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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: Troublesome Call

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Pastors like to talk about the “call to ministry” – and we really do believe that it’s not just pastors, but everybody – that God calls to ministry. Nevertheless, there are problems…

Here’s a transcript:

I’m still wearing my Pentecost red, although this coming Sunday is Trinity Sunday on the Christian calendar, and I’m thinking about the 6th chapter of Isaiah. It’s the call of Isaiah.

Isaiah, in the temple, has this vision of angels and of God seated there before him. God says, “Who shall I send? Who will go for me?” And Isaiah shouts, “Here I am! Send me!”

Pastors, it must be said – we tend to be obsessed with the idea of “call.” I suppose it’s an occupational hazard. Some years ago, somebody asked me why it was that pastors tend to look at their appointments to different churches as calls, and didn’t this somehow or other set us apart from everybody else?

My reply was that I did, in fact, think that God called people to many kinds of work and occupations – some of them things that we get paid for, some of them things that we do not – and that it was not just ministers or pastors who responded to a divine call.

I will say that my explanation proved unpersuasive in that instance.

You see, the weakness to that explanation is that it does, in fact, imply that those who work in occupations or those who fulfill tasks that our society looks down upon, that we compensate very badly, that these people are somehow or other called to some lesser place than those who are at the top of the socio-economic ladder, or to those who are in positions of leadership and responsibility.

Well, I think that’s a problem with how we measure worth in our society. It is not actually a problem with understanding the summons of God.

But I am also thinking about persons who were summoned out of this life this past week, and I have no doubt that God had nothing to do with the violence that broke out at the high school in Santa Fe, Texas, or at the other high school where one person died and one person was wounded in Georgia. And I do think that our thoughts and prayers must turn to action.

We must, I believe, find a way to live such that we are not constantly prepared to kill one another. We need to lay down our arms.

We also need to raise our sons and our daughters in such a way that they do not respond to disappointments or frustration with violence – with murder.

These are great challenges, but we must act. We must turn our prayers into action.

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

Just another thought for today, and, indeed for, I suspect, some days and weeks ahead: a thought about those who are affected by the lava flow in lower Puna. If you would like to help, I encourage you to visit the United Church of Christ Disaster Response giving page. Donate through Emergency USA. Thank you so much for your prayers and for your action.

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #call, #trinitysunday, #video

What I’m Thinking: Pentecost

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First and foremost, I’m thinking about our neighbors in Puna. They need our help, and they will need it as time goes on.

And I’m also thinking about Pentecost, and all its drama. Strangely, it seems to come down to one thing: God’s help. Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about those who have been driven from their homes by this new eruption from Kilauea: those whose homes are destroyed, those whose homes are still there but they can’t get to them, and those who simply do not know the fate of their homes at this time.

We none of us know exactly what will happen with the course of this eruption. Lava could break out in far more places over the next weeks and months, and we will just have to see how it goes.

I know I appreciate all of your prayers and support from near and from far.

I’m also thinking this week about the second chapter of the book of Acts (Acts 2:1-21). It is Pentecost Sunday this week, so we will be wearing red at Church of the Holy Cross, and we will be celebrating this birthday of the Christian Church.

It’s the purpose of Pentecost, however, that really speaks to me in this week. All of the flames dancing on the apostles’ heads, all of the different languages that they unexpectedly speak, all of that is to serve one single purpose: to let people know that God has come to Earth in order to care for God’s people. It is not condemnation or judgment that comes, but grace.

And so this Sunday, once more we will be calling upon the Holy Spirit to come and aid us.

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

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #compassion, #grace, #Pentecost, #video

What I’m Thinking: True Love

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In the First Letter of John, we hear this striking directive: “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” We have neighbors who will need our truth and action.

Here’s a transcript:

This coming Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday on the Church calendar. The Gospel reading is from John, and we know it as the “I am the good shepherd” passage.

But I must confess that I’m more drawn actually to the reading from First John – the First Letter of John – this week. That very famous declaration, admonition, on John’s part: “Little children, let us love one another, not in word or in speech, but in truth and in action.” 

And this is very much on my heart and in my mind and in my thoughts this week, because of this weekend’s storms that have so dreadfully affected people on Kaua’i and on O’ahu, and I know that our love is going to be tested in the coming weeks and months and possibly even years. As people need help to recover from the devastation they have suffered, we will be called upon to provide at least some of that help.

For now, it’s up to those first and second responders, but as they seek to rebuild their lives, their homes, their businesses, their families, they will need the help of their neighbors: loving in truth and in action.

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

And a schedule note: Pastor Eric will be away for two weeks, and so the next edition of “What I’m Thinking” will be on May 14.


Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #aloha, #Love, #video

What I’m Thinking: Puzzled Witnesses

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Jesus asked his friends to be witnesses to his resurrection – but it must be said, they didn’t understand it. Frankly, I find that a comfort.

Here’s a transcript:

Thank you to all those of you who let me know this past week that you enjoyed the song I shared in last week’s show. If you missed it, well, that’s the magic of YouTube. It’s still there, and you can go back and see it.

This week I’m thinking about Luke’s account of the Resurrection (Luke 24:36b-48): the startling appearance of Jesus to his disciples, and how reluctant they were – much as John tells us, in fact – to accept the good news that he had been raised.

It’s during that encounter with them that Jesus explains how the Scriptures predicted what he would do. And this would have been a set of Scriptures that they would have read but have never associated with the Messiah. Other Scriptures were the ones associated with the life, the work, and the victory of the Messiah, and it was a completely different set that Jesus used to interpret his own life, death, and resurrection.

So what I’m thinking about is how difficult it can be to think of ourselves as capable witnesses, as having a testimony, as having something to say, about something we do not understand. And yet that is exactly where Jesus’ closest friends were in the first hours after his resurrection.

They didn’t understand, and yet they were called upon to testify.

I think that comes as a great relief to us. There is a great deal that I do not understand and would love to understand about life, about faith, about God, about Jesus Christ, and frankly I don’t think I’ll ever know it, at least on this side of the veil.

But there are things I do know. I do know about the way that Christ touches my heart, about the way that Christ leads me through life.

And those are things to which I can testify, even if I do not understand.

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

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

What I’m Thinking: Jesus Christ is Risen!

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I’m still thinking about Easter. Actually, I’m not thinking. I’m singing.

Here’s the transcript (and the lyrics, which may not be the best part of the recording):

Well, I’m still thinking about Easter. This coming Sunday’s gospel lesson is the story of Thomas.

But I’m not really thinking about Easter. Truthfully, I’m singing about Easter, and that’s what I’d like to share with you today, and I hope it does your soul and heart good.


Jesus Christ is risen!
Let the sorrow of yesterday fade.
Yes, Christ is risen!
And the Earth has been re-made.
All the pretensions of power,
All the coercion of fear,
All that greed and wealth have done
Have been cast aside this morning
With the rising of the sun.

They came at night with weapons
And all the power of those who rule.
They came and seized and beat him.
They crowned him with thorns so cruel.
Yet, laid in the grave,
God determined to save,
So the stone must roll aside.
Jesus emerged, the resurrected crucified!


What is our need for weapons
When Jesus is at our side?
Why give our hearts to money
When it could not deprive Christ of life?
All the things we assume,
All that keeps us in gloom,
Roll away as did that stone!
Jesus emerged, and we are never alone!


It looked like every morning
As the sun began to gleam
But it transformed every morning
With the touch of the first sunbeam.
By the power of One
Death’s sting is undone
And the stone can never close
To contain this wonder:
On Easter Christ arose!


That’s what I’m thinking – or at least singing. I’m curious to hear about what you’re thinking. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

“Jesus Christ is Risen” is ©2018 by Eric Anderson.

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #Easter, #music, #video
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