God in a Grape; Spirit in a Sheep

JPerk, Ilustration

Icon of the Unburnt Bush 

By Jim Perkinson, a homily on John 15:1-8 and Acts 8:26-40 preached last Sunday to the beloved community at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit

I begin by thanking four primary ancestors: my own Celtic, Nordic, Saxon, Frankish kin deep in the past before my people became sick with white supremacy; the African Eve of all of our origins whose black folk offspring of Detroit engaged survival efforts and justice demands and creation-in-spite-of that are nothing short of prophetic and wondrous; the Algonquian and Haudenosaunee communities of the Strait who lived by profound dignity and wisdom on the land and waters; and all the non-human denizens of this place themselves, whose continuous gift makes possible the breathing and loving and struggle of all of us sitting here. For all of them: gratitude. And indebtedness to live, worthy. Continue reading

Sermon: When You Find Yourself in Azotas

imagesBy Ric Hudgens
Easter 5, April 29, 2018
North Suburban Mennonite, Libertyville, Illinois

Acts 4:26-40

“But Philip found himself at Azotus.” (Acts 8:40a)

Philip was on the edge of the edge. What I mean is he was a Greek-speaking Jew in an Aramaic-speaking community that (because of their devotion to Jesus) was on the edge of a Jewish culture that existed as a despised, oppressed minority on the periphery of the Roman Empire. It might be more accurate to say that Philip was on the edge of the edge of the edge – of the edge.

Then the Spirit sent Philip into the wilderness. Far out. Over the edge. Continue reading

A Sermon, A Poem, A Prayer? To Speak as Water

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A dam in Pennsylvania. Photo by Erinn Fahey.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
Preached at Day House Detroit Catholic Worker, February 18, 2018

Genesis 9:8-15
1Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:12-15

Who am I?
I am fierce and gentle.
I am life and death.
I am ancient and new.
I am solid and fluid and gas.
I am in you and around you.
I am above you and below you.
I am the snow and the rain,
The creek, the stream,
the river, and the sea. Continue reading

Sermon: Prophet Will Rise Up

metoo

Pedro Fequiere for BuzzFeed

By Michael Boucher
Spiritus Christi, January 28, 2018

The year was 1968.  Almost five hundred women from the feminist and civil rights movements had gathered outside of Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey to protest the Miss America pageant.  The organizers of the protest were opposed to the objectification and mistreatment of women and saw the Miss America pageant as an embodiment of so much that was wrong in our culture.  But they also saw the pageant being linked to other major social ills like racism (no woman of color had been allowed to participate), war (the Miss America winner would go ‘visit the troops’ in Vietnam) and materialism (because of all of the products that women were encouraged to buy to be ‘beautiful’).  So they literally crowned a live sheep Miss America to represent how women were being treated like livestock, threw objects of female oppression – like girdles, curlers and tweezers – into trash cans (no bras were burned, for the record, but women got blamed for it anyway!), they sang songs, and even secretly made their way into the actual Miss America pageant and unfurled a banner from the balcony that read “Freedom for Women”.   Their actions caused quite a stir to say the least. 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

The Sunday Long Read: Dove Songs and Fish Offerings

JonahBy Jim Perkinson, a sermon on Jonah 3:1-5, 10 and Mk 1:14-20, January 21, 2018, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Detroit, MI)

I am not a fish person—which is why I volunteered to preach this Sunday, where the lessons focus on fish, in the stories of Jonah and the whale and of the disciples on the Sea of Galilee called to become “fishers of humans.” To “catch” the significance of the latter, we need to reel in the former carefully. Though not included in the lectionary, the heart of the Jonah story turns on the following verse:

And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (Jon 1:17).

The text is clear. Jonah was saved by a fish. But we need to go slow, since we often read it the other way around—that Jonah was saved from a fish. So in the interests of getting us hooked on the story-line, I want to string out three pieces of bait. Continue reading

Sermon: Becoming my Body

thirdtrimeseter

Third trimester By Julia Jack-Scott

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
Day House, Detroit Catholic Worker, January 14, 2018

Psalm 40:2, 7-10
1 Samuel 3: 3-10, 19
1 Corinthians 6: 13-15, 17-20

I am not a body person. I feel my identity rests in my head and my heart and far too often, I think of my body only as a tool. A means to an end. It helps me get me where I want to go, but it is not….me.

Lately, I’ve been sitting with health fears for loved ones as tests are done to see if there are things growing in their bodies. And I realized the fear that swells up in me. I don’t understand the body. How could something be killing someone I love from the inside without us knowing?

I grew up along Michigan Avenue where, even as a child, cars pulled over or hollered or followed. I learned what it was like to be a woman in this country and to be seen only as a body. And there is outrage in that rises up, for I want to be seen for the workings of my mind and not the shape of my body. Continue reading