Bethany Congregational UCC Pastors Message

More than a slogan

January 30th, 2017|0 Comments

Set the stage. It is July in South Texas with temps reaching the upper 90's and low 100's; not taking into account heat index. Driving around San Antonio Loop 410, the message on the overhead sign announced, "DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED IN THE CAR." The first few times I saw this reminder I did not pay any attention to the message/warring. This last time I shouted, "are you kidding me!" Imagine were a person's head would have to be to leave a child in a car for any length of time. Yet, the reason for the sign is because of the numerous deaths which occur every year. While shopping with my wife (Karen), I spent quality time reading the warnings on different products. One of my most favorite warnings is on the electric hair dryer: "do not use this product in the shower." Can you image who the person was drying his/her hair while taking a shower? Can you image the law suite that occur because of that behavior? The reason for the warning probably is to prevent another law suite. Another of my favorite warnings is posted on a windshield reflector. It clearly states, "remove this reflector before driving." I would have loved sitting in the courtroom during the lawsuits which demanded this warning being posted. There are so many of these reminders of the state of the human consciousness. Each warning is posted because of a historical truth. I present these examples as the stage to a revelation which struck me recently. "Black lives matter" is more than a simple slogan; reflective of taking the reflector off the windshield before driving your car. The slogan is a historical reminder of the plight of African Americans. Perhaps with the exception of the First Nation People, the African [...]

move beyond simple belief

November 29th, 2016|0 Comments

The security of night had blanketed the village. Most of the residents were preparing for an evening of relaxing and preparation for sleep. The only one on the road was a local official moving within and through shadows; finding protection from the buildings that lined the road. Finally he reached the cottage which marked the point of no return on this journey. As he stood near his destination, Leo wondered how he would be able to complete this mission. How do you tell a father and a friend he and his family had to leave town immediately? There was only time to put together the bare necessities for a journey that had yet to be planed. Any delay would mean sure death if not worse. As Leo stood in hiding, he thought about their long friendship. As children there were many times Carl had stood up for him. Leo was small in stature and never fit in with the other children of the village. As such he was an easy target for the bigger boys. Carl was his only defender. Carl helped him when he started his first business. Regardless, n order to protect himself and his family there was no avenue which would allow Leo to protect Carl. Leo knew if he even got caught warning Carl he and his family might be punished. When Leo had assured himself he was totally alone, he ran to Carl's cottage, knocked on the door and without waiting for an answer barged in. Before either Carl or his family could move, Leo gave them the message he came to deliver. Stunned the family froze in place starring at each other. Finally, Carl was able to breath enough to ask the question. "Leo, how can this be. I have a good business and [...]

Advent Writings 2016

November 28th, 2016|0 Comments

Scripture Reading: Mark 4: 26-45 (26) He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, - Mark 4:26 (NIV) The Kingdom of God is like ..... the eternal question/search.  Often that the Kingdom of God is like Camdyn (my granddaughter) and all the Camdyns in the world.  Like the seed that is scattered to initiate the harvest, Camdyn will lie totally vulnerable.  Even in her greatest stage of development she remains vulnerable.  Unlike the "normal," she is dependent on acts of loving compassion to achieve the simplest tasks.  In the midst of the loving assistance Camdyn reciprocates so much love. What lies below her surface of vulnerability is the continual growth and advancements Camdyn makes every moment; some being so small they go unnoticed.  This is truly an image of the seed that was scattered and later became an incredible harvest. Like the seed and like Camdyn, there are few indicators of what is to be the full harvest.  What is known is that both the seeds and all the Camdyns of the world need an incredible level of care.  And, neither believe their growth is simply because of themselves. Pastor Gerry Scripture Reading: Mark 4: 26-45 (26) He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, - Mark 4:26 (NIV) The Kingdom of God is like ..... the eternal question/search.  Often that the Kingdom of God is like Camdyn (my granddaughter) and all the Camdyns in the world.  Like the seed that is scattered to initiate the harvest, Camdyn will lie totally vulnerable.  Even in her greatest stage of development she remains vulnerable.  Unlike the "normal," she is dependent on acts of loving compassion to achieve the simplest tasks.  In the midst of [...]

God Bless America

November 2nd, 2016|0 Comments

A familiar mantra is “God Bless America” It is most popular during election cycles, as well as during or following a political speech. For the longest time I have wondered if this mantra was a request, a command, or a question. If a question there is a reminder that the one speaking has lost sight of God in his/her life. If a command, the speaker is treading on shifting sand. I would like to think the mantra is a request. As a request there are many reminders: 1. I need God’s presence and assistance as I live out my earthly citizenship. 2. I need to change my vision from what is in my best interest (financially or otherwise) and look at what it means to care for and about another. 3. There is a reminder that I (or no one else) controls God for self-serving purposes. 4. The reminder that if ask for God’s blessings, I am willing to develop a partnership with God. Perhaps an even great issue to ponder is what blessings do we want from God? Israel want a Messiah, and then rejected Emmanuel because he was not what they wanted. The Disciples wanted someone to give them power over their enemies. There has been a historical desire to create God in the human image rather than allowing God to create humans in the image of God. If we want God’s blessings how will we allow the blessings to transform us in an inclusive manner. Pastor Gerry

A Reminder

October 31st, 2016|0 Comments

you shall make this response before the Lord your God: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; Deuteronomy 26:5 A reminder: it is important to remember your past but not pitch your tent in the past and make it your home. A reminder is the eternal call to Israel. When Israel presents their ‘first fruit” offerings to the Temple, they are to remember the journey their ancestors made from starvation to the bounty in Egypt. Then they are to remember the journey that brought them from Egypt's slavery to the blessings of the Promised Land. The key for this remembrance is were God was to be found. A reminder is discovered in our Ancestors in Faith as they sought an opportunity to worship God as they believed was appropriate. Theirs was a journey which lasted for generations and continued through the landing at a place now called Plymouth. Not only were they called upon the trust in God, but also to trust in the welcoming committee who taught the Pilgrims that the old ways do not work in this new world. The banquet they celebrated on that first Thanksgiving Day was a culmination of what is possible when people come together as equal partners. Amongst the variety of foods, left overs, the dirty dishes, and the desperate need for a post-thanksgiving nap there is another reality that can never be forgotten. This is the value of God's vision. In God's vision there is the incredible move from "what do I want?" to "what does God want of me?" Each of us are wanders and each of us come from wandering ancestors. Each of us have stories that are told, and will never leave our secret place that no one can enter. Each of us have stood at the place where the [...]

walk for unity

October 14th, 2016|0 Comments

Gethsemane Lutheran Church, St. Mark Methodist Church, Dellview Baptist Church and Bethany Congregational United Church of Christ, all located in the Dellview neighborhood, wish to respond to the graffiti segregationist attack that was perpetrated on October 10, 2016 at Gethsemane Lutheran Church.  All the churches together believe that the attack constitute an affront to all denominations and religions, and also a serious below to the peace of the San Antonio Community. On Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.. the churches and the community will gather together at the parking lot of Gethsemane Lutheran located at 610 Avalon Street, to express solidarity with the church and the community, to denounce and reject the vicious attack that try to create instability on society and to share a message of love and acceptance to all.  Everyone is invited

freedom

August 30th, 2016|0 Comments

Setting the stage. I was sitting by our trailer with evening refreshments in hand and my eye on the coals in our new $5.00 bar-b-que pit. The coals were beginning there transformation to a hot, grayish color; preparing themselves to receive offering that was about to be placed on the grill. The beauty of evening in a RV park is the movement of residents and the conversations which occur as people go about there evening experiences and walking their dogs. On so many different levels these parks are developing communities. About all that holds these communities together is our rented space. Fast forward. In my rented space, I was relaxing, greeting, sharing and protecting my bar-b-que pit. Then a lady (who had experienced her fair share of birthdays) came by with her two dogs. Her greeting began with an observation on the flooding in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area. To which I shared our church has been holding the community and residents in our prayers. With a look of shock she blatted out, “you are a minister?” (Which has been a response I have experienced for many decades.) Once she had regained her composure I informed her that I was a minister and if she wanted i could show her my identification card. Maybe it was the shock of me claiming to be a ministry, or because it was near the beginning of a new school year, or she was testing the waters of my theological-political bent… “You know most of the problems these days is that prayer is no longer allowed in school.” To which I responded, “as long as tests occur in school there will always be prayer. And, that legally there is no restriction to prayer in school. The only restriction is on who can pray in [...]

Endorsements

July 21st, 2016|0 Comments

The first image that came to mind was nascar. (I say image because I have no in depth knowledge of nascar with the exception they only turn left.) Covering every possible inch of these incredible cars are endorsements for everything from motor oil to the "little blue pill." Covering the majority of the drivers' riding uniform are additional endorsements. What has never been clear to me, are these endorsements something the drivers actually believes in, or are they reflective of who is willing to pay the most money to be part of the moving parade of brands. The same question can be asked of professional athletics and college/universities. Do the individuals and programs actually believe the products they endorsed represent the best or simply the ones with the deepest pockets. For me the theme of endorsements carries over to verbiage surrounding the current Republican Convention in beautiful downtown Cleveland. If I listen with only my ears (and not my brain), I would believe that God has endorsed the Republican Party, all those running on the Republican ticket, and all those under the giant umbrella of the Republican brand. If this is gospel, is God's endorsement because God believes the Republicans are the best people, or because the Republicans have the deepest pockets to cover God's asking price for this endorsement? In the Judeo-Christian sacred text, there are numerous narratives about groups or individuals attempting to get God's enforcement. But the Divine response was always a resounding "NO." Seems God could not be bought. In the same sacred text there are numerous narratives of God selecting individuals and groups to carry the divine brand into the world. These were joy-filled servants. Of those selected much more was asked. I believe the reason that God does not endorse any political entity is [...]