If you know that God's love embraces all persons equally, no matter their gender, race, or sexual identity...
If you understand that faith is a matter of mind as well as heart, and that taking the Bible seriously means it cannot always be taken literally...
If, for you, diversity, tolerance, and inclusion are strengths to be taught...
If you believe that Christ calls us to be nothing less than global citizens, that the social expression of love is justice and that spiritual concerns are inseparable from a commitment to the natural world...
If you have wished for a more open and embracing community of faith to nurture your spirit and raise your children, and haven't yet found a place of belonging...
... then please know that Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ is the place for you.
Due to the current weather and road conditions we will not have our ordinary church services on Sunday, January 15, 2017.
Pastor Jeanne, however, does plan to meet in the nice warm Circle Room for a time of prayer and conversation.
We invite all those who can safely attend to join her at 10:00 am, January 15, 2017.
Christianity, and some other religions, pay a lot of attention to a spiritual power which can transform one’s life. In our tradition that power is embodied in Jesus and present in the work of the Holy Spirit. Romans 12:2 offers this exhortation: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds . . .”
In the early 1960s there was a Gospel musical called, “For Heaven’s Sake,” full of catchy tunes in a contemporary style. It provided great discussion for the youth at Lakeshore Ave. Baptist Church in Oakland, California, where I was assigned while in seminary. I had an old reel to reel tape for many years, which was later transferred to a cassette, but I can’t find it anywhere. I’m unable to find the lyrics on the internet, although I found a list of all the songs. Reading over the list was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me: “The Inchworm,” “Man-in-Box,” “The Rap,” “Aim for Heaven,” “Gimme God Blues,”---only a few of the titles. What sent me down this road to start with was a song whose refrain had one of the characters reluctantly realizing that “He’s Makin’ Us Over” (actual title of the song: “The Repair Job”)
The process has sometimes been called “conversion,” although that term has become cluttered with all kinds of connotations. In the tradition of my childhood and youth, the churches of which I was a part were good at manufacturing or manipulating or inducing “conversion” experiences, which were sometimes not all that heartfelt.
I’m also aware that often the primary focus of transformation has been upon an inner individual experience and a change in personal ethics and behavior. One of the biblical themes I have come to love has God caring about the transformation of the society around us, its organizations and institutions.
When the world was dark
and the city was quiet,
You crept in beside us.
And no one knew.
Only the few who dared to believe
that God might do something different.
Will you do the same this Christmas, Lord?
Will you come into the darkness of tonight's world;
not the friendly darkness
as when sleep rescues us from tiredness,
but the fearful darkness, in which people have stopped believing
that war will end or that food will come
or that a government will change
or that the Church cares?
Will you come into that darkness
and do something different
to save your people from death and despair?
Will you come into the quietness of this town,
not the friendly quietness
as when lovers hold hands,
but the fearful silence when the phone has not rung
the letter has not come,
the friendly voice no longer speaks,
the doctor's face says it all?
Will you come into that darkness,
and do something different,
not to distract, but to embrace your people?
And will you come into the dark corners
and the quiet places of our lives?
We ask this not because we are guilt-ridden
or want to become guilt-ridden
but because the fullness our lives long for
depends upon us being as open and vulnerable to you
as you were to us,
when you came, wearing no more than diapers,
and trusting human hands to hold their maker.
Will you come into our lives,
if we open them to you and do something different?
When the world was dark
and the city was quiet you came.
You crept in beside us.
Do the same this Christmas, Lord.
Do the same this Christmas.
“The opening of Matthew’s Gospel is the assurance that is really at the heart of the whole Bible. It isn’t forgiveness of sins, though that is promised. It isn’t in securing continued life after life, although participation in eternal life is promised. But, the first, the foundational promise is: God is with us.”
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