hermionesviolin: a build-a-bear, facing the viewer, with a white t-shirt and a rainbow stitched tattoo bicep tattoo (pride)
On May 2, I got tagged into a thread on Queer Exchange Boston ("A couple friends and I are looking to build intentionally radical, queer space for folks who identify as LGBTQ and Christian to come together in Boston. Are there folks that might be interested in thinking this through with/joining us?").

I went to the first one (Sun May 15) and then to the first planning meeting (beyond the core group of folks who'd been dreaming up the first one) on Thurs May 26 (house church was meeting every other week).

By virtue of being one of 2 people at this planning meeting besides the 3 core organizers ... I got voluntold into giving the reflection this Sunday evening?

Because I had 2 and a half days to pick a text and come up with something to say about it, I attempted to crowd-source, but one of the organizers said she'd really like for people to reflect about what's truest for them, which is totally fair, but somewhat challenging. I came up with an idea by the time I got home that night, though. The reflection I ended up writing wasn't the one I'd initially intended to write, but I liked it, and it got positive feedback in the room.


Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (NRSV)

Content notes: mention (no dwelling, no details) of suicidality, self-harm, eating disorders, getting kicked out by your family, sexual assault

Now, will you pray with me? May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of all our hearts, be acceptable to you oh God, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

sermon )
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
Mark 8:31-38 )
This is not really a sermon on The Cross

Last week, Pr. Lisa mentioned the discomfort many progressive Christians have with the concept of “sin.” I apparently was acculturated differently, because I do not have a knee-jerk negative reaction to sin talk.

If you ask me, “What is ‘sin’?” I say, “Sin is that which separates us from God” -- and if I’m really thinking, I add that it also separates us from each other, and from ourselves.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Our consistent missing the mark is a part of the human condition, and our strivings to ever draw closer to the Divine are our best selves at work in us.

While I don’t have a problem with discussion of sin, I have basically zero interest in the glorification of Jesus’ suffering and death. I have, in fact, an active resistance to it.

I absolutely, full-stop, refuse to believe in a God who requires the brutal death of a Beloved Child in order to reconcile the world to Godself. That’s abusive and cruel and irreconcilable with the God of Love who is at the center of my faith.

So I tend to not engage with the Cross much.

And fortunately for me, today’s lectionary doesn’t require that I come up with a coherent theology of the Cross that I can live with.

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
First Sunday after Christmas Day

Psalm 148
Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:22-40

[This is the text I preached off of. My delivery was more colloquial.]

of joys and covenants

Read more... )


Editing the NRSV was fairly straightforward (initially I de-gendered Simeon, but then that got too clunky, so I let the masculine pronouns recur partway through; and Anna remained female the whole time), but I really liked what I did with Psalm 148 (adapted from the NRSV, The Inclusive Bible, and Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying) and wanted to share )
hermionesviolin: (small girl in big world [_extraflamey_])
This year, CWM is doing a (mostly off-lectionary) "Advent sermon series on rethinking texts that seem unjust...asking how there might be a re-thinking of the text in a way that provides a justice alternative to the solution that is offered." [read more here]

For the Sunday that Pastor Lisa would be away, I agreed to preach on the story of Hagar and Ishmael -- translation largely thanks to Phyllis Trible.
Genesis 12:1-3, 16:1-14, 21:9-21

Read more... )
Hear what the Spirit might be saying to the church.

In the Gospels we encounter Jesus saying to the other Jews of the day, "Do not say to each other, 'We are safe, for we are descendants of Abraham and Sarah.' That means nothing, for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham and Sarah." (Matthew 3:9, Luke 3:8)

Being descendants of Abraham and Sarah, inheritors of the promise, is a big deal. But in reading Genesis, I can't say that I'm too eager to claim Abraham and Sarah as my spiritual ancestors.

My friend Eda introduced me to the writings of Pauli Murray -- an African-American lawyer and activist, active from the 1940s, and in 1977, at the age of 66, the first African-American woman ordained in the Episcopal Church.

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: text "a land flowing with milk and honey" (abundance)
[Preached at Rest and Bread on Wednesday, December 8, 2010. Thanks to la bff for helping me select a Scripture passage.]

[Inspired by The Advent Conspiracy, Keith and I picked 4 alternative themes for Advent this year -- relationship, incarnation, sharing, and activation. Today is Incarnation.]
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, buy food and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk,
without money, without price!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you will eat well,
you will delight in rich fare;
bend your ear and come to me,
listen, that you may have life
I will make an everlasting Covenant with you--
in fulfillment of the blessings promised to David.
-Isaiah 55:1-3, The Inclusive Bible
"You who have no money, come, buy food and eat."

What a message that is for this season, when so many are struggling with economic scarcity.

The kindom of God, for which we wait expectantly this Advent season and all days, is a place where sustenance and abundance are available for all.

This passage also speaks to the goodness of nourishing our bodies.

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
[Preached at Rest and Bread on Wed. Nov. 17, 2010. Thanks to Scott for last-minute editing.]
Matthew 23:37-24:14

37“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38See, your house is left to you, desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God.’”

24 1As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, the disciples came to point out the buildings of the temple. 2Then Jesus asked them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” 3When Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

4Jesus answered them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray. 6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: 8all this is but the beginning of the birthpangs. 9“Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. 10Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.
One metaphor for Advent is that of pregnancy -- we, like Mary, wait in joyful (and perhaps more than a little fearful) anticipation for the Promised One -- Emmanuel, God With Us.

In today's reading, however, we are reminded that Christ is already mothering us. Jesus weeps over the city of Jerusalem, crying out, "How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!" How familiar that must sound to parents of willful children...

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: close up of a violin, with a bow in the background (violin)
[I gave the Reflection at Rest and Bread on September 22, 2010 -- feeling tired, hungry, and ill-prepared; I extemporized the second half of my Reflection and I think it went okay, though after the service was over I couldn't tell you what I said.]
1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, Christself human, 6who gave Christself a ransom for all—this was attested at the right time. 7For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1-7, NRSV)
Read more... )
hermionesviolin: (Aslan)
This is the text I preached off of. It was a draft, and I was tired, so what I actually preached had a lot more editorializing and extemporizing.

When I copied it from GoogleDocs into Word to print out for preaching, it erased the indenting I had put in to indicate notes I probably wouldn't use, so I ended up including some stuff I hadn't initially meant to. I've put those sections in small font and also edited them a bit to better reflect what I actually said (though for the most part I've left the text as-is, not editing it to be a verbatim of what I said aloud).

The Scripture texts (a mix of The Inclusive Bible and the NRSV) are at the bottom.

In the place where it was said to them, You are not my people, it shall be said to them, Children of the living God. )
hermionesviolin: (love one another as i have loved you)
Luke 8:42b-48

Jesus moved along, almost crushed by the crowd.  In the crowd was a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her.  She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of Jesus' cloak, and immediately the bleeding stopped.

"Who touched me?" Jesus asked?

When no one nearby responded, Peter said, "Rabbi, it's the crowd pressing around you."

But Jesus said, "Someone touched me.  I felt power leave me."

When the woman realized that she had been noticed, she approached in fear and knelt before Jesus.  She explained in front of the crowd why she had touched Jesus and how she had been instantly healed.

Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well.  Go in peace."
Transforming Love Into Healing

In her book Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith, Nora Gallagher writes: "In most of the other church seasons, we trace the life of Jesus--from expected arrival to resurrection, Advent to Eastertide.  But in Ordinary Time we are in our own lives, living out the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost" (203).

Read more... )
hermionesviolin: (light in the darkness)
[This is the text I preached off of -- though definitely not the verbatim text that actually came out of my mouth; for that, click the mp3 link at the bottom if you want.  The Scriptures were all an adaptation of the NRSV and The Inclusive Bible -- with Annie playing Marty Haugen's "Shepherd Me, O God" for Psalm 23 -- and are at the bottom, just before the audiolink.]

Easter 4C - April 25, 2010
Acts 9:36-43
Psalm 23
Revelation 7:9-17
John 10:22-30
Shepherding Community

Will you pray with me?
Jesus, three times you said to Simon Peter, the rock on whom you built your Church: "Do you love me? Feed my sheep." May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be filled with love for you and for each other, may they be food that will nourish and sustain us.  Amen.
I promise not to rehash Sean's sermon from last week; I just love that particular bit of lectionary.

I'm not actually going to talk about sheep at all. When I first read today's lectionary, they seemed the obvious connecting thread -- except for the Acts passage -- and I think maybe my literature major self got stuck there. My friend Sophia, in contrast, after I'd told her about my lack of inspiration, read through the assigned lectionary texts and said: "I feel like there's something there, but it's sort of scattered and hard to get at beyond the obvious bent of the lectionary towards 'Jesus shows She is God by healing people, restoring them to community, and freeing them from fear and sorrow, and then bestowing on Her followers the ability to do the same.' "

I kinda just wanna leave it at that and sit down now 'cause that preaches all on its own, but that's a bit of a cheat. So let's dig into this idea a bit more.

Read more... )

Scripture texts )

audiofile (21.4MB, 15:34min)
hermionesviolin: (be brave now)
[FirstChurch Mailing List] Rest and Bread, and still we rise!

Dear Beloved,

The season has changed from Lent to Easter, from winter to spring. We are changing also. We go from indoors to outdoors, from hidden in the earth to pushing through the crust of the earth. We come out. We make plans to go to grad school, to new cities, to new jobs, to new relationships within ourselves and in the world. We make plans to stay but not to do it in an old dead way. God is making a new thing happen.

But for a moment, between work and home, between ill and well, between here and there, this job and that, come and rest with us. Come pray with us. Come for a moment of quiet rest.

Our service of Rest and Bread begins at 6:30. Music for meditation begins at 6:15. Elizabeth [surname redacted -- but spelled correctly in her email!] will open the Word for us.

Just after, the Deacons will meet.

Laura Ruth
The Subject line comes from Molly's email last night --
And this Sunday, we begin a new preaching series:  six Sundays of Eastertide: (borrowing a line from Maya Angelou) And Still We Rise. We'll be preaching about baptism and social justice, about near-death-experien ces, about the nexus of science and faith, Haiti rising from the rubble. Get up! Get on up (borrowing a line from James Brown). That's what Easter people do.

John 20:1-18 )
Laura Ruth read the Scripture, and opening it she said, "this is a story of the discovery of Christ -- and a story of Mary who loved Christ;" Ari, I thought of you ;)

my sermon text )


I half-expected I would cry while preaching, but I didn't.  Laura Ruth did cry, though :)

After service, she told me and Keith, "You two are the bomb."  She was grateful to be able to just worship (she read the Scripture and did the Blessing & Benediction and led us in singing Opening Hymn “Now the Green Blade Riseth” [#238 vs. 1, 2, 3] and Closing Hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” [#233 vs. 1 & 4], but Keith did the Welcome and Call to Worship and Prayers and Passing of the Peace and he and I did Communion -- I chose the Minister Two role because I wanted to say "siblings in faith of all genders" instead of "brothers and sisters in faith" ... yeah, when the service is mine and Keith's I want us to have a conversation about tweaking the Communion liturgy some, which conversation we should probably start having before Laura Ruth leaves) and also said that she doesn't feel at all anxious about this ministry after her departure.

And she told us that she loves us, and we both said, "We love you, too."

I got to church later than usual because I was finishing up some personal email at work and then talking with FCS-Ian on the way to the T and then saying hello to Antonio the spray paint artist.  And we're doing new music for Eastertide.  So when I got to the chapel, Keith and Laura Ruth were already there, and so we sprawled in the sunlight (sitting on chairs in the chapel, but still sprawled in the sunlight) and talked through how we were going to divide up leading worship and which verses of the hymns to sing (I didn't vote on that -- largely 'cause I suspected my vote would be "all of them?") and so on and so forth.  And it just felt really really right.  Yeah, this church is in many ways my home.  (And I know it'll be okay after Laura Ruth leaves -- it'll be hard, but it'll be okay.)  I don't think I had fully articulated that after Laura Ruth leaves Rest and Bread will be Keith's and mine until I was thinking tonight about revising the Communion liturgy, but it feels totally natural.


hermionesviolin: an image of Alyson Hannigan (who plays Willow Rosenberg) with animated text "you think you know / what you are / what's to come / you haven't even / BEGUN" (Default)Elizabeth (the delinquent, ecumenical)

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