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20 Lady Slipper Lane
Hilton Head Plantation
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

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Sunday
May192019

The Ever-Dependable God

The God who is proclaimed throughout the Bible, in both Testaments and in virtually all its books, is portrayed as the God we can always count on. Psalm 98 was our responsive reading. Here are its opening verses: “O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. The Lord has made known his victory, he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations” (98:1-2). In biblical times, the Jews felt that God was in competition with the purported gods of other nations. Thus when things went well for Israel and battles were won, it vindicated God in their eyes. They believed they could depend on God to do this.

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Sunday
May052019

Religion Can Kill Religion

It seems to me that religion is probably held in lower esteem now than at any other time in the past century or so. Religious extremists such as the 9/11 terrorists, or the mosque bombers in Indonesia or Tennessee or elsewhere, or the church bombers on Easter in Sri Lanka, or the synagogue shooters in Pittsburgh or California give all other religious people an undeserved bad reputation. Jewish militants in Israel make the peace process with the Palestinians almost impossible, and vice versa. Buddhists are supposed to be peaceable people, but the Buddhists of Burma have treated the Muslim Rohingas of Burma terribly.

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Sunday
Apr282019

Does God Protect Us, OR Uphold Us?

Psalm 91 is one of the best known of all the Psalms. It has been a source of comfort and assurance to Jews and Christians for many centuries. Whenever I read it, I am reminded of the monks at Mepkin Abbey. They have seven services a day, most of which have a few Psalms sung as part of each service. The abbey is cruciform in shape, and the monks sit in two rows of seats on each side of the “long part” of the cross, facing one another. One half of the community sings one verse, and then the other half sing the following verse, and so it goes all the way through the Psalm. The words are not exactly the same as what we find in the Bible, but they are a paraphrase of that, which makes the metric feet of the poetry work out better. If you don’t know what I mean, don’t worry, and if you do know, don’t feel smug. But in my mind I can hear the Marvelous Men of Mepkin singing Psalm 91, and it puts chills down my spine.

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Sunday
Apr212019

6. - The Enigmatic Jesus

Only faith can authenticate Easter. It is impossible to ascertain it as fact. Trust alone can make it real to us. Whatever ending we choose to give to Easter, it is not the end. We must become committed to something we cannot validate through the normal processes by which we are able to verify other realities.

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Sunday
Apr142019

5. The Triumphant Jesus

During Lent I have been preaching a series of sermons based on the events of Holy Week according to the Gospel of Mark. The first one began with what is known as the “cleansing of the temple.” Mark said this occurred on the day after Palm Sunday, while Matthew and Luke said the temple incident took place immediately after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Whatever may have been the historical fact, we have been following the chronology of Holy Week as Mark recorded it. Today, because this is Palm Sunday, we shall go back to Mark’s telling of the Palm Sunday processional, and then jump forward to part of his account of Jesus with the disciples at the Last Supper.

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