The Recorder – Editorial: Wisdom from the Pulpit
Published: 08/21/2022 21:26:47
Modified: 08/21/2022 21:23:14
Today, as in the past, some of our brightest minds speak from the pulpit, offering both theological and secular insights. The region’s faith leaders offer insights that transcend charts, graphs, maps, data points and social media. Next, we continue our biannual compilation of wisdom from recent columns in the Faith Matters series on Saturday’s Religion page.
From the Reverend Jason Burns, Deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Mass. “Dare I say that most people claim a sense of spirituality, but not a religion? I guess I dare say it, since I just did. I completely understand the idea that someone can feel drawn to spirituality but derive little benefit from becoming attached to a religious institution. However, I would also say that just claiming to be spiritual does not make it so. Feeling the spiritual is not the same as engaging with it. (January 8, 2022)
From the Reverend Dr. Lloyd E. Parrill (Retired): “I am excited to hear what the James Webb Space Telescope will teach us about the universe and also about ourselves. I am in awe of the universe and in awe of the life that has evolved on this planet. I believe that all of life is interdependent on a level that we can’t even begin to comprehend. The sooner we realize this and live it, the better. (February 19, 2022)
From the Rev. Dr. Megan E. Leary, Central Congregational Church of Orange: “That’s what sin really is: self-centered thinking that doesn’t allow us to think or look beyond ourselves. Whether it’s gossip, lies, or even Sabbath-breaking, the root of turning away from God is usually found in too deep an inward turn. Sin occurs when we turn our attention away from God and instead turn it towards ourselves. Sin begins when we make ourselves the center of our own universe. (February 26, 2022)
From the Reverend James Koyama, First Congregational Church of Montague: “Living with the reality that there is so much violence in the world, it is sometimes difficult to keep in mind that there is, in fact, a reality that can exist and exists, where families do not tear each other apart and where diverse people can live together in peace and prosperity. But the existence of this most beautiful place depends on the presence of people who are firmly committed to being rooted in loving kindness, justice and humility no matter what (March 12, 2022)
From the Rev. Dr. Candi Ashenden, Athol Congregational Church: “How do you see yourself? Psalm 139 assures each of us that we are “awefully and wonderfully made.” God created you and me as we are. So every morning when you get out of bed, remember, “I am precious! I am created by hand by God.’ Each of us – without a facelift, without weight loss, without doing more “good works” in the world – is enough. You’re good enough!” (June 11, 2022)
From Pastor Brett Sherwood, Faith Church: “’Peter asked, ‘Lord, how many times must I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times, answered Jesus, but seventy times seven.’ Jesus challenges Peter to expand his capacity for forgiveness by counting how many times he exercises it. This practice will engage the behavior in Peter’s character and make forgiveness part of his identity. (June 25, 2022)
From Barry Deitz, Bernardston Unitarian Church: “But here’s the thing: there’s no little lights. Even the smallest speck on the shore can guide a ship to a safe harbor. Each glow in the night sky travels millions of miles to be seen. You carry a light, and it’s not for lighting your path. The light you carry is for that person out there in the dark, who may only have what you shine to help them find their way. (July 2, 2022)
From the Reverend Linda Rhinehart Neas, Interfaith Minister: “What if I didn’t stop to help? Others might take over… However, I might miss the opportunity to connect with others, to see the joy on their faces, to feel the warmth of friendship filling my heart. (July 9, 2022)
From Reverend Vicki Ix, St. John’s Episcopal Church: “After 10 years in a monastery, I thought I understood the holiness of ora and labora — work and prayer. It was only now, living the events of our time, that I discovered God hidden in plain sight in our laundry room and on the back deck. I am less interested in prayer techniques and more awake to the Abiding Presence in the simple little things – the places where we put our love each day. (July 23, 2022)
From Pastor Michael Grant, Moore’s Corner Church: “If there’s one thing modern churches and ministers agree on, it’s the statement in 1 John 4:8 that says, ‘God is love.’ Some go even further. I passed by a church and the sign in front said: “God is love”. PERIOD.’ OK, but whatever the view, we should be able to agree that this new idea that God no longer has anger or wrath is not in line with mainstream Christianity or the life and ministry of Jesus… Christianity has taught the existence of hell for one simple reason – because Christ taught it.