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**No peeking if you are going to be there to hear it!!!!**


I need to make a confession. Come out of the closet, to borrow a phrase. I mean, if I am going to have a full, open, successful relationship with you all, there is something you need to know about me.

I am a huge Star Trek fan.

I mean, I don't wear Spock ears, speak Klingon, or go to conventions. Okay, so I have seen almost every single episode of every Star Trek series ever made and all ten existing movies; have books on my shelves with titles like The Physics of Star Trek, The Ethics of Star Trek, and The Religions of Star Trek; and threw a party on my last birthday with a Star Trek theme. Oh, and we can't forget the sweatshirt made for me by a housemate that is crafted to look like a uniform jumper, the two sets of Star Trek pez dispensers I received for Christmas (one to use, and one to keep in the box), my Borg action figure, and of course, this lovely communications badge.


cut for length )

So what now? What happens when this sermon is over, when worship is done for today, when we go out into the world? What happens as we remember Dr. King, and crowd around the television set to watch President-elect Obama's swearing-in? Well, I think that we have little choice but to keep steering the starship, hope that the Alien Of The Week is friendly, and keep an ear cocked for God's call to us as disciples of Christ- see, this is where having a Lieutenant Uhura on board comes in really handy. And as faithful disciples of Christ, what is our course heading? To quote Captain Kirk quoting another beautiful piece of literature full of the wonderment of possibility, “Second star to the right, and straight on 'till morning.”

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Here is the text of the sermon I'll be presenting tomorrow. I'd love to have any of you come. The American/English language service is at 10:30. The Arabic language service is at 1:30. No, I am not preaching in Arabic. I'm good, but I'm not that good. Although there will be no more rewrites of this before I give it- at least major rewrites- I'd love to know what folks think. As always, pointing out glaring errors or grievous typos would be welcome.

Scripture texts:

Genesis 45:1-15
Psalm 133
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15:21-28

cut for length )
violachic: (Default)
Scripture texts:

Isaiah 49:1-7

Psalm 40:1-11

I Corinthians 1:1-9

John 1:29-42


1. A turning or rotational motion about an axis.

2. A sudden or momentous change in a situation


1. One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.

2. An active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy.

"Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct-action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise.

So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here, I am here because I have organizational ties here. But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town.

Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid. Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote these words from a Birmingham, Alabama jail cell in April of 1963. He had been imprisioned after executing civil disobedience during a protest against segregation. The letter, which is known today as the famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", is a response to a statement made by eight white Alabama clergymen on April 12, 1963 titled "A Call For Unity" which agreed that social injustices were taking place but expressed the belief that the battle against racial segregation should be fought solely in the courts and not taken onto the streets. Born on January 15th, 1929, King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 while speaking in solidarity with the black sanitary public works employees, who had been on strike since March 12 of that year.

Disciple: An active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy.

"The only “something in my life” I can hold onto is to do what little I can to bring about the creation of the Peaceable Realm of God. It is my sense that such a realm will always have natural disasters. It is the “man-made” disasters that we are called upon to bring to and end."

Tom Fox, a friend and colleague of mine, was a team member in Baghdad with the Christian Peacemaker Teams. He wrote these words in his blog less than three months before he and three of his coworkers were kidnapped by an extremist group. They were held for three and a half months before Tom's body was discovered in Baghdad on March 10th, 2006. The other three hostages were released thirteen days later. On his last blog entry, dated November 8th, 2005, there are 92 comments left by friends and supporters from all over the world while waiting for news. Reading these, you will see things written such as

"I know that you are doing what God called you to do.

"May your courage be a model for the rest of us."

"You are in all our prayers as you testify to the true gospel of peace and love as demonstrated in the teachings of Christ."

"Your shining life proved how Jesus does still walk the earth."

Disciple: One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.

"I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside. Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again - a little bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here. Yesterday, I watched a father lead his two tiny children, holding his hands, out into the sight of tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought his house was going to be exploded."

Rachel Corrie, a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement, wrote these words home on February 27th, 2003, about a month after she arrived in Rafah, a city in the Gaza Strip on the Egyptian border. About three weeks later, she was crushed and killed by an Israeli bulldozer while defending a Palestinian home in danger of demolition. She was 23 years old.

Disciple: An active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy.

"We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways."

Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero spoke these words as part of his Christmas Eve homily in 1979. Exactly three months later, on March 24th, 1980, he was assassinated in the pulpit moments after finishing a homily in which he called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to obey God's higher order and to stop carrying out the government's repression and violations of basic human rights. His high-profile death provoked international outcry for human rights reform in El Salvador.

Disciple: One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.

more )

So let us be disciples of Christ together, and let us celebrate the revolution of God's love for us. With dancing, of course, because, in the words of Emma Goldman, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution".

Hymn of the day: Canticle of the Turning


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