From Winter to Spring 2015

From Winter to Spring 2015

From Winter to Spring: Reading from Psalm 22: 25-31 I know this is a risky title for a sermon in Cleveland, even in May. I had to keep my eye on the weather forecast in case I had to change the title or explain it away. Spring came seemingly within a couple of days: first crocus, then daffodils, then tulips, then forsythia, magnolias and fruit trees and Lilacs! This sermon is like that: signs of spring, but all over the place. I’m sorry it is not as straightforward and linear as you are used to. Let me ask: do we experience each other differently in winter than we do in spring? What lens should we use to look at the world? What perspective can we have? Pastor Roger Osgood’s quote from the Resurrection story in John’s Gospel vibrates in my memory: “On the first day of the week, while it was still dark…” resonates with me still, although Roger preached these words on Easter, giving us hope that while the news is dismal and dark like winter often is, there is the hope and joy of resurrection. We always think that our times are the worst and darkest times, but that of course is not true. The Gospels give plenty of hints at the turmoil and unrest of those New Testament days.   It was still plenty dark. Even AFTER the resurrection, the followers of Jesus were keeping the doors and windows locked. And this is still the Easter season. Let me tell you a true story: On my morning walk up Chadbourne Road in Shaker Heights just before dawn on April 29, 2015 (last Wednesday), I chanced to see two mallard ducks, a male and a female, walking up someone’s lawn toward his or her house! Although I have seen everything on my morning walks from skunks and raccoons to deer and even a coyote and a fox one day, I had never seen a pair of ducks. And in my mind, I imagined the female saying to the male: “Where are you taking me? Where the heck is the water? You DO know, I’m a duck, right? Do you think I fell in love with you because of your pretty feathers? I’m supposed to be swimming, NOT hiking!” And I imagined the male’s reply: “Relax, honey! After the sun rises and we take to the air, you’ll not only see the lakes in Shaker, you’ll also see that GREAT lake out there, and it will bring tears to your eyes. But THIS is a perfect place to nest—not crowded, off the beaten path, and landscaped just how we like it!). This is such a good story. I’ve thought...

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Spring Prayer 2014

Spring Prayer 2014

 Dear God, in our part of the country, spring comes with a lot of expectations.  After a winter like the one just past, we expect spring to be warm, and SUNNY, rejuvenating and beautiful.   We want to work the soil and clean the house and get the road salt residue off of our cars.  It can be a terrible disappointment to find spring a muddy mess, with dreary days and chilly temperatures and snow still in the forecast.  But we are just the same, aren’t we?  With all of our gifts and education and contacts, we often stand before you a muddy mess.  And so we take great consolation from reading the Scriptures that seem to indicate that you love muddy messes.  As a mother embraces a child who comes home bruised and dirty and crying, so you embrace us with all of our rumpled baggage, and give us much hope that the sun will soon peak through the clouds, the crocuses will bloom, the birds build their nests and—bolstered by your creative power—the world will move an inch closer to goodness.  This is our prayer, as we join you in that creative endeavor today. ...

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