Sermon: St. Peter’s is Not for Sale

IMG_1878Sermon by Denise Griebler,
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, November 17, 2019

Isaiah 65:17-25
Malachi 4:1-2a
Luke 21:5-19

May we see like God sees and hope like God hopes.  And may we not be afraid to live by that sight and that love in the meantime. Amen.

These scripture passages each get us thinking about the end. Nothing like beginning with the end.  But since we are dealing with these readings so rooted in apocalypse, maybe we are on the right track.

Imagine this community, this city, this country, this world that is going to pieces in so many places – whether by poverty or war or climate reckoning – and hear the words of Isaiah again: “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the holy city as a joy and a place where I will rejoice in my people the way they take care of each other – no more inconsolable weeping, no body in distress, babies get to live and old people get to  live our their days.  People enjoy the fruits of their labor, have homes to live in, food to eat.  Predators will cease terrorizing of the vulnerable and they will eat side by side. Healing and peace will come to the whole community. Continue reading

Sermon: Gathered Body

footprintsBy Rev. Denise Griebler at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
January 27, 2019

Epiphany 3C    Annual Meeting Sunday

Luke 4:13-21, 1 Corinthians 12-20

Get comfortable in your body – best you can – as we begin – feet grounded – sit on  your bottom and let your back be straight but relaxed and just breathe – sometimes that’s enough! – you don’t have to do or think anything right now – just be here – relax your shoulders – relax your jaw – relax your cheeks and your eyebrows – and just keep breathing – enjoy being in your body as it is  – and staying relaxed and present, notice the people who are around you. Breathing.  Here. Continue reading

Sermon for First Week of Advent

Advent 1

First week of Advent. Bio-regional wreath by Sarah Holst

By Rev. Denise Griebler
St. Peter’s Episcopal
Dec. 2, 2018
Advent 1C & Homecoming

An earthquake in Alaska, fires in California, hurricanes, flooding, draught, the wars – especially the war in Yemen – refugees at the border, people living under constant threat of deportation or eviction or water shut-off or exorbitant rent increases and more auto plants being shut down. The Rev. Karen Kerrigan (who was just ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest here at St. Peter’s) observed that we don’t even need to read the gospel this week – we could just read the newspaper! Continue reading

Sermon: As One Who Was There

25299574_10214858114229862_8841640536640516071_o.jpgBy Rev. Denise Griebler
1st UCC Richmond, Michigan
January 28, 2018

Mark 1:21-28
Psalm 111

Well, I will tell you this: I went to worship that evening with the usual expectations – which is to say, I wasn’t expecting anything unusual.  It was just after sunset – which is when we worship. By our way of thinking, sundown is the beginning of the new day – a time to rest in God’s presence – a time to rest in the company of family and friends and neighbors. Continue reading

Strange Liberators

DeniseDay 12 of our Lenten Journey through Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954—in 1945 rather—after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China—for whom the Vietnamese have no great love—but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.
By Rev. Denise Griebler (photo above), the pastor of First United Church of Christ in Richmond, Michigan

We do not tell the truth about ourselves.   No wonder we and others are confused. Perhaps we have refused the long look in the mirror for so long that we simply do not know. But I think it is also true that we do not want to know.

Listen. Begin with the genocide. Indigenous people, communities and cultures crushed by colonial greed and settler-culture that took whatever it wanted with the twisted and absurd notion that this was all preordained, a manifest destiny set forth by a false-god in their image. Listen.   You can hear the sounds of an economy built on enslaving human beings and extracting their labor with the blessing of this false-god. Listen, as the ever-expanding economy gobbles up land and with it the gifts below the surface of land, waters, species, human life and labor and leaves in its aftermath spoiled land, air and water. They say a sound goes on forever. Listen. The cries of the indigenous and enslaved people and of the earth, our Mother, can be heard. Continue reading

Sermon 4th Sunday Advent: Joseph’s Yes

joseph.jpg Written and preached by Denise Griebler

Matthew 1:18-25
Isaiah 7:10-17

So Mary and Joseph are engaged.

To get to an engagement – there’s been, well, engagement. Mary and Joseph have been engaging with one another. They’ve been engaging each other’s families. There have been a long series of yeses.

But it’s not a straight line. It rarely is.

Matthew is so sparse in his description of events that it’s difficult for brain and heart not to search out Luke’s account and collapse the two. It’s not good exegetical form to do this. But I’m afraid my heart cannot resist the temptation. In the passage that comes just before this one we get a long list of fathers and sons (with a few interesting mothers thrown in the mix – Tamar the prostitute, Rahab the spy, Ruth the immigrant – outsiders, upstarts, all outrageous and unexpected) – and then at this long list of sons begat by fathers, comes the promise of a child, who will be God with us, God’s own and Mary’s. Continue reading

The Woman with an Issue of Blood

clayBy Denise Griebler. Part of a continuing series on badass women in the bible.

“If I could but touch the hem of his garment.
If I could but touch a part of his robe
I know I’d be healed, my sins all forgiven.
If I could but touch him I know I’d be whole.”
– the chorus of a gospel song by Rev. George A Rice

Matthew 9:18-25; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:41-56

The story goes that while Jesus was walking through a crowd, she touched him and was restored to herself.  Imagine that gutsy move.

She’d been hemorrhaging for twelve years.  Her search for a cure had bled her of everything she had and after all that, her condition was worse not better.  Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza says through this woman we glimpse of  the impoverishment of the permanently ill.  And she didn’t just suffer an incurable illness, but she was also permanently unclean and impure.  Whomever she touched would also be made unclean.  Imagine 12 years of untouched isolation. Continue reading