that the School of the Americas located at Fort Benning be closed.

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3/22/15 – “Breaking the Rules” by Rev. Diane K. HoogeSermons

by uccashland on March 23, 2015 with 0 comments

In a past life, or at least it feels that long ago, I was in a new program in Gerontology. It was the seventh year of the then new field of study at the University of Oregon. What I appreciated was the innovative design of the program with professors who were deeply engaged and energized by being a part of creating new curriculum.

One of the most power classes was the one on Death and Dying utilizing Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s work…at that time it was considered cutting edge. Before we could be accepted into the class, we had to have references that spoke to our mental health and ability to explore death. We were then divided up into groups…groups that we stayed in within the larger class. We also had the same small group leader, a professor in the department, for the duration of the term.

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3/15/15 – “Deeds Done in God” by Rev. Paula SohlSermons

by uccashland on March 15, 2015 with 0 comments

John 3:16 For God so loved the world… is many people’s favorite bible verse. For others it is the greatest stumbling block. These Greek words reporting what Jesus said several decades earlier have been used to insist that certain people are going to hell.

But some people, many people, are already living in a kind of hell, where their options are so bleak they end up deciding to give their children away to someone else to raise in hopes that those children will get enough food and medical care to survive.

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3/8/15 – “Conflict of Values” by Rev. Diane. K HoogeSermons

by uccashland on March 8, 2015 with 1 comments

When I was in seminary I was blessed to have a class with the late Robert McAfee Brown, theologian, author, social justice activist. And, years later, I returned to Berkeley for the annual Earl Lectures where his wife, Sydney Thomson Brown was a presenter. She was highly regarded as a labor activist and as a teacher. She told the story of a man by the name of Theo who was an intern in her Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto. He spent three years working in Chinatown in San Francisco. He became educated about tourism, about poverty and about the misery of people who live in desperate situations in that extremely high density neighborhood.

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3/1/15 – “The Underside of the Palace” by Rev. Diane K. HoogeSermons

by uccashland on March 2, 2015 with 0 comments

Because our Lenten season is focused on “Telling our Sacred Stories”, I thought it would be helpful to review today’s text from the book of Esther as the Jewish community is preparing to celebrate Purim this week. They will commemorate the defeat of Haman’s plot to massacre the Jews. On Wednesday night the Scroll of Esther will be read and again on Thursday morning. I’ve always loved that during the reading of the story the Jewish community are encouraged to respond utilizing hisses, boo’s, and shouts of joy. So on this week when we in the United Church of Christ celebrate Women’s week, I invite you to hear two women’s stories from this ancient text.

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2/22/15 – “Signs of Promise” by Rev. Diane K. HoogeSermons

by uccashland on February 22, 2015 with 0 comments

As a child, I did not grow up in a liturgical church. I didn’t know what Lent meant until I was an adult. And, Ash Wednesday with its smudge on the forehead was held suspect. There is a certain amount of mystery that is part of this journey through Lent as we walk through the 40 day journey beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter morning.

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2/8/15 – “Home for the Heart” by Rev. Diane K. HoogeSermons

by uccashland on February 8, 2015 with 0 comments

Our story in today’s Gospel lesson is made up of four segments of stories that are hung together and it seems to be up to the reader or listener to sort out the weaving. The first story lets us know that a group of folks have been to the synagogue and have witnessed Jesus healing of the man with the unclean spirit, which was our lesson from last Sunday. They left the synagogue and have gone to the house of Simon Peter and Andrew. James and John are with them. We then learn that Simon’s wife’s mother is in bed with a fever, and their concern for her is pressing in on the family. In that day fevers were considered to be a demonic force. So, they take Jesus to her bedside. Jesus takes hold of the woman’s hand, lifts her up and brings her healing. She expresses her gratitude through service…by getting up and offering hospitality.

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2/1/15 – “Breaking Free” by Rev. Diane K. HoogeSermons

by uccashland on February 1, 2015 with 0 comments

For many of us who place ourselves on the theological continuum left of center, this story from the Christian scriptures has all the components to make one squirm. This is not a comfortable story. We tend to get fidgety around flashing neon words like “demon” “unclean spirits” and “exorcism.”
I’ve never had anyone tell me that this is their favorite healing story. And, clearly, it isn’t what I longed to wrestle with this week. I’m often reminded that the three year lectionary cycle of scripture invites us to deal with all kinds of texts that we’re tempted to ignore.

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1/18/15 – “Building on the Dream” by Rev. Diane K. HoogeSermons

by uccashland on January 21, 2015 with 0 comments

It has been about nine years since Hannah placed the hand of her three year old son into the weathered, worn, aging hand of the priest, Eli. This has always been for me one of the most powerful images in scripture. I can picture Hannah going through a bag of sacred items, while still keeping Samuel firmly lodged on her hip. Each item has a story and accompanying directions: the blanket, the well-worn stuffed camel that has been held to Samuel’s face ever since he could reach for it, his jacket, and an assortment of other child paraphernalia.

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12/21/14 – “Waiting in Community” by Rev. Diane K. HoogeSermons

by uccashland on December 21, 2014 with 0 comments

Although I was only five years old, I remember going to the huge home in Glendale, California, where an unknown woman answered the door, invited us in and asked us to sit in the parlor, a word I didn’t understand. She said she would go find my Aunt Mary. No one was around as we sat quietly on formal furniture, while the woman climbed the stairs with the ornate wooden newel post and heavy railing and fancy balusters. It was some thirty years later that I had an “aha” moment when I discovered that it had been a home for unwed mothers.

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