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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: Starting with Joy

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According to John, the first sign Jesus performed that revealed who he was and what God intended for him was at the wedding at Cana: turning water into wine. He kept the celebration going. He began his ministry with joy.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the wedding at Cana described in the second chapter of John’s Gospel (John 2:1-12). John calls it the first of Jesus’ “signs,” the first indication of who he was, and what God was about in Jesus’ life and ministry.

Jesus was attending a wedding, and at the feast, they ran out of wine. Jesus’ mother first invited, and later insisted that Jesus do something, and so he changed water into wine.

Now John didn’t have to tell this story. John tells fewer stories in his gospel than any of his contemporaries. He told this one: a story in which Jesus saw that a celebration continue.

John and Jesus both lived in harsh, challenging, difficult times. So do we. And it is well for us to remember that Jesus acted to increase joy.

Jesus always acts to increase joy.

So as we do our work to make a better world, let us recall that the One who walks and works with us increases our joy.

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: #video, #WhatImThinking

What I’m Thinking: Baptized by the Holy Spirit

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Luke’s description of Jesus’ baptism actually begins after the baptism, when Jesus was praying. It’s then that the Holy Spirit comes to him in the form of a dove. For Luke – and for us? – it’s the Holy Spirit that matters.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the baptism of Jesus, as described in the third chapter of Luke’s Gospel (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22).

It’s a fairly short and simple account. It lacks the argument between Jesus and John over who should baptize whom (that you find in the Gospel of John).

But after Jesus had been baptized and was praying, Luke says, the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove, and there was the voice from heaven that said, “You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased.”

The gift of the Holy Spirit, for Luke, was a central and vital reality of the Christian Church. Luke, after all, was the one who went on to tell the story of the early Church in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, and it begins with that Pentecost story, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

So in our life as baptized people, or in our life as newly baptized people, or in our life as people who seek an ongoing baptism of the Holy Spirit, let us constantly seek that presence. Let us constantly seek that power and that energy. Let us constantly seek that direction and that guidance.

Let us constantly seek so that we might hear the words, “This is my beloved Child. In you I am well pleased.”

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: #baptism, #HolySpirit, #video

What I’m Thinking: Following a Star

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The magi – people seeking wisdom – followed a star over great distances to find a promised Messiah. What do we follow? What can we follow to deepen and practice our wisdom?

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the second chapter of Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 2:1-12): the visit of the magi, people who sought after wisdom. They followed a star, a light in the sky, in order to find Jesus, the promised Messiah of God.

I’m thinking about the gifts they brought, the gold, the frankincense, and the myrrh – the coincidence of three gifts is what has led us to think there might have been three magi, though Matthew doesn’t say.

I’m thinking about the fate of those gifts: sold so that the Holy Family could flee to Egypt and escape the anger and the power of King Herod, searching for a rival claimant to his throne.

There are so, so many things in this text. How should we think about those who flee from danger? Can we learn to welcome people? Can we learn, for that matter, to change things to that they do not have to run from their homes in the first place?

And can we learn to look up or out or around or even, I suppose, down, and find something to follow? Some light? Some idea? Some commitment? Some love?

Can we leave our own shells and go out to a strange place and bring gifts? Can we do something, change something, so that someone else can grow and thrive?

As we come to this Epiphany, and as we celebrate a New Year, I wish you all the best. Hau’oli makahiki you! Happy New Year!

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: #light, #video

What I’m Thinking: Blessed Mystery

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For thousands of years, Christians have disagreed about What It All Means – except that we know that God brought us grace through the person of a newborn. And that is precious.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the birth of Jesus over two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, away from the palaces and fortresses of the powerful. I’m thinking about its mystery and about its wonder.

We have spent the last two thousand years discussing, arguing, and sometimes even fighting about What It All Means.

Matthew and Luke: they decided that they need to start with that picture, that image, of God’s salvation working itself out in a small child: in something unregarded, in something common, in something frankly noisy in the night. But for two thousand years, whatever else we have believed, we have known that God’s grace and salvation was working itself out in that small child.

And so I’m thinking about these words, lyrics from “O Little Town of Bethlehem:”

O holy child of Bethlehem,
descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin and enter in;
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
their great glad tidings tell.
So come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel.

“O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Phillips Brooks

God with us.

May God be with you this Christmas, this Christmas season, and throughout the New Year. May God be with you and with all.

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

Merry Christmas! That’s what I’m thinking.

Categories: What I'm Thinking
Tags: #Christmas, #mystery

What I’m Thinking: Real World Reversal

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The Christmas gift is so precious to the spirit, to the heart, that we may forget that it has power for events in the broader world. Mary’s Song reminds us that God’s grace may reverse the places of powerful and powerless, rich and poor.

Here’s a transcript:

It’s tempting to not think this week, because the young people at Church of the Holy Cross have charge of the message this coming Sunday. It’s time for the annual Christmas Pageant, to bring out the shepherds and the angels and all the animals and, of course, the child in the manger.

Nevertheless I am thinking, at least a little bit, this week about the Song of Mary, the Magnificat, found in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel (Luke 1:39-55). This young woman, who was in the midst of such wondrous events, managed to put the words together in a way that has come down over the centuries and continues to echo in our minds and our hearts:

  • About a reversal of the world,
  • About the rich being sent away empty, and
  • About the hungry being filled.

It is so easy to make Christmas into an overly spiritualized observance, to see this child as somehow or other coming to make us feel better. But Mary knew – his mother knew – before he was even born, that God is interested in the hard and the fast, the physical realities of our world. And so it is well to think about the better world that Mary thought.

It is well to think about it, and to work toward seeing it come to be.

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: #reversal, #WhatImThinking
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(The Rev. Ichiro) Sunday 10:00 am (Bdg. of Faith)

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(The Rev. Sunia) Sunday 4:00 pm (Sanctuary)

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