Prayer for the Mind of Christ
God of compassion, grant us humility to seek what we need to bring
us to fullness of life; to recognize in the stranger your spirit at
work. Call us again to compassionate helping in the world you have
created. We pray especially for small denominations inside and outside
of ecumenical structures; for racial and cultural minorities; for
individuals who feel they are not heard and tended to. Enable us to
follow the example of Jesus, to reach out without bias to those who
are needy and searching. Give us the mind of Christ, we pray. Amen.
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Based on Genesis 1 and Psalm 19:
How Scripture Makes us Different
a homily based on Nehemia 8:1-10
by Rev. Tom Hall
Everytime we enter the doors into the church we
must always ask two questions. "What does this Word say to my life?" and
"What do the Scriptures in the lectionary on this day say to this community?"
Preacher Barbara Brown Taylor once described a sermon as "a conversation between a
preacher and a congregation at a particular time in their lives together, informed by
their common worship and reading of Scripture." Part of our worship experience, then,
is to enter into conversation with the biblical texts / the community / and ourselves and
to somehow be different for our coming to church.
Thats the ideal! To have an encounter with the Word and through Scripture to
encounter God. And through that encounter, to be somehow different. To appropriate
Scripture is to leave different-empowered, encouraged, challenged, blessed, or healed. We
preachers would like to think to that every time we approach the pulpit with sermon in
hand, ears are cupped, eyes are fixed, the congregation sitting on the edge of their pews
ready for Gods Word to break beyond the preachers words. But sometimes our
best words about the Word are preempted by yawns, scribbles, or ceiling tile-gazing. How
can we come to church and listen to Scripture in a very different way than we watch
television? Television has trained us to be passive. To be data-gatherers that we neither
need nor can act upon-unless weve been selected as a game show contestant. How can
we leave church today and in place of, "That was interesting," or "Good
sermon, pastor," say instead, "My life will be different because of that
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