inner stillness: when everything is all the same to you, and you live for the day, and you are not dreaming and waiting

john r. harrison

my other websites
The United Methodist Churches of Sheldon, Bronaugh, and Moundville

The Southwest District of the Missouri West Conference of The United Methodist Church

The Rotary Club of Nevada, Missouri

The Beloit, Kansas, High School Class of 1960

The Academy for Spiritual formation #17

books I've been reading
Communion, Community, Commonweal: Readings for Spiritual Leadership, by John S. Mogabgab

The Ascent of a Leader: How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence, by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and Ken McElrath

The Catholic Imagination, by Andrew Greeley

Spiritual Guides for the 21st Century: Faith Stories of the Protestant Reformers

Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ, by Dallas Willard

movies I'd like to see
American Splendor


Lost in Translation

The Station Agent

Winged Migration

sermons in process
Ruth 1:1-18--"Why Go with Me?"

Mark 12:38-44--"Abundance and Poverty"

1 Samuel 1:4-20--"The Desperation of Hannah"

John 18:33-37--"An Interrogation"

Malachi 3:1-4--"Messages and Messengers"

lectures on tape in my car
Introduction to Renaissance Literature

Dante's Life and Times

Dante's Literary Antecedents

Erasmus, In Praise of Folly

Introduction to Shakespeare


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Sunday, February 24

When I taught the Disciple I Bible study, it was a startling discover for me to learn how much the participants in that course disliked the Hebrew Scriptures. When they thought of the “Old Testament” they thought of violence and war and all kinds of unpleasantness. That’s unfortunate. Because without the Hebrew Scriptures, there would be no New Covenant in Jesus Christ. But even more important, I think, we would have no major faith stories. Sure, we would have the stories of Jesus’ life and teachings, but we would not have the faith stories of an entire culture, the children of Israel. This morning I preached on the opening to Genesis 12, the call of Abram. And without that little chunk of scripture, we woldn’t have most of the Hebrew Scriptures, because that is where it all began, with a promise God made to Abram. The tricky part of the promise, though, was that it required a lot of Abram. It required faith. “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” When God promises us much, God requires much from us. Or so it seems. Leave your home. Leave your family. Leave your country. God was asking Abram to give up much of what was his identity. Could WE give up much of what is OUR identity? And where was Abram expected to go? “...to the land that I will show you.” That sounds like, “you’ll know it when you get there.” Is this blind faith or what? Well, God was promising Abram this: “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Don’t we wish we could get inside Abram’s head? Don’t we wish we knew how he was thinking, what motivated him? Because Abram is putting all his eggs in one basket. Abram is believing, absolutely, that this promise is worth giving up all that he will need to give up. However, I think that there are many examples of other people who do this. They discover a goal they wish to achieve, they believe that it can be achieved, and they are prepared to give up whatever is necessary to achieve it. Indeed, we might even say that they become obsessed with their goal. We DO know that they are absolutely, resolutely, committed to achieving their goal. I think that this is true with people in business, with athletes, with musicians, with artists. They all perceive a goal, a promise. They know that it’s not a freebie, but they believe it’s worth the price they will have to pay; it’s worth giving up that which they will sacrifice. The eleventh chapter of the letter to the Hebrews says it so well: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.” Now, I don’t think that faith always requires us to “not know where we are going,” but we often may be unsure of what the journey will entail.

posted by John Harrison at 9:05 PM

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