9/9/18 – Fearless Sunday

Posted on : Sep 6th, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Through the national ProgressiveChristianity.org network, I’ve proposed a new, annual event for churches of all kinds:  Fearless Sunday, the second Sunday of September.  Your church will experience the launch of this new tradition on Sept. 9!

Progressive churches are about deeds more than creeds.  We start with the assumption that Christianity is much more about how we behave toward each other than it is about what we say we believe. The start of the “program year” is a good time for parishioners and preachers to share boldly their truths about the ways that their theological and social perspectives have changed.  It is a time for preachers to “out” themselves on matters of doctrine and practice, share the ways they have evolved spiritually, and to invite their listeners to do the same.  Doing so will accelerate the shift from a Christianity focused on belief to a faith focused on spiritual and social practice.

To prepare for Fearless Sunday, I suggest engaging in mindful contemplative prayer.  In words attributed to St. Augustine, to know yourself fully is to know God.  So take time in silence to observe your fears. By facing your fears directly, your relationship to them will change.  This will enable you to examine fearlessly your assumptions and beliefs – such as they are.  God, who is Love, will guide you to know and share the truth about what really is on your heart and mind – and what is not.  In my sermon on 9/9, I will share a bit about the ways my own religious perspectives have changed, and get a conversation going with you about how yours have evolved.  See you then!

Rev. Jim Burklo, UCC pastor – Sr Associate Dean of Religious Life, USC – website: http://mindfulchristianity.org – blog:  MUSINGS

Mark 9: 14 – 29

When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.”

Jesus answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.”

Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand.

When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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