Sermon: Walking Humbly

By Joanna Lawrence Shenk

Micah 6:1-8

Imagine yourself in the forest that we just heard about during Children’s Time. What do you think you’d be noticing if you were in the forest? Maybe the sound of birds or the height of the trees? Maybe the skittering of the squirrels, rustling the leaves as they bound across branches? Maybe you’d notice the pinecones strewn across the path or a mushroom popping up under some ivy? Maybe you would notice the smell of leaves or of an eucalyptus tree nearby? 

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Sermon: State of our Union

Matthew 4:17-23

Since I’m about to give our version of the “State of the Union” address typically given by U.S. presidents, I thought I’d check out last year’s State of the Union address to get a sense of the similarities and differences between that ritual and ours. Similarities? People come in late for that event, too. And, it’s hard to get people to stop talking to each other and get started. Nancy Pelosi has to bang that gavel, hard, several times. Maybe our worship leaders should do that? As for differences:  Joanna or I don’t normally get introduced — “Ladies and gentleman, the pastors of FMCSF!” — and then we don’t walk into the sanctuary as you all stand and clap. Why doesn’t that happen? And you don’t keep standing and applauding once we step up to the podium, such that we have to say, “Thank you, thank you. Thank you very much” as a way of quieting you down and then when we say that you clap even louder and start cheering, and we stand there, humbly. And this clapping and cheering keeps happening again and again throughout the speech. Again, why not?

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Mothers: Lamentation, Resistance, and Change (MLK Day Sermon)

2 Samuel 21: 1-14

By Benjamin Bolaños

To tell you the truth I’m tired of these one day holidays that we, as a country,  adore year after year, from President’s day, Caesar Chavez day, Indigenous People’s or Columbus Day and of course MLK day.  It’s not because I do not value what they represent or that I don’t believe in justice or equality or progress.  I’m tired of them because I find them to be frankly trite.  Every January we celebrate MLK day.  Every February we celebrate President’s day.  Every October we celebrate Indigenous People’s day.   AndI hear the same thing about that person or event each year. Particularly, the symbol of MLK has been lost for me since I know the story and I also know I get a day off. I get a day for each of these holidays.   I also know if I need a new car, there will be MLK deals for a ford or a toyota.  Or MLK deals at the shopping center.  In his book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, Neil Postman calls this symbol draining (see chapter 10).  The more you hear and see the symbol, the more it loses its efficacy and since we live in a consumer-oriented society, the more that symbol is usurped by consumerist values.  MLK holiday has been taken over by the system.  

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