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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: Faith like a Mountain

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We think of mountains as grand, solid, impervious, and we yearn for a faith like that. Volcanic mountains, however, erupt with both creation and destruction. And tall mountains, like Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, reaching over 13,000 feet into the atmosphere, are harsh places indeed. These provide another metaphor for faith.

Here’s a transcript:

The Season of Creation ends this coming week with Mountain Sunday – or in Hawaiian, Mauna Sunday. The Old Testament reading is found in Isaiah 65 (Isaiah 65:17-25), the vision of the peaceable realm of God, founded on Mount Zion. “None shall hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain.”

In Hawai’i, we live with a more precarious relationship with our mauna, with our mountains. Kilauea, Mauna Loa, both are active volcanoes, and indeed Kilauea has sent hundreds of people fleeing from their homes with this summer’s eruption.

And indeed, high up the slopes of Mauna Loa or Mauna Kea one finds an environment that is, in fact, quite harsh. It’s difficult to breathe up at the top of Mauna Kea, even though the view is stunning.

The epistle reading, from Romans 8 (Romans 8:28-39), is one that has seized my imagination and has seized my heart and has founded my faith for decades. This is the place where the Apostle Paul declares that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. And to me, that declaration of faith is as great a mountain to climb as Mauna Kea. Thirteen thousand plus feet of faith, of declaration of God’s love in the face of what is often a very harsh and uncompromising world.

So I do, in fact, look to the future for that holy mountain. But I look to the present for the signs of the ever-present love of God, from which I can not and you can not be separated by all the harshness, by all the sins, by all the evils, and by all the losses and misfortunes of the world.

Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

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: #creation, #faith, #mountain, #video

What I’m Thinking: More Than We Know

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I’m not actually thinking things that are more than we know. I’m thinking that there is more that we don’t know than what we do know.

Here’s a transcript:

We’re continuing with the Season of Creation this coming week. This Sunday is Sky Sunday, and it brings us both the heights and also, I suppose, the depths of Creation and our relationship with it.

In the fourth chapter of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 4:23-28) we find the prophet in an exceptionally bad mood, even for that moody prophet. The heavens are signs of disaster and of collapse. 

In Psalm 19, however, in the first six verses (Psalm 19:1-6), we have that text that is so favored of musicians and choral composers over the years. “The heavens are telling the glory of God.”

And indeed, the heavens do tell of God’s glory. Yet mysteries remain. In fact, each new question that we answer seems to raise questions anew for those scientists who explore the cosmos.

And it is also certain that trials and sufferings and the sin of humanity: we see those written also in the sky with the death of stars and with the fading of the light.

All of this, I think, suggests that there are still many things that are beyond us, beyond us in humanity, and we are summoned once more to a humility that, honestly, is in short supply amongst human beings. We are summoned to – reminded of – our limitations, our finitude in a much, much greater universe.

We are reminded also, I think, of the infinite of God. And the greatest infinite of our God is: God’s love.

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: #humility, #video, #WhatImThinking

What I’m Thinking: Dominion

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In Genesis 1, God gives the newly created human beings (male and female) dominion over the rest of the created order. Yet God had already engaged in partnership with earth, water, and sky when creating living beings earlier. What if we engaged in “dominion” as God does? In partnership?

Here’s a transcript:

It’s the second Sunday in the Season of Creation this coming week, so I am thinking about humanity, the creation of humanity as described in the first chapter of Genesis (Genesis 1:26-28).

It’s not a long passage, but three very important things happen. First, we’re told that God created humanity in God’s own image, “male and female” God created them. Second, God addresses human beings directly, which has not happened in the rest of the Creation account. And God gives “dominion” over the other parts of Creation to these newly formed human beings.

It’s that last part that intrigues me: Dominion. It is undeniable that we as human beings have an inordinate ability to affect this planet, an ability, in fact, to make it unlivable if we were so to choose. And even without choosing, we are well on our way to making larger and larger parts of it unlivable.

But we do not have to do that. The example is right there in the earlier portions of Genesis, where God became a partner in Creation with the Earth itself: calling forth from the Earth the plants, calling forth from the Earth the animals. Human beings could also be partners with the other parts of the created order.

Would that we would do so. Oh, what a joyful world it could be.

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: #creation, #partnership, #video

What I’m Thinking: Yes, It’s Good

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It’s the Season of Creation at Church of the Holy Cross, beginning with Genesis 1, and its familiar refrain: “And God saw that it was good.” After weeks of volcanic destruction and four feet of rain from Hurricane Lane, I still affirm: It is good.

Here’s a transcript:

At Church of the Holy Cross, we will be spending September in the Season of Creation, so I’m thinking about Earth Sunday – Planet Earth Sunday – and the first chapter of Genesis.

We get that marvelous old story about God’s serial creation of the planet Earth, its different components taking shape out of the chaos that had come before, and at the end of each day, God looking at what had been made and saying that it is good.

Here in Hawai’i, we have had a lot of experience in recent weeks of Creation being also very destructive, with several weeks of a volcanic eruption sending people fleeing from their homes, and destroying some of the most beautiful places on our island. And then just last week, we had a visit from Hurricane Lane, which left in some cases four feet of rain.

We know about the destruction that comes with creation.

Yet I am persuaded of that truth of that refrain in Genesis 1. And God said that it was good and God said that it was good and God said that it was good and God said that it was very good.

This Creation in which we live is such a rich and welcoming home for us, and I can only offer God my thanks and praise for the privilege to live in such a place of wonders.

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!

Please also consider visiting ucc.org/disaster and giving through the Emergency USA Fund to assist those affected by Hurricane Lane on Hawai’i and Maui. Mahalo nui loa!

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #creation, #destruction, #good, #video

What I’m Thinking: Not So Easy Jesus

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There is a moment in the Gospel of John when, suddenly, Jesus loses followers – and I’m not talking about the night of his arrest and trial. Is it supposed to be easy to follow Jesus – or hard?

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. Just a few weeks ago, we were reading in that chapter, and Jesus announced that he was the “Bread of Life.” Those words have come as great comfort and support to Christians in the centuries since.

At the time, however, the response was, shall we say, more mixed. While some of Jesus’ followers told him that he had the words of life, others left him. This is the only part of the Gospel that I can think of (other than Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion) where we’re told about disciples that actually fell away.

Well, it’s made me wonder: Is Christianity just a little bit too easy?

Do we, or do we not, establish high standards, not just for doctrine, but also for behavior? Do we create a beloved and loving community, or do we say we do?

Well, some of Jesus’ followers found his words too much. Others found that he had the words of life.

Which is it for us?

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear 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
Tags: #discipleship, #video, #WhatImThinking
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