Still Speaking

July 11, 2016: Love is our only hope

Posted on : Jul 12th, 2016 | By | Category: Still Speaking

This week’s Still Speaking Devotional is written by Rev. Traci Blackmon. Traci is our Acting Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries with the national (General Synod) setting of our United Church of Christ. Before assuming that role, Traci was the pastor of a local church in a town adjacent to Ferguson, Missouri.

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April 20, 2015: Pizza as Communion?

Posted on : Apr 20th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

A friend of mine, using a play on words with another term for Communion, jokes that we Christians today, instead of celebrating “the Lord’s supper” celebrate “the Lord’s snack.” What he’s referring to is that we take such small pieces of the bread – whether it’s cut-up cubes, communion wafers or pieces torn off a loaf – that it’s more like a snack than a supper.

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April 14, 2015: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Posted on : Apr 14th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

Now on that same day [Easter day] two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. Luke 20: 13-16

As we journey through the season of Easter – the time in our lives when we are invited to really think about what resurrection means for us and our faith – I am reminded that “appearances can be deceiving.”

One of the great “Easter stories” is found in the Gospel of Luke. It’s the story about the Risen Christ appearing to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

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March 25, 2015: Grown-Ups Who Turn on Each Other Are Scary

Posted on : Mar 26th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. It’s a joyous, fun, festive day. A lot of churches, our included, will be giving worshippers Palm branches. Some churches give out long, thin palm branches. We use wider branches which are more like “mini-palm fronds.”

Lillian Daniel’s church obviously used the long thin branches, which is risky, especially when given to kids. The ensuing chaos during the children’s sermon is a perfect example of what happened on that fist Palm Sunday and why one needs to be very careful when doing “children’s sermons.” Yet amid the chaos, there is a good message in this (which is what Palm Sunday is all about) –enjoy!

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March 17, 2015: Has God Forgotten You?

Posted on : Mar 19th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

And the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him. ~ Mark 1: 13.

Four weeks ago we began the season of Lent focusing on the often overlooked words of insight found in Mark’s Gospel. They are so simple they are seldom noticed: “While Jesus was in the midst of his own wilderness experience, angels ministered to him.”

Just about everyone notices that in this wilderness experience Jesus is tempted by Satan (or “the devil” or confronted with the power and lure of “evil”) but few of us ever catch that in the midst of this stress and suffering, angels are also present – ministering to Jesus.

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March 10, 2015: Do You Need a Junk Drawer?

Posted on : Mar 10th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

ent is a time to spiritually clean out the old and make space for the new.

I’ve noticed in my life, it is very difficult to “clean out the old.” Stuff has a way of accumulating and taking over all my space. Cleaning it out takes time; more time actually than it took to pile the junk in the first place.

However, the reality is that there are limits as to how much junk we can accumulate. If we hang on to too much stuff, we soon run out of room. If we want space to live, sometimes we have to make that space. We have to clean out the old to make room for the new.

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February 24, 2015: I wish I could pray.

Posted on : Feb 24th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

In 1984 Chris Glaser, the founding director of the Lazarus Project and Parish Coordinator of our church wrote “Prayers for Lent.” In 1988 he revised it and offered it as “a gift to members and friends of the West Hollywood Presbyterian Church.”

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February 18, 2015: Betting On God – Where would you place your $$

Posted on : Feb 18th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

Today is the first day in the Season of Lent. Most Christians associate Lent with childhood practices of giving up something – usually something frivolous or fattening – in an effort to help us better relate to the suffering of Jesus. Thankfully, the meaning of Lent is far from that.

The suffering Jesus experiences in the desert isn’t about giving up chocolate, meat on Fridays, cussing, drinking or smoking. The suffering Jesus experiences is about accepting who he was as a “beloved child of God,” and whose “Way” he was going to follow: his culture’s, his religion’s, or something new and radically different, God’s way of compassion and justice.

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February 10, 2015: What Islam is and isn’t

Posted on : Feb 10th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

“Then you will know the truth; and the truth will set [or make] you free.” John 8:32.

Last Sunday we had a wonderful experience as we got to meet and hear Narma Ali. Narma is the Muslim Chaplain at UCLA Medical Center and a friend of mine. She is a Muslim woman who is filled with grace, wisdom and love. She is deeply spiritual and has a very unique role as a woman Muslim chaplain.

In just 45 minutes she opened us to what Islam really is and isn’t. In that light, she suggested three books for those who want to continue learning more. They are:

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February 3, 2015: What Language Does God Pray In?

Posted on : Feb 5th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

What language does God pray in? Some of my Spanish speaking friends have told me numerous times that Spanish is the language of prayer. I know when they say this, they are only half kidding. Obviously, the woman who dropped in on our UCC “Hispanic Heritage Worship Celebration” at our denominational headquarters in Cleveland, OH, didn’t think so!

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