Showing posts with label peace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peace. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Siblings



Sermon based on Genesis 37:1-4, 18-38, showing us the dysfunctional, grudge poisoned, hateful relationship between Joseph and his brothers. We explore how to equip ourselves against dysfunction and hate in our own day and age, like the hate so prominently on display at the race riot and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 11-12, 2017. Being so equipped, we must work all our lives against letting hatred consume us.

If you doubt your small efforts or talents can be any use in fighting against human hatred, intolerance, racism, etc., take a look at the following sermon and rethink: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/against-all-expectations.html

For specific reactions from our denomination to the race riot and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, which I heartily agree with and endorse, see the following posts: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/american-baptist-home-mission-societies.html and https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/abcusa-general-secretary-speaks-to.html

American Baptist Resolution on the Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan

The fight against the sin of race hatred is ongoing. We stand against the darkness as a denomination and as a church within that denomination. My great grandfather, the Rev. Martin Luther Hall, refused the demands of the Ku Klux Klan when they rode up to his church after Sunday service and demanded he join their hateful forces. He let them and his entire congregation know in no uncertain terms how strongly he refused the hatred this organization stood for. We continue to work against the deep sin of mindless hatred in all its forms today. At the hate demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11-12, 2017, protesters carried a sign reading "Diversity = White Genocide." We contest that belief strongly. As one of the most diverse denominations in the US, we see that diversity as one of our greatest strengths and an affirmation of many bible verses, including Revelation 7:9: After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. That is a vision we heartily endorse and work toward every day. ~Rev. Jeffrey B. Snyder

Below is the resolution adopted unanimously by ABCUSA:

AMERICAN BAPTIST RESOLUTION ON THE RESURGENCE OF THE KU KLUX KLAN
The mood of America is characterized by growing economic unrest, unemployment, rapid social change and a sense of impotency and futility. That mood is contributing to a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, or to a “new Klan,” and to other white-supremist movements in the United States.
Public opinion has encouraged the growth of the Klan and racism in general when it has sympathized with it or indirectly supported it by endorsing the attitude that America’s minorities have “come too far, too fast.” Public tolerance has been demonstrated by voter acceptance of Klan political candidates, widespread distribution of printed material which accepts KKK actions, and by the failure of the criminal justice system to investigate effectively and end Klan-related violence.
THEREFORE: In accordance with the American Baptist Policy Statement on Human Rights which supports the right of all persons to be protected against discrimination and in light of its concern over the current manifestations of racism as evidenced in the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, the General Board of the American Baptist Churches urges local congregations and individuals to:
1. Indicate publicly their opposition to the Klan by statement and action wherever the Klan appears;
2. Encourage politicians and governmental bodies to take active positions against the racism, terrorism and acts of violence fostered by the Klan;
3. Educate members, especially children, about the nature of the Klan and about the myths which it seeks to foster related to racial superiority;
4. Design and implement programs to educate people, especially children, about the biblical imperatives for racial justice;
5. Take every opportunity afforded by the media to affirm our support of racial justice; and
6. Become actively involved in local and national efforts to achieve and assure racial justice.
We call upon the agencies and the leadership of the regional and national units of American Baptist Churches in the USA to:
1. Provide informational materials and other forms of support to individuals and to congregations engaged in efforts to educate their members about the nature of the Klan and about racial justice;
2. Represent American Baptist Churches in ecumenical efforts to combat the Klan;
3. Encourage public media to use their resources to promote racial justice;
4. Commend those media which have carried out investigative reporting about the Klan and its activities; and
5. Express our repugnance for the philosophy and activities of the Klan through appropriate governmental and legal channels.
Adopted by the General Board of the American Baptist Churches – December 1980 130 For, 0 Against, 0 Abstentions

American Baptist Home Mission Societies Speaks Out Against Racism and Violence

Following the awful demonstration of hate and terrorist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of 2017, the American Baptist Home Mission Society released the following statement that we here at Lansdowne Baptist Church fully support and endorse. American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse denominations in the United States and that diversity is our strength! ~Reverend Jeffrey B. Snyder


American Baptist Home Mission Societies denounces and condemns—in the strongest manner possible—the violent and deadly demonstration led by a host of white supremacist organizations and individuals in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
The human toll of three lives lost senselessly and more than two dozen individuals injured stains our American stature on the world stage. The racial and religious hatred expressed by the Neo-Nazi, Alt-Right, Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations in opposition to the city’s decision to remove a monument memorializing the American Civil War’s Confederacy and its standard bearers is an affront to democracy and our social order.
We join with people of goodwill across our country who seek to make America’s public squares, government grounds and city streets safe for all citizens.
Furthermore, we commend and pray for all the valiant clergy, students, justice workers and others who gathered in Charlottesville to say “no” to violence, threats and intimidation from the white supremacist demonstrators.
In the wake of yet another terrifying episode of violence in America’s public square, we pray for the families and loved ones of Heather Heyer, whose life was tragically taken during the vehicular assault on dozens of peace workers. We pray, too, for the families and loved ones of Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates—the Virginia state police troopers who died in a helicopter crash related to the situation in Charlottesville—along with those who were victims of assaults and trauma, both physical and emotional, resulting from the violence.
“We call upon people of faith and goodwill to continue to pray and work on behalf of freedom, justice and peace in the United States of America and throughout the world,” says Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, ABHMS executive director. “Never were these prayers and this work needed more.”

For more, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/abcusa-general-secretary-speaks-to.html

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Courageous Conversations in Philadelphia: Sharing Stories of Race

This event, dealing with racism and sponsored by some pretty influential groups in Philadelphia, attracted 175 people and a fascinating panel. These were courageous folks willing to be uncomfortable together and explore a topic currently attempting to tear humanity apart. Included in the link below is a recorded version of the entire event. I recommend giving it a listen. A powerful early topic of conversation is in believing other people's stories, the stories of people who live lives different from your own. We need to believe the stories of others, especially their challenges and tragedies in the face of racism, and act in ways that help them.

Here are some Bible verses that show how it has always been God's intent to reach out to all people everywhere. Check out: Genesis 12:1-3; 1 Chronicles 16:23-34; Psalm 96:1-3; Isaiah 56:6-7; Matthew 9:35-38; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 4:16-19; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8; and Revelation 7:9. I recommend reading these passages all together to get the sweep and breadth of God's vision. It will not take long. Ask yourself after reading these passages, how does reaching out to others different from yourself fit into the big picture of what God wants us to be doing?

Here is the link to both several written stories and the recording of the event to listen to: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/education/item/104158-courageous-conversations-sharing-stories-about-race-and-pledging-to-practice-more

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Prayer for Christian Unity Sunday, January 15, 2017


O God, we are one with you.

You have made us one with you.
You have taught us that if we are open to one another,you dwell in us.
Help us to preserve this opennessand to fight for it with all our hearts.
Help us to realize that there can be no understandingwhere there is mutual rejection.
O God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely,we accept you, and we thank you, and we adore you,and we love you with our whole being,because our being is in your being,our spirit is rooted in your spirit.
Fill us then with love,and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways,united in this one spirit which makes you present in the world,and makes you witness to the ultimate reality that is love.
Love has overcome.
Love is victorious. 
~ Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

For more prayers and additional material for Christian Unity Sunday, I suggest checking: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/01/resource-index-christian-unity.html


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. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Saturday October 29, 2016, Walking Prayer

The congregation and friends of Lansdowne Baptist Church will be practicing the spiritual discipline once again at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, beginning at the main gate of the refuge at 10 a.m. Come walk with us, get close to nature and to God. The reserve is located at 8601 Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19153, roughly 15 minutes from Lansdowne Baptist Church. We have picked the height of southeastern Pennsylvania's leaf season for our second walking prayer at the refuge.

See you at the main gate
Our previous walking prayer experience in the summer was quite moving. If a person is still, it is amazing how abundant and diverse is the life in God's creation. It starts with a few of the most obvious birds and plants observed. But, in stillness, you are rewarded as the natural world comes into view in ever greater detail. It is easy, when the time is taken and stillness is achieved, to feel yourself being drawn closer to nature and to nature's Creator.

Consider yourself invited.

For information on our previous walk, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2016/09/walking-prayer-held-at-john-heinz.html

To see images from this walk, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2016/12/walking-prayer-october-29-2016.html

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Walking Prayer Held at John Heinz Wildlife Refuge

A small group of us went on a walking prayer on Saturday, August 20th, at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum, near Philadelphia International Airport. In this watery bird sanctuary we basically focused all our senses on the natural world around us. It was startling what happened in those quiet moments. Speaking from my own observation, standing out on a bridge over the wetlands, at first, as the mind settled, I became aware of the plant life, then the largest of birds standing out in the water. It did not seem like there was all that much going on and I was tempted to get back into motion, to move along, to stride busily off to the next location. Instead, I was still and began to see all the rest of the life that was there. Birds, large and small, flew and rested all over that wetland site, fish nipped at insects skimming over the water’s surface, a warm breeze blew past, the smells of nature became present, and all the songs and calls of the natural world came into my attention. It was surprising how abundant and diverse the life all around us was, when we took the time to notice. God was very much present in that quiet time. We had scheduled that walking prayer, and we did walk quite a ways, to last one hour. At the end of that hour, to honor our time, we called the walk officially to an end. Then we walked on together for another hour. It was a powerful experience. We left the refuge feeling refreshed.
Met some bird watchers who told us more about what
we were seeing



As Job 12:7-10 reads, “But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.” 

The walking prayer did get us back in touch with God, drew our attention away from the busyness of our daily lives, and left us refreshed. Lansdowne Baptist Church will hold this experience again in the future for all adventurers who would like to go forth into nature and as Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God."
Next time, let yourself be in this location to meet God.

~Rev. Jeff Snyder

Sunday, August 14, 2016

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/

Friday, July 8, 2016

Praying for All the Victims: Call From the American Baptist Home Mission Societies

We the pastor and congregation of Lansdowne Baptist Church stand by and pray for all who are grieving following the horrible events of the past few days. We are brokenhearted. It is hard to speak out in the face of such violence, such hate, but we must. We Christians do not believe that hate gets to win. We have faith in what we have been taught by Jesus and we work for the triumph of love over hatred, bringing peace and joy in its wake. We work for justice for all people. 

In response to all the death and violence in the past few days, from the deaths of Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile, St. Paul, Minnesota, in police hands to the deaths of five police officers and the wounding of seven others protecting peaceful protesters in Dallas, Texas, at the hand of a sniper or snipers, we are called to prayer. Prayer involves active communication with God, the transformation of ourselves as a result, and then taking direct, positive, peaceful actions following those prayers. We pray for an end to all the mindless hatred swirling through the country, poisoning people's minds, hearts, and spirits. We pray for an end to racism, fear, and the us vs. them mindset that caused so much death and destruction. 

As the Bible says in 1 Peter 3:9: "Do not do evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called--that you might inherit a blessing." We need to temper our responses, remembering what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." 

Finally, let us follow the example Jesus called us to follow in the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37

25Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” 29But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” 

American Baptist Home Mission Societies calls for a season of prayer. We at LBC support this wholeheartedly. See their post: http://www.abc-usa.org/2016/07/08/a-call-to-prayer/?utm_content=buffera01ba&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Instruments Of Your Peace



Given the news of late, here is an extremely appropriate hymn. Since hymns are prayers is song, it is also an appropriate prayer for all of us, every day.

Appropriate to this prayer in song are the following verses from Romans 12: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2016/06/guide-to-living-with-others-in.html

A hymn for the troubled soul is also appropriate here: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/03/be-still-my-soul.html

LBC Marches in 4th of July Parade 2016

Lansdowne Baptist Church marched in the local Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, 4th of July Parade again this year. We grew in numbers as we marched, bringing an additional family into our march. Two of our members handed out invitations to come to our church so quickly, we'll have to double the numbers available for next year. Some of the viewers asked for them specifically. Once again, we created giant bubbles as we marched.




It was a great morning, filled with balloons, patriotic music from the high school marching band, cyclists on antique high wheeled bicycles (you want to talk with those riders when you can, they are fascinating), and riders in classic cars, a bus, and motorcycle. Candy was tossed, churches were represented, members and friends greeted along the way, and God blessed us with a beautiful day of temperate weather.

We look forward to doing this again, celebrating together with the community we serve.


For a longer reflection on the 4th of July celebration in Lansdowne, PA, see the 2014 post: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/07/lansdowne-pennsylvanias-4th-of-july.html


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Guide to Living With Others in Challenging Times

Romans 12:15-18 offers some great guidance for getting along with each other in highly charged times. Paul wrote, 
15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Advice like that just never gets old.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Powerful Statement from Our Denomination Following the Shootings in Orlando

American Baptist Churches USA is the most diverse denomination in the United States. Our churches have a great deal of autonomy, we are equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, and we have varying interpretations of particular passages that have been the focus of recent cultural and religious debated.

Yet, in the midst of turmoil, our leadership provided the following powerful message of love. Please follow this link and read: http://www.abc-usa.org/2016/06/17/abc-interim-general-secretary-addresses-orlando-shooting/

A few highlights:
We offer our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of the horrible tragedy in Orlando. We extend love to those of our family directly affected. We grieve with our American Baptist brothers and sisters who are part of the LGBTQ community. My message to them is, never mistake our debates and disagreements with the depth of our love for you as part of our family. To the rest of the ABC family my message is, even in the midst of profound disagreement, let us love as Christ loved. 
~Interim General Secretary Dr. Susan Gillies


Following Gillies remarks, Rev. Judy Fackenthal said, “As President of ABCUSA, I concur with Interim General Secretary Susan Gillies that any act of violence against any part of the human family is fully outside the vision of God’s gracious love for all people. While American Baptists may not agree on a wide variety of issues, we claim God’s love as a just and all-encompassing love. I pray for the people of Orlando, particularly the LGBTQ community as well as the Hispanic community that has been particularly affected by this horrific violence. May we work together to seek to end hate and the outcomes associated with it.”


“The events of last week hurt me deeply, as a Christian, Baptist and as a Puerto Rican,” said Dr. Josue D. Gómez-Menéndez, vice president of ABC. “At this time I would like to express my solidarity with all the people who are suffering from the effects of violence, misconceptions and separation. In the end what we discover in the depth of love is that we find our essence and human reality, our claim to the dignity of the human being and our real choice to reflect Jesus in every step.”

Friday, June 10, 2016

Give Judging Others a Rest

In this highly charged political season, let's follow some sound advice from Jesus and from theologian Henri Nouwen. Henri Nouwen writes in his devotional, Bread for the Journey,
Essential to the work of reconciliation is a nonjudgmental presence. We are not sent to the world to judge, to condemn, to evaluate, to classify, or to label. When we walk around as if we have to make up our minds about people and tell them what is wrong with them and how they should change, we only create more division. Jesus says it clearly, "Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge; ... do not condemn; ... forgive." (Luke 6:36-37)
If you have to evaluate, classify, and label, I hope you are in one of the sciences. Otherwise, along with judging and condemning, don't do it, please! Be friendly, be open, be hopeful, and offer a helping hand instead. And forgive others who have not yet learned this lesson and walk a darker, more difficult path. Pray that they will find this better way to live, and soon!  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Peace

Sermon based on John 14:23-29:

23Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will
love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you
hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

25”I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate,
the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you
everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I
leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the
world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be
afraid.

28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told
you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

Explores what it means to be gifted with the peace of Jesus.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Blessing for Your Day

Go forth in peace, but not in complacency; be strong, but not arrogant; have conviction, but be understanding of the beliefs of others; be eager to love, but not meddlesome; be proud enough not to have contempt for yourselves, but sufficiently humble not to be jealous of your neighbors. Go forth in peace. 

From A Manual of Worship. John E. Skoglund & Nancy E. Hall

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

God's Blessing for You

God bless you and keep you.
God's face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
God look upon you with love and give you peace. 

Numbers 6:24-26

May this blessing warm your heart, put a spring in your step, and give you joy.

From your friends at Lansdowne Baptist Church

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Putting Aside the Hateful Meme

I am growing increasingly disturbed with hateful "memes" abounding on social media of all sorts.  So many of those pithy pictures and quotes are designed to divide people. A great many memes essentially say, if you do not agree with me, you are subhuman. Making people into subhuman "others" is the first step toward violence against them. Before sending another hateful meme, we should all pause and ask ourselves, "Who do I know who is being unfairly tarred by the gross generalization here?" Ask, "Does this stand with or violate the two great commandments to love God and neighbor (everyone)?"

Let's all do what we can to stem the tide of divisive hatred leading to violence.

Thanks.