Sermon: A Single, Holy, Living Sacrifice

By Sheri Hostetler

Romans 12:1-8

During our communion litany, we say together a prayer that ends with this line: “Made one in Christ and one with each other, and one with all creation – we offer these gifts and with them ourselves.”  There’s actually five additional words to this prayer —  “and with them ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice.” Sometimes I take out those five words “a single, holy, living, sacrifice” and sometimes I don’t. I wonder how many of you notice this. Actually, sometimes I take those words out of my copy of the prayer and forget that I left it in your version of the prayer that’s in the order of worship. That’s not so bad. But sometimes, I take it out of your version and leave it in mine. That’s a bit more embarrassing, when I alone am saying “a single, holy, living…” Actually, the people that do the litany with me up here are usually reading off of my copy, so — ha ha.

Obviously, I have some ambivalence toward those words — a single, holy living sacrifice — words that come directly from our reading for today. Sometimes, I am put off by the violence of them and I just can’t use them.  The image of an innocent lamb or goat being slaughtered on an altar? No, I do not want to bring that image into this space. The story where Abraham thinks God is asking him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and he ties him to the altar and has the knife above his head before God says, “Just kidding!’? No, thank you. I’ve always thought of that story as one of the Bible’s “texts of terror,” the feminist Biblical scholar Phyllis Trible’s phrase for those scripture stories that seem to divinely sanction violence.

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Reflection: Listening to Other People’s Voices, “Arts Sunday 2017”

By Lisa Hubbell

What I’ve been given to say today is about listening to other voices.

If this were a Quaker meeting, we would all settle back into silence, to give more time for Shannon’s words to sink in and work on us, along with whatever God guides us to pay attention to in that time. I’d like to take a brief moment to do that.

….

That is one of the ways I’ve learned over time to listen more deeply to other people’s voices. Lately, I’m learning to notice how much space I take up with my own voice. It humbles me to confront this.

I am a person both of creativity and of privilege. I was raised a Quaker girl in California in the ’60s, by white activist parents with Ph.D.s. Given that, I was encouraged to express myself and speak up more than most people, even if I got in trouble for it a lot of the time. Read more

Sermon: Walking in the Way of Righteousness

By Joanna Shenk

Psalm 85:8-13

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a loved one in which they asked me if I thought holiness and righteousness were important… or if I valued them as a Christian. I can’t remember exactly how they said it, but it was said in a way that assumed I probably didn’t think they were important. I explained to them that it was frustrating to be asked the question in that way because it put me on the defensive… like I needed to prove something to them. To their credit, they understood and agreed it made for better conversation if they asked me how I understand holiness and righteousness or what has been my journey with those things.

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