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Hilton Head Plantation
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

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Sunday
Dec302018

Ascribing God

In the Genesis account of creation, it is God who is ascribed to be the Creator. When Abraham left the city of Ur in the land of Mesopotamia and ultimately went to the land of Canaan, God is the one the Hebrews ascribed to inspire Abraham to make that courageous journey. When the very elderly Abraham and his wife Sarah became parents of a son, the Bible gives the ascription for that birth to God. When baby Moses was rescued from the Nile River by the Pharaoh’s daughter, that highly unlikely occurrence was ascribed to the intervention of God. When the Red Sea parted, when Joshua and the Israelites conquered Canaan, when Gideon led the Israelites to defeat the Midianites, these occurrences were ascribed to God. The Israelites had no doubt God was the cause of all these things, and therefore they ascribed them to God.

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Sunday
Dec022018

Christmas Songs: The Song of Gabriel

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The word “Advent” is taken from a Latin root which means “Coming.” During Advent, which always begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and includes however many days there are in the actual week preceding Christmas Day, we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. And so to be forewarned is to be forearmed: these “Christmas Song sermons” will be expository. That is, their essence will be an exposition of the verses upon which they are based. Not much more, and not much less. So, as they say in the Boy Scouts, Be Prepared.

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Sunday
Nov182018

The Ownership of All things

It seemed like an innocent enough question. There was a man in a large crowd who had come out to listen to Jesus speaking. “Rabbi, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.” Apparently the brother wanted either to keep all of the inheritance for himself or not to have their inheritance divided up at that particular time. We may deduce from this question that “the brother” had to be older than the man asking the question, because only the oldest son could delay the division of an inheritance, should he choose to do so. Most oldest brothers probably would not want to do that, because there normally would be no reason to prolong the distribution. Probably the greedy sibling wanted to keep the whole bundle for himself; Luke didn’t explain it.

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Sunday
Nov042018

Jesus and the Dispossessed

Jesus had a special affinity for the dispossessed. Perhaps it is because he was born dispossessed. If the Christmas stories in Matthew and Luke are accurate, especially Matthew, Mary gave birth to Jesus in very trying circumstances. “There was room no in the inn,” Luke tells us. Thus Mary birthed Jesus when she and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem in the only available space for the holy family, a stable. Because King Herod wanted no usurper to seize his throne from him, he ordered all the male babies born in and around Bethlehem to be killed. Therefore Joseph and Mary left everything they owned back in Nazareth and fled to Egypt as political refugees, says Matthew. Thus Jesus always had an affinity for refugees, because he was born one.

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Sunday
Oct282018

Jesus and the Disadvantaged

Presumably Jesus of Nazareth was a poor man. We cannot know that for certain, but we may properly deduce it from those among whom Jesus spent most of his time in his three-year ministry in the Galilee. Only one verse in one Gospel indicates what Jesus’ occupation was. Mark 6:3 has a crowd in Jesus’ home synagogue say this about Jesus: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” Whether carpenters were generally poor in the time of Jesus is debatable, but most Church traditions have always assumed Jesus was poor. Apparently Jesus’ neighbors in Nazareth thought he was much too uppity as a poor man to be talking to them about anything.

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