Come closer! (with audio)

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, 24B, October 18, 2015; The Rev. Pamela L. Werntz

Isaiah 53:4-12 It was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.
[Job 38:1-7, 34-41 Who.]
Hebrews 5:1-10 He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Mark 10:35-45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.

O suffering God, grant us the strength, the wisdom and the courage to seek always and everywhere after truth, come when it may, and cost what it will.

Our Rabbi-in-Residence, Howard Berman, is fond of asking me whenever he preaches at one of our services, “Why do I always get the hard texts?” I say, I wonder the very same thing! Why do I always get the hard texts?” (I think the answer might be that they’re almost all hard.) When it comes to the Isaiah reading, I’ll admit that I did it to myself when I agreed to take a week away from our reading of the story of Job in the interest of Ryan Turner’s request for the lovely Distler motet.
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Welcome (with audio)

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 20B, September 20, 2015; The Rev. Pamela L. Werntz

Proverbs 31:10-31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the city gates.James 3:13-4:3, 7-8 Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

Mark 9:30-37 Welcomes…welcomes…welcomes…welcomes.

O God of radical welcome, grant us the strength, the wisdom and the courage to seek always and everywhere after truth, come when it may, and cost what it will.

Hello! I’m so glad you’re here! Happy New Year! Part of the fun of living in an interfaith family like the family Emmanuel Church makes with Central Reform Temple is that we double our holidays! This sanctuary is still humming with the celebrations of the Jewish New Year that began last Sunday evening. So we enter this place today in the midst of the prayers of the Days of Awe – the high holy days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The themes of the Days of Awe are hope, reconciliation and repair – in individual lives and in the world – the Days of Awe are days of reflection, renewed commitment, and action. Continue reading

It is I.

The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 12B, July 26, 2015; The Rev. Pamela L. Werntz

2 Samuel 11:1-15 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle…David [stayed home].
Ephesians 3:14-21 The power to comprehend…what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ.
John 6:1-21 Ego eimi mey phobeisthe.

O God of wonder, grant us the strength, the wisdom and the courage to seek always and everywhere after truth, come when it may, and cost what it will.

We have, for our edification this morning, two fantastic stories, so famous that you certainly don’t have to be a Christian to know them – stories of abundance out of scarcity in the loaves and fishes and of walking on water in some rough weather. The stories get larger and more profound with each iteration in the four Gospels. By the time that the Gospel of John was written, the hunger of the crowds and the threatening storm have become less problems to be solved by Jesus and more lessons to be taught by Jesus, who knew all along, according to John, what he was going to do to try to impress on his followers the meaning of the presence, the power, and the promise of God. The Gospel of John has the biggest fish story of all! Continue reading

Come down, O Love Divine!

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, 12A, July 27, 2014; The Rev. Pamela L. Werntz

Genesis 29:15-28 This is not done in our country.

Romans 8:26-39 We do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 Have you understood all this?O God of grace, grant us the wisdom, the strength and the courage to seek always and everywhere after truth, come when it may, and cost what it will.
Everyone take a deep breath and blow it out twice as slowly as you took it in. Do it again, breathing in the gift of oxygen; breathing out your gift back to the plants of carbon dioxide. Breathe the Divine Love come down – the breath of life – in and out. You know, in biblical terms, the word for breath, and wind, and spirit are all the same: ruach in Hebrew. I thought we might start with feeling thankful for breath – because — Continue reading