Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Throne of Grace



Sermon for Sunday, October 14, 2018, based on Hebrew 4:12-16. Life is scary, and always has been. The first half of today's scripture reading is scary, and always has been. However, the second half of the reading tells us where to turn to leave fear behind. To whom can we turn to be courageous? Who is in our corner, ready to help us, and to be at our side when our judgment finally comes? Listen and find out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Fair Wages



The sermon for Sunday, September 30, 2018, covers Matthew 20:1-16, the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. It explores the issue of fairness from God's perspective rather than humanity's. God's expansive love leads to a surprising level of inclusion. We also explore what "the evil eye" meant back in the day and why we should avoid it today. Have a listen. Peace. Feel free to join us in Sunday worship if you are in the vicinity of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, and do not have a church of your own to attend. All are welcome.

Every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. (with exceptions for the pastor's vacation and power failures), we have a live stream Bible study. You are invited to subscribe on YouTube (it's free) and join: If you'd like a little more information on becoming a subscriber, see the following. To learn how to join us on the Beyond Loaves and Fishes live stream event each Tuesday night, take a look at the following blog post and follow the simple steps: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Iron Man & God's Armor



Sermon from June 24, 2018, based on Ephesians 6:10-17, comparing Tony Stark's Iron Man suit of armor with the whole armor of God. Super heroes provide a wonderful illustration for biblical points. This sermon explores how best to use the various attributes of God's armor. It allows us to help ourselves and others facing adversity, including the ongoing separation of parents from their children along the US southern border and all the issues associated with this practice.

Every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. (with exceptions for the pastor's vacation and power failures), we have a live stream Bible study. You are invited to subscribe on YouTube (it's free) and join: If you'd like a little more information on becoming a subscriber, see the following. To learn how to join us on the Beyond Loaves and Fishes live stream event each Tuesday night, take a look at the following blog post and follow the simple steps: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Important Letter from ABC USA General Secretary 2018


AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES USA
___________________________________



June 15, 2018

Mr. Jeff Sessions, Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Sessions,

I am writing to you today on behalf of the 5,000 congregations and 1.3 million members of the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). As General Secretary, I serve as the national pastor of the denomination. ABCUSA has a long and distinguished record of service in welcoming immigrants and refugees to communities throughout the United States.

The American Baptist family would like to communicate our deep concern over the unjust immigration policies of the United States government, and in particular, the unconscionable separation of children from their parents on our southern border. As a fellowship of Christ-followers who recall the trials of the child Jesus and his parents, who fled from persecution in their homeland to another country (Matthew 2:13-18), we adamantly oppose separating children from their relatives. A just society can fulfill its fidelity to its own laws and border security without resorting to such unwise and harmful practices; instead, we urge that compassion, fairness and family-affirming policies characterize our response to the plight of families on our borders. We note that destructive practices such as the separation of children from parents place a serious burden on our law enforcement agents and officials, who in carrying out such policies find their own consciences ethically compromised and troubled.

Furthermore, we strongly disagree with your erroneous appropriation of the New Testament (in particular, Romans 13) to justify inhumane and unjust governmental actions. No responsible Christian theologian would assert that Romans 13, or any other passage in the Bible, supports the horrific separation of children from parents that we are witnessing at the present time. In fact, both the Old and New Testaments call those who believe in God to welcome refugees and immigrants with open arms and friendship, with loving care and concern, and with the willingness to assist others in enjoying the prospects of a future based on hope and opportunity.

Accordingly, American Baptists wish to express our sincere hope that the separation of children and parents will immediately cease. We urge Congress and the President to approve and implement without delay more compassionate and just immigration policies and procedures. As the leading law enforcement official of our government, it is your privilege and responsibility to lead such an effort. Thank you for considering our position.

Sincerely,

 Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, General Secretary
 American Baptist Churches USA

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Justice That Heals - 2000



Here is a powerful story of reconciliation and forgiveness that heals. This is key to creating healing communities and church stations of hope: working together to help families of those who have been incarcerated and those in prison themselves. It is well worth watching and wrestling with by all who seek to help or who have someone in the prison system.

God bless you all.

For more on the organization Healing Communities that works to create church Stations of Hope across the country, see: www.healingcommunitiesusa.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Rich in Mercy



Sermon based on Ephesians 2:1-10, delivered during the season of Lent, 2018. If you want to know what a Buick Skylark and a Ford Pinto have to do with Paul's letter to the Ephesians, you'll have to watch. Good news provided about love, grace, and mercy. Room for reflection on how to react to that as well.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Don't Remain Silent



Sermon delivered on September 3, 2017, exploring  the scripture Luke 18:1-8. This sermon reminds us we must be as persistent as the widow seeking justice from a corrupt judge. See how prayer plays into that persistence and what it has to do with us in this day and age.

As time was limited, we didn't get into some of the other ways Christians are working for justice. We prayed for and provided guidance to all interested in helping the survivors of Hurricane Harvey during our announcements and pastoral prayer time.

For another perspective on persistence, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/persistence-is-key.html

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

1000 Ministers March for Justice



A few images from the 1000 Ministers March for Justice of August 28, 2017, starting at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and ending at the Department of Justice. Ministers, priests, rabbis, and other faith leaders all marched. Over 3000 concerned faith leaders showed up to march for justice for every person oppressed, outcast, and marginalized in our turbulent society today, moving far beyond the expectations of those who organized the march. We came to express our desire to love God and love neighbors. We came to call on our elected leaders to do likewise.

Persistence was required for me as delays began when I arrived. I kept Luke 18:1-8 in mind as I persisted. I started at the Crystal City Underground parking lot in Alexandria, Virginia, took the Metro to the Mall, praying all the while for a person hit by a subway car at L'Enfante Plaza that day (and all persons impacted by that tragedy), headed on over to the MLK memorial down near the Lincoln Memorial (a substantial hike, praying to get there in time and represent my faith well), and joined the growing assembly of marchers there at 11:45 instead of 10:15 or so, as I had hoped. I was in time for the final speech at the memorial and the mile and a half march from the memorial to the Department of Justice. On the way we sang "This little light of mine" with some interesting verse variations, "Sanctuary," and called for justice in a variety of ways, given our various God-given talents. One quote from the event that resonated with those faith leaders present: “It’s time for moral leaders of all religions to get rid of their fear and their political laryngitis and stand up together,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who led the march with Martin Luther King III. “We agree that morality must be above party politics.”

I was gratified to meet some of my friends and colleagues there, and to know that others were present, including denominational leaders of American Baptist Churches USA, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and fellow seminary graduates of Palmer Theological Seminary.

Disclaimer: The "unique" camera views are due to the fact that it was a sunny day and the screen didn't give me much of a view of what I was recording. Still, this will give you a small sense of what happened from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Against All Expectations



Sermon based on Matthew 14:13-21, in which we discover just how completely Jesus will defy our limited expectations where we are willing to work with him. There is a challenge here for us all.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Facing a Troubled Nation

In the wake of the violence and hatred erupting out of Charlottesville, Virginia, it is useful to remember these wise words from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles.Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it.Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?Expediency ask the question, is it politic?Vanity asks the question, is it popular?But, conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”

God calls us to love, love God, and love neighbors, all our neighbors. Actually, God commands. We are challenged to fulfill that call to the best of our ability. We stand with all those hate groups single out for harm, for terror, and worse. We call all those who have fallen away from God into the darkness hate creates to repent (turn their lives around and change) and to return to life and light and love and forgiveness. Nothing is impossible with God.
None of it is easy. Not one single writer in the Bible ever promised it would be. Jesus Christ showed us the ways of love and servant leadership come at a great price.
Pray for our divided nation. Work for justice. Labor for peace. Speak for truth. Do it to fulfill those two great commandments. Remember, blessed are the peacemakers. Be courageous.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nothing Too Wonderful for God


Sermon based on Genesis 18:1-15, focusing on hospitality, Abraham, Sarah, and God. Exploring closely how God's insistence on hospitality impacts upon all of us today during incredibly tense, inhospitable times. Includes current crises playing out in our community. Please watch, share, pray, and act.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Benefit of Being Righteous

A brief meditation on being a righteous person, which is a person who is in right relationship with God and with humanity (a pretty tall order when you think it through). 
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. ~Isaiah 32:16-17

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

American Baptists Have Always Taken Strong Stands on Justice Issues

In the attached article from The Christian Citizen, the American Baptist Home Mission Society stood against the evils of slavery during the American Civil War. They resolved for themselves and to President Abraham Lincoln:
Resolutions were adopted declaring the rebellion “a crime against civilization, humanity, freedom, and God,” recommending, “That we tender to the President of the United States and to those associated with him in the Government, the assurance of our entire confidence and our earnest sympathy with them in their efforts to maintain the integrity of the Republic; of our prayers for their success; of our readiness to sustain them by the sacrifice of property and life; and of our hearty assent to the policy of conquering disunion by the uprooting of slavery — its cause.”
To read more, see: https://medium.com/christian-citizen/american-baptist-home-mission-society-stood-with-abraham-lincoln-against-slavery-e2c03f2059c

To learn more about American Baptist Churches USA and our predecessors, see: http://www.abc-usa.org/what_we_believe/our-history/

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Living Between Expectation & Experience



Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear spoke to Lansdowne Baptist Church about how we may assist individuals who have been incarcerated and their families. It is an important and powerful message. He also has something to say to those who would dismiss prisoners as "bad people" who should be ignored. Please watch.

At the end of the sermon, Rev. Dr. Trulear invited individuals with family members in prison to come forward for a prayer. This was a powerful moment for everyone as ten people came forward. One person was in tears, feeling until that moment that she was suffering alone. That prayer is not recorded here as those people were not asked in advance if they cared to be filmed.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Angry Insulting Beware



Sermon based on Matthew 5:21-26, 33-37, discovering the "ground truth" behind these teachings. Curious? Just watch. Jesus is alway deep and profound.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sheep or Goats This Year, 2017



Sermon for New Year's Day 2017, based on Matthew 25:31-46, asking the question, will we be sheep or goats? What choice will we make in 2017. What does it mean to be sheep or goats?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Our Job Never Changes: Sermon for November 6, 2016



Sermon based on Matthew 22:36-40, the greatest commandments. No matter the situation (even in a contentious election season), Christians are called to love God and neighbor. Doing so transforms the lives of those who attempt this very tall order and those who are on the receiving end of that love. Give it a try. Jesus challenges you to do so.

One small correction: reference to a "Roman Candle" should be a fountain. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Powerful Statement from American Baptist Home Mission Societies Following Shootings of July 4 Week

The American Baptist Home Mission Societies have issued a powerful statement in response to the fatal police shootings of two African American men during the July 4th week, followed by the fatal shooting of police officers. It is a tempered statement insisting on justice and change while acknowledging the fine work of many upstanding officers. Please read and consider prayerfully: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/end-police-killings-innocent-black-lives/

Some highlights: 
“O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!” Jeremiah 9:1
We face a national crisis in the United States of America as concerns increasing violence and the growing threat to innocent Black lives from America’s police.
Daily in America, Black citizens are slain by police officers who are publicly sworn to protect the citizenry. This national crisis is well documented from Baton Rouge, LA, to Falcon Heights, MN; from Waller County, TX, to Ferguson, MO; from Chicago, IL, to Savannah, GA; from Cleveland, OH, to Staten Island, NY; from the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam. However, time and again when police brutalize and murder Black people, they escape criminal prosecution.
To be clear, violent confrontations with law enforcement and vigilante killings are not a remedy, but a dangerous diversion from our righteous struggle for justice and peace. We reject and condemn assaults on police officers with the same conviction with which we condemn the killings of innocent civilians. As we grieve the loss of innocent civilians we also grieve the loss of dedicated police officers and pray for their families and loved ones.
America’s current practice following the slayings of Blacks by police is a blend of cultural pathology on the part of prosecutors combined with racist urban mythology that quickly evolves into sympathy for the police officers without regard for the unjust killings of Black lives. Such gives dangerous credence to the notion that police are daily under fire from Black Americans—which, despite recent events in Dallas is historically untrue–and that the police are therefore justified in using deadly force against Black lives in order to protect their own lives, even when the use of deadly force was not justified.
Next, as we express honor, respect and appreciation for police officers knowing that most are decent people, the time has come for law enforcement officers to publicly affirm that “Black lives matter” in view of the glaring incidents of excessive force and brutality against innocent Black citizens. In the midst of hostility there is a real need to regain public trust and cultivate mutual respect.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

What Must I Do Jesus



Sermon based on Luke 10:25-37, the parable of the good Samaritan. This sermon also dealt with the deaths of two African Americans at the hands of police officers, the subsequent killings of five officers at the hands of a sniper or snipers, and how Christians respond in light of Jesus' teachings.

Please follow this sermon up with the powerful statement from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/end-police-killings-innocent-black-lives/

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One In Christ

Father's Day Sermon based on Galatians 3:23-29, dealing with the human barrier shattering that being a follower of Christ involves. In part, this sermon speaks out against the hatred and violence inflicted on various minorities, including the horrendous mass murder suffered by the LGBT community in Orlando, Florida's, Pulse nightclub.

For a statement from our denomination, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2016/06/powerful-statement-from-our.html