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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11/23/14 – “Lessons from the Wilderness” by Rev. Diane K. HoogeSermons

by uccashland on November 23, 2014 with 0 comments

It was a few years ago when I received the call. The woman on the phone said, if you want to have time with Starla, you better come now. It was the second week of Advent, but fortunately the church leadership blessed my leave taking. I flew from Minnesota to Seattle and walked into Starla’s home where her caretaker left the house so we could have some time together…the kind of sacred time that happens when the one who is in the process of dying somehow rallies enough strength to be clear in their thinking and we were able to say all we needed to say.

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