NOV 22, 2015, CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY, RCL YEAR B

The Way of the Cross Is the Way of Life and Peace

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Lections:  1 Sam 8:4-20; Dan 7:13-14; Rev 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37

No doubt the world has seen enough of kings, and still we find them fascinating.  And why not? They will be with us for as long as we read Shakespeare, re-tell the history of King Arthur, and pray the prayer of our Lord, even when they no longer divide the territory of the world among warring factions and along shifting boundaries. Scripture records in the 8th chapter of the First Book of Samuel why Israel demanded a king: the people had been ruled by judges, but the sons of Samuel “didn’t follow in his footsteps. They tried to turn a profit, they accepted bribes, and they perverted justice.” So the elders wanted “a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” This idea seemed very bad to Samuel, but the Lord said, “Comply with the people’s request,” because they are rejecting me, as they have always done, “but give them a clear warning, telling them how the king will rule over them.”   Continue reading

NOV 15, 2015, TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, RCL YEAR B

 

MARK | PART 10:  THE BEGINNING OF BIRTH PAINS

A SERMON BY PASTOR CHICO MARTIN

Lections Heb 10:1, 5-7, 11-18; Mark 13:1-8

 

The psychotherapist Arthur Janov conceived a therapy practice called primal-scream therapy.  The idea is for the therapist to take the patient back in memory to their childhood experience, and in the process, move the person through the traumatic pain that prevents him or her from forming the healthy attachments that are necessary to accept love.  According to Janov, when you re-experience painful events, you bring them from your unconscious to your consciousness, and you express their pain by being very loud:  with sobs, screams, and other types of emotive release.  This is a therapy that sets talking aside, so that the central nervous system can be exposed.  That’s where your childhood pain is stored, so that’s where you go to get at it.  By bringing it up from the darkness of your substratum being, you take away its controlling power: you claim it and tame it; you are freed from its destructive influence; and you are healed.   Continue reading

NOV 8, 2015, TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, RCL YEAR B

MARK | PART 9:  THE GREAT COMMANDMENT

A SERMON BY PASTOR CHICO MARTIN

Lections 1 John 3:1-10; Mark 12:28-34

As a youth in high school, I thought it was possible for love to change the world.  This was a tremendously exciting possibility, for my whole being recoiled from the world; I found it oppressive, and I was careless with its opportunities.  I preferred quiet and stillness to noise and activity, nature to cities. I was fond of reading literature, I tried writing poetry, and I enjoyed music.  At college, I went to a Bible study where the minister said, “The revolution is Jesus,” and I believed him.  Alan Watts asked why anyone would ever run to catch a bus, and I thought, that’s a good question! The robustness that thrived on the fringe of American society in the late sixties and early seventies was both a sign and a shelter for the hope of transformation.   The words to the Beatles song, “All You Need Is Love,” was its refrain.  The problem was, I didn’t know how to love.   I was selfish, and when I acted selfishly, I made bad choices.  I hurt others and I hurt myself; so when people tried to love me, I wasn’t able to return love with love. The ideal that enthused me as a youth, failed me in practice, as I grew older.   Continue reading

NOV 1, 2015, ALL SAINT’S DAY, RCL YEAR B

ALL SAINTS DAY:  JERUSALEM RESTORED

A SERMON BY PASTOR CHICO MARTIN

Lections:  Isaiah 62; Mark 4:30-34; Rev 21:1-3

This Sunday the church celebrates All Saints Day, as we remember that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, whom death has no dominion over, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Both the OT reading from Isaiah and the NT reading from Mark speak about the Kingdom of God, and specifically, about the church as the Kingdom of God on earth and the New Jerusalem which is yet to come.  In Mark, Jesus likens the Kingdom to a grain of mustard seed. When it lands on the ground it is quite small as seeds go, yet once it is planted it grows into a large shrub, 8 – 10 feet in height, and “the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” In this parable, we are given to compare a small beginning to a magnificent end: 12 disciples who seed the universal church; or the crucifixion of Jesus, an event that seems insignificant when it occurs, on a tiny hill in a remote territory of the Roman empire, and ends up changing the history of all creation.  Today, we can liken ourselves to birds, nesting in the protection the church of this creation offers us. The Kingdom of God, which Jesus proclaims, is our hope, the assurance of future salvation, and our chief care, for it falls on us to preserve its presence on earth, and to return the strength we take from it with our service: “though God is seated in the heavens, still his name and its praise resound across the globe and through the centuries.”[i]   Continue reading