The Prophet’s Call to Freedom – Br. Todd Blackham

Amos
Ps. 85
Ephesians 1:3-14
Mark 6:14-29

Do you remember the first rumblings about this Covid-19 virus you heard back in early 2020?  What did it sound like to you when you started to hear warnings about a troublesome outbreak in a country far away?  Depending on your profession, your news sources, your general level of awareness it probably took a while before the full reality set it.  Even now mystery surrounds its origins and sadly there is no shortage of suspicion, blame, and contradictory information.  Such is often the case with a prophetic voice.  Dire warnings and croakings of doom are seldom heeded without hesitation and all too frequently caution is ignored until someone is directly impacted.

This has been true since the time of the prophet Amos, through to the time of John the Baptizer and, and continues to this very day.  Why is it so hard to heed the prophet’s cry?

It reminds me a bit of earthquakes.  I had been living in Los Angeles for a year before I encountered my first one.  That day I was helping some friends fill up one of those big moving and storage pods.  It had been a long day and near the end I hopped up on the pile to jam a few more things in the back corners.  Then I felt my friends shaking the pod back and forth.  Hey guys knock it off and help me.  “It’s an earthquake, Todd.”  Yeah, cute, stop making the earthquake and hand me another box.  They were native Angelenos and knew exactly what was going on.  A guy from Colorado like me had a hard time understanding what was happening.  It didn’t compute to me that the actual ground was shaking.  I still had my doubts until they started making calls to family saying, did you feel it?  Yeah, we’re safe… I saw the news reports later in the day and I finally believed. Read More

Sermons for the Beach: A Home in Your Heart

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During the month of August, while the Chapel is closed, we are reposting sermons that we hope will inspire you to embrace play, rest, and recreation.

James Koester SSJEActs 16: 9-15Psalm 67Revelation 21: 10, 22 – 22: 5John 14: 23 – 29

Over the last several weeks I have been busy building raised garden beds. If you have been to Emery House, you may have seen them, or even inspected them. In one I have spinach and beets, in another lettuce, radishes and carrots. In a couple of smaller ones I have planted potato onions, shallots and Egyptian Walking Onions (now isn’t that a great name!). Last week I transplanted the creeping oregano into one and one of the guests carefully transplanted most of the perennial onions into another. Read More

Sermons for the Beach: Stop the Motor

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During the month of August, while the Chapel is closed, we are reposting sermons that we hope will inspire you to embrace play, rest, solitude, and recreation.

Br. Mark BrownMark 6:30-34

Jesus calls his disciples to many and various good works. In the story today they’re all exhausted.  So he calls them to something very different: let’s go for a boat ride and get away from all this. So they go for a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.  It doesn’t say whether it’s a row boat or a sail boat, but out they go. It’s time for rest.  Resting, getting away from it all, retreating is a spiritual practice.  It’s also a religious duty: it’s right there in the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath Rest. The Sabbath Rest in the most literal sense is about taking it easy on the seventh day of the week.  But Sabbath pertains to other time frames as well.  We might have annual retreats or a monthly retreat day. Read More

Sermons for the Beach: Time to Play

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During the month of August, while the Chapel is closed, we are reposting sermons that we hope will inspire you to embrace play, rest, and recreation. 

Br. Curtis AlmquistBr. Curtis’ sermon, “Time to Play,” was originally preached to accompany SSJE’s 2015 video series, “It’s Time to…” about rediscovering the sacred dimensions of Time. Learn more here.

Matthew 18-1-5

If we consider how often the word “play” figures into English discourse, “play” is obviously important to us.  We play games and sports; we play musical instruments; we play cards; we play with our pets.  We watch actors play their parts in stage plays.  And, just for fun, there’s all kinds of word plays, like “I used to be indecisive.  Now I’m not so sure.” (1) We can play an important role in life.  But then, playing can also become quite complicated, like in a power play, or playing up to someone, or playing something down.  One can play fair, or play foul, or  play safe.  One can also play along, or play favorites, or play the field, or play politics, or play into someone’s hands, or play with someone’s head.  Complicated play. Read More

Divine Leisure: Joining God in the Cosmic Sandbox

SSJE132

 In the first creation story told in the Book of Genesis, God’s spirit broods over the waters of chaos and speaks the universe into being, “Let there be light”—the first day of God’s creating work. Over a succession of five days, God continues creating—dry land, the dome of the heavens, winged birds, earthly creatures and humankind—and blessing everything that God has brought into being, pronouncing it all “very good.”

Then comes the seventh day: “And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.” After much creative labor, God takes “a day off,” simply to enjoy the fruits of this work and delight in all that creativity. “So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.”

Though enshrined in the Hebrew Scriptures as the Sabbath, a weekly day of rest, the rhythm of activity and leisure, creation and recreation, remains as countercultural in our present moment as it was in the world of our ancestors in faith. Read More