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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: Not Alone

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Jesus wasn’t well received in his home town of Nazareth. He was amazed by their unbelief. It prompted him to greater activity, not less: he dispatched his closest friends to teach, to heal, and to build up the Realm of God.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the sixth chapter of Mark (Mark 6:1-13), in which Jesus visits his home town of Nazareth.

It didn’t go terribly well. People didn’t believe in him. They believed in the youth and the young man that he  had been. And so it says that Jesus was amazed at their unbelief, and he was only able to heal a few people.

What fascinates me is that after that, Jesus sends out his disciples to the other towns and villages of Galilee, to spread the good news but also to spread the power of the Reign of God, telling them to preach, to teach, and to heal and to cast out demons.

What one was not able to do in Nazareth, Jesus sends out twelve to do in towns all over the area.

That, I think, is the message for us. It won’t take one. It won’t take two. It won’t take even a dozen. It will take far more to bring the healing that we need: we as individuals, we as families, we as communities, we as a nation, we as a world.

One town’s unbelief: that’s quite something. But it is not enough to prevent the faith, the energy, and the action of many from bringing the Realm of God.

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.

You can support those affected by the current eruption in Puna by donating through our church or online through the United Church of Christ’s Emergency USA.

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #community, #team, #together, #video

What I’m Thinking: Beyond Expectation

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Twice in Mark 5:21-43, Jesus heals when people think he can’t. A woman touches him in a crowd – and she’s healed. A child who has died rises again to life.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the fifth chapter of Mark (Mark 5:21-43), today, in which a woman found healing beyond expectation simply by reaching out and touching Jesus as he passed by. Her faith made her well, he said.

And about how Jairus’ daughter was raised, despite the fact that people had said, don’t bother the Teacher any longer, for she has died. Beyond hope or expectation, Jesus called her back to life and family and home.

We have demanded much of God, of our government, of one another. There is more to demand. We must persist:

Persist in insisting that reunifying families is not sufficient if they are going to be imprisoned.

We must insist that those who have lost homes to the volcano in Puna must receive all the help that we can give, and not just what we think might be enough.

And we cannot stop with those who’ve lost their homes due to a natural disaster. We must also find places so that those who were already homeless may have a roof, and security, and a place they can call home.

Beyond expectation and beyond anticipation, Jesus healed. Let us, as Jesus’ disciples, do the same.

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.

You can support those affected by the current eruption in Puna by donating through our church or online through the United Church of Christ’s Emergency USA.

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #expectation, #healing, #video, #WhatImThinking

What I’m Thinking: In the Storm

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First: I utterly condemn this administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border. It is unjust, unjustifiable, and cruel. So I seek comfort in the story of Jesus, who calmed the storm.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking first about the children who are being separated from their parents at the United States border because of an unjust, an unjustifiable, and a simply cruel policy of this administration. I am not misled by the lies. There is no need.

And even if there were a “need” – “needs” which result in such cruelty are simply unconscionable. The ends do not justify the means. They never have, and they never will.

And those who say, “We are simply following the law,” might do well to remember that this defense was advanced at trials in Nuremberg, where it was dismissed as the shallow shell, aping righteousness, that it is.

I am finding some reassurance in the fourth chapter of Mark this week (Mark 4:35-41). It’s the story of Jesus asleep in the boat during a storm. His disciples finally wake him, and he calms the sea. Afterwards, his disciples ask who this is, that the winds and the waves obey him?

Truthfully, I feel like we are in the midst of a storm in this nation, a storm which sets this fragile shell of our democracy at great risk. We could founder. We could go down. 

We must wake the Christ. Wake the Christ who is above and around us, but also wake the Christ who is within us. And somehow or other, manage to keep this fragile boat of ours on an even keel the best we can until the day the storm subsides by the grace of God.

May that day come soon.

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
Tags: #children, #justice, #WhatImThinking

What I’m Thinking: Hidden Growth

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Two of Jesus’ parables describe mysterious or surprising growth. Could it be that that is the most important growth of all?

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the fourth chapter of Mark today (Mark 4:26-34). In it, Jesus told two parables of growth: the growth of the seeds in a farmer’s field, which sprout and bear fruit of themselves, and no one knows quite how or why.

The other parable about the mustard seed: the tiny seed that bears no hint, in and of itself, of the great bush that will spring forth from it.

Mark adds that Jesus told parables to those that he met, and then explained them in private to his disciples: more growth happening out of sight, away from common view.

That, I hope, is where growth is happening: where I can’t see it, where you, perhaps, can’t see it.

Within you, within me, within those around us.

This hidden growth that builds up our communities, deepens our relationships, brings us closer, I think, to God.

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.

You can support those affected by the current eruption in Puna by donating through our church or online through the United Church of Christ’s Emergency USA.

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

What I’m Thinking: A Leader Isn’t Enough

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The people of Israel told Samuel that they wanted a king – they wanted solid, dependable leadership. They didn’t get it. But even if they had, is leadership enough?

Here’s a transcript.

I’m thinking about the eighth chapter of First Samuel today (1 Samuel 8:4-11 (12-15), 16-20; 11:14-15), in which the people of Israel demanded a monarch, a king just like the other nations around them.

Samuel warned – God warned – that there are consequences to such a thing. Kings make demands: taxes, soldiers, servants for their courts.

But the people insisted they wanted a leader. If there was just the right leader everything would be fine.

Well, we haven’t been looking – I guess – for a monarch in these days, but I can certainly tell you we still look for a lot of leaders. We look for leaders in the church: “Once we have our new pastor, everything will be fine!” We look for leaders in the county, or the state, or the nation: “Once we’ve got our new president, everything will be fine!”

But presidents and governors and even pastors make demands.

And it has to be said, as important as leaders are, their work is to coordinate the good work of others. Don’t get me wrong: it’s an indispensable part of things. We’re currently trying to organize so that we can help provide meals for those who’ve evacuated down in Pahoa. 

But still, it’s the individuals who will show up, and set the food out, and make sure there’s a plate for everybody, and give that smile that says, “you are care for” – those people make far more difference in the short run and the long run than the most skilled of the leaders who’ll make sure they’re there.

Both are important. But it’s not just the leader that we need.

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.

You can support those affected by the current eruption in Puna by donating through our church or online through the United Church of Christ’s Emergency USA.

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #leadership, #work
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