The peace of Lent

Below is most of the material said or sung at the morning service on March 29, 2020. I provide it because the livestream on Facebook seemed to have a lot of issues. Good morning; and welcome to each of you. As was the case last week, three of us are physically here at Mill Woods … [Read more…]

Faith in Lent

video of the livestream of the service from the preamble to morning worship — Good morning; and welcome to each of you. Three of us are physically here at Mill Woods United Church today – behind the podium is myself, Rev. Ian Kellogg; behind the piano is our Music Director, Bryan LeGrow; and behind the … [Read more…]

Hope in Lent

From the Preamble to Worship Dear friends, We are a family of faith formed by hope and love. But this morning, we gather under a cloud cast by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like me, I imagine you are shocked by how quickly things shifted last week. First, it was the decline in the price of oil; … [Read more…]

Notes from the underground

Texts: John 3:1-19 (being born from above) * Matthew 17:1-9 (the Transfiguration) * “Parasite,” 2019 movie How many people here today have seen the South Korean movie Parasite? Last month, it became the first non-English language movie to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It has won other awards and has earned $300 million … [Read more…]

Going too far . . . or not far enough?

Text: Matthew 4:1-11 (Jesus tempted in the wilderness) What did you think of the translation of today’s Gospel reading? Taken from John Henson’s 2004 translation of the New Testament titled “Good As New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures,” it translates the Greek word for the Devil into the fears and desires of Jesus. Do … [Read more…]

Lost in translation

Texts: “If it be You Will” by Leonard Cohen * Mark 14:32-42 (Jesus prays in Gethsemane) Sunday mornings at Mill Woods United have some elements that are traditional and others that are new, and I hope you appreciate both. We may find comfort in hearing stories from the Bible that we know well while also … [Read more…]

God help us

Texts: “School Prayer,” a poem by Batya (2013) * Romans 8:14-27 (“the Spirit helps us in our weakness”) What role can prayer play in the face of an epidemic like the one caused by the new coronavirus? I ask this today not to contribute to panic but because news of the virus, which arose in … [Read more…]

“Will you come and follow me?”

Text: Matthew 4:12-23 (Jesus calls his first disciples) Has anyone here today watched the Netflix series “Messiah?” The ten episodes that make up Season One were released on January 1, and last week, Kim and I binge-watched them all. Set in a slightly altered version of today’s world, “Messiah” tells the story of a preacher … [Read more…]

Kingdom come

Texts: “I Happened to be Standing” by Mary Oliver * Luke 11:1-4 (“Father . . . “) Ever since I learned “The Lord’s Prayer” as a child, I have been waiting for God’s kingdom to come. But despite never-ending repetition of the prayer by myself and billions of others, God’s kingdom doesn’t seem to have … [Read more…]

“How, then, should we pray?”

Texts: an excerpt from “The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of The Lord’s Prayer” by John Dominic Crossan * Matthew 6:9-13 (“Our Father . . . “) Dear friends, Welcome to another spiritual gathering on this cold and beautiful morning in Mill Woods. Welcome to another moment in which we share our spirits in … [Read more…]