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Kirk Moore
Non Profit Management - Social Justice Advocate
Greater Chicago Area
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Wonderful Works

This week's Bible reflection (In Reverse) acknowledges that whole "giving thanks in all circumstances" deal is much easier after you're past the circumstance.  And today's sermon at St. Paul's UCC kept up with the theme.  Emotions are worth having.
"Wonderful Works" podcast


In Reverse

It’s much easier to “give thanks in troubled times” after enduring and passing through the troubled times. This week’s reading from Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 is a great example of exactly that --  giving thanks after troubled times are over.

When things are rotten, I don’t feel like giving thanks. I feel, instead, like shouting out, “What are you thinking, God? Why in the world would you expect thanks for THIS?” It’s really hard to thank God when all that seems to be present is depression and despair.

And I know how selfish that sounds. “Poor me – I’m not getting everything I want and everything isn’t perfect.” While I’m sputtering about something terrible happening to me, I'm generally not focusing on any kind of compassion for everyone. 

Still, it’s important to remember that emotions are worth having – even savoring.  Emotions are worth addressing. There’s no need to feel bad and then feel guilty about feeling bad. We don’t have to be devoid of emotions! And we’re not the only ones having them.

I think there’s a comfort in knowing that we all have good and bad days.  We all have uplifting and energy-sucking emotions. And knowing that can help us move away from being self-centered and instead live out love, compassion, and justice.

We won’t get it right every time – maybe not even most times. But why not start there? We all can start from a place where things seem really good and remember to live in hope when it’s not.

In most, if not every situation, that’s all I’ve got – If it’s backwards – so what? It’s a start.


Last week's Bible reflection (Everybody) asked how an inclusive love works when so many people differ on how it all works.  Yesterday's sermon at St. Paul's UCC in Downers Grove, IL,  kept asking.
"Different" podcast



This week’s Bible reading from Jeremiah 31:31-34 lays it out.

God’s vision isn’t about who is the most worthy or the least deserving. It isn’t about who has the most money or who can scrape up enough change for bus fare. It is about love, forgiveness, and folks paying attention to one another.

It isn’t only for those who get it. It isn’t only for those who desperately need forgiveness. It isn’t only for those who are humble. It isn’t only for those who do terrible things. This vision.  This love -- is for all those and all the rest.

For everybody.

So how does that work with so many people living out different interpretations of what God wants?


No Words

This week's Bible reflection (Repetition) provided the opening based on the opening of many sermons and then continued as today's sermon at St. Paul's UCC.
"No Words" podcast



“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

I’ve said these words from Psalm 19 and I’ve heard them more times than I can count – usually as a short prayer before a preacher starts the sermon.

And I know that it’s a practice that is celebrated by many, and is a pet peeve to many.  Those who love it say that it helps them center.  Those who loathe it say that it is just so over done!

I’ve heard of, and experienced the dulling of powerful words when they’ve been repeated so often that they don’t seem to hold any meaning anymore. But I’ve also experienced the profound comfort that comes when I can think of nothing else except for what I have repeated to the point of not only memorization, but subconscious internalization.

When I’m in a place where I have no words, the words I’ve repeated so often are present – providing a way for me to, in that moment, enter a more focused, comfortable, calm,  and refreshing place.

What are your thoughts?


Last week's Bible reflection (More to the Story) provided some of the background to yesterday's big tent sermon podcast from St. Paul's UCC in Downers Grove, IL
"Everlasting" podcast


More to the Story

I think folks like to tell stories of the past that put the best ‘face’ on situations. This week’s reading from Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 wraps things up in a pretty tidy package, but I think we do ourselves a disservice by avoiding the verses ‘in the middle’ as well as exploring the whole context of Abraham and Sarah’s story.

We’re missing the circumcision verses:

And by ignoring them in this week’s reading, I think we miss out on a discussion about circumcision among other people in the area when Abraham lived and when his story was written. It seems we want to remove it from our thoughts because we think the discussion will be too distracting.

We’re missing the story of Abraham’s other children and how they link today’s Christians with our Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters:

I think the overall narrative of the Bible – God creates, we mess up, God restores and reconciles, we mess up . . . shows God's care and love for all of creation. Telling the story of Ishmael, Isaac, and all of Abraham’s other children helps, I think, Christian folk realize that we are part of a heritage that ties folks together and also one that continues in different God-serving religions.

What are your thoughts?



Last night's Ash Wednesday sermon at St. Paul's UCC in Downers Grove, IL.  It's a little muffled -- using a back up recorder placed in an imperfect spot.  And welcome to Lent!
"Timing" podcast