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Video Series: What I’m Thinking

Each week, Pastor Eric Anderson shares just a minute or two of his thoughts on the upcoming week. But the most important part of “What I’m Thinking” is what you’re thinking. Please share your ideas in the comments, and see how they become part of Pastor Eric’s thinking, too!

What I’m Thinking: Clear as Crystal

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When John wrote Revelation, he had to describe what the City of God – what a perfect world – would look like. He made sure to include a river bright as crystal flowing through its center.

So why aren’t all of our rivers as bright as God made them?

Here’s a transcript:

We’re completing our transit through the Season of Creation at Church of the Holy Cross this coming Sunday. It will be River Sunday.

The text is found in the twenty-second chapter of Revelation, and so it’s not a river that currently exists, or that is part of the geography of ancient Israel that we’re thinking about, it’s the river that flows through the City of God. Revelation says that it is as clear as crystal.

Well, that has me thinking about all the rivers of the world that are not clear as crystal.

Where I come from back in Connecticut, we spent literally centuries turning the clear and flowing rivers of that state into industrial waste dumps, such that for years, it was poisonous to drink the water or to eat fish that were caught in the river.

We’ve been much better about that here in Hawai’i, but how many rivers all across this country, all across this world, in fact, have been turned by human activity into something that is considerably less than crystal clear. In this look ahead towards what God’s realm is supposed to be like, we see that it is a natural river that is the one that God is calling for and calling for from us.

So I think that if we want to make this world to be more like the one God intended, well, a good place to start would be cleaning of the rivers.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear about what you’re thinking. Leave your ideas in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #creation, #environment, #river

What I’m Thinking: What is Important?

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My first thoughts are for those struck by so many disaster around the world. I can’t keep them in my head – I couldn’t in recording these thoughts (I omitted the wildfires in the western United States), which makes me say: God, remember those I cannot.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking that it’s a bad week when I can’t even hold in my memory all the places in the world that are suffering so terribly from natural disasters. I’ve lost count of the number of nation in the Caribbean that were affected by Hurricane Irma, there was the earthquake in Mexico, and Houston and other parts of south Texas and Louisiana are still struggling with the impact of Hurricane Harvey. That’s not to mention the typhoon – not the typhoon, but the monsoon – in Bangladesh and other parts of southeast Asia.

I’m thinking of a lot of people, and most of them, I will never ever know their names. May God be with them.

In the lectionary this week, we are on Just Peace Sunday at Church of the Holy Cross, and so we’re in the 14th chapter of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. And in this section of the letter, Paul, who is writing to a group of people for once that he does not know well, is trying to give some advice for the way that a church should function. 

And in this section he makes sure to tell people that it’s OK to disagree, [that] this is not about coercion of opinion. The essentials need to be identified, but other things? Who’s going to eat food or not eat food that has been sacrificed to idols? These things are of less consequence.

Well, in this world, as we really are struggling these days with notions of what is just and what is right in our society: What is essential and what is opinion, that is probably one of the most consequential questions of our day.

And I’ll just say it: that justice for all, that is essential. 

And choosing what is justice for all: that is one of the biggest challenges that we face.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking. So leave your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #justice, #video

What I’m Thinking: Where to Look

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Where can I go to escape you, God? asked the Psalmist. And the answer, of course, is that God is everywhere.

Here’s a transcript:

Well, I think it’s Labor Day week, so I haven’t had quite so much time for production. So we’re a little low intensity in production this week.

This coming Sunday is Land Sunday in the Season of Creation, and we’re looking at Psalm 139. It’s the psalm in which the author, that ancient poet, talks about the places to go to flee from God’s spirit. And that list of places is, well, nowhere. Everywhere one goes, one will find God.

Now part of me wonders why one would want to flee from God, but that’s because the life of faith really is so much about seeking God. And so the where of finding God is pretty simple. You can find God anywhere and you will find God everywhere.

The question, of course, is: Are you looking?

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear about what you’re thinking. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories: What I'm Thinking

What I’m Thinking: Knowledge and Mystery

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It’s the Season of Creation, so we turn from the Revised Common Lectionary to a modified set of readings for September. That brings us to the Book of Acts, where Paul comments on an altar to “an unknown god.”

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking today about the people along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, who have been so terrible battered by Hurricane Harvey: the folks in Houston, and in Rockport, and in I don’t know how many other communities along the shoreline. I’m thinking of you. I’m praying for you, and I’m going to be supporting you with a financial gift through the United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries. I hope others will join me or make their own contributions through agencies that they know do good work in response to disaster.

I’m thinking also about the seventeenth chapter of Acts. At Church of the Holy Cross, we’ll be following the Season of Creation through most of September, and this first Sunday is Forest Sunday.

But the seventeenth chapter of Acts is not set in a forest, it’s set in the city of Athens, where the Apostle Paul tells the Athenians about an altar he has seen: an altar that is dedicated to “an unknown god.” “What you worship as unknown,” he says, “I now proclaim to you as known.”

Well, that is the push and pull of spiritual life, isn’t it? The push of what is known: what we have received and understood about the spiritual realities of the universe, about the love of God, and about God’s work in Creation. And then there are the unknowns, the mysteries, the things that lie beyond what we can immediately perceive.

Both are powerful realities in our life.

That’s what I’m thinking! I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. So please leave your comments in the section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #mystery

What I’m Thinking: Rebels from Way Back

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The idea that faithful people simply do what rulers tell them may be many things, but it isn’t Biblical. At least it isn’t in the first two chapters of Exodus.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking this week about the first and second chapters of the Book of Exodus. Our passage starts with the words that along came a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph, did not remember the person who had been instrumental in preserving the nation of Egypt from a terrible famine. 

Instead, this Pharaoh looks at Joseph’s relatives and descendants and sees a threat. Such a threat to the people that the Pharaoh decided that he was ruling that he actually said to the midwives that they should take the male children born to the Hebrew people and toss them in the river.

Well, the midwives refused to do that, and so the Pharaoh told his other people to do the same, and Moses ends up being preserved from drowning because his mother floats him down the river in a basket, followed along the shore by his sister, until the Pharaoh’s daughter, a member of his own family, finds the child in a basket and decides to take [him] into her own home.

Well, folks, this is a sign that we do not accept the evils of the world, not we who are attempting to follow the Bible. We do not simply let those who are in authority tell us to do evil things. We are institutionally rebels from way, way back.

Whether it be slavery or murder or anything else by which one people oppresses another, we do not accept it. We will resist.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Please leave me your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #authority, #justice, #moses, #video
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