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


-- HOME --

This page is powered by Blogger. Why isn't yours?
Sunday, March 17

I always find it interesting to discover how different it is to preach a text than to simply read it aloud. One of the texts I regularly read at funeral services is Ezekiel 37, about a vision of a valley filled with dry bones. But to actually get inside the text, to try to experience what Ezekiel was experiencing, is another matter. I entitled my sermon for this morning, “Can These Bones Live?” And I found myself wishing that my parishioners could hear that question applied to them. It’s easy enough for us to find fault with others and to see the weaknesses in others. When I preached this, folks could probably understand how this applied to the Israelites. But did they have the slightest suspicion that maybe that text applied to them? And, I suppose I could ask the same about myself. “Can these bones live?” Is it possible for me to get excited again? About something? Excitement comes easily to the young, because the world is new. The young readily experience novelty. But what happens to us as we grow older? As the novelty fades? Does apathy and lethargy set it? Do we get comfortable and not WANT anything new in our lives? I noticed that in delivering a sermon recently at one point in my delivery folks in the sanctuary broke into laughter. Well, they did that in the first two congregations. In the third congregation, there was not a sound. It was--by accident?--the oldest of the three congregations. Maybe we get tired. Maybe it is too much work to laugh. Or maybe nothing is funny any more. In the vision of the valley of the dry bones, God brought the bones back to life. God breathed life into them. But what does it take for this to happen? And does God ever decide that in some cases re-birth is not worth it? A parishioner once asked me what I thought of new churches that were being built of metal instead of brick or wood. She was concerned with how well those building would last. And I asked her if it had occurred to her that many buildings outlive the congregations that inhabit them? Indeed, I have served two congregations whose buildings outlasted them. The congregations were discontinued, the buildings were sold, and new congregations of other denominations bought them. In the case of those discontinued congregations, the answer to the question, “Can these bones live?” was “No.” So, do we blame God for that? or the congregations? or does it really matter? We know that all humans are mortal. We will all experience physical death. But can the same be said for institutions? I once heard my bishop say to my congregations, “God did not bring you [this church] this far to let you die.” So, what about all the churches to which Paul wrote letters? Are they still around? No, they aren’t. So, do we blame that on God? Did God let them die? And why?

posted by John Harrison at 12:43 PM

thinking links

Alan Colmes

America Held Hostile

American Civil Liberties Union

America's War On Terrorism is about oil

The Association of World Citizens

Barnes & Noble



Bush Occupation

Bush Watch

BuzzFlash Report

Common Cause

Common Dreams

A Common Reader



Democratic Underground


Doc Searls Weblog

Earth Education

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Guardian Unlimited

i.e. America Radio Network

International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)

Journal of the Hyperlinked Organzation

Let's talk sense

Liberal Slant

London Review of Books





The Nation

The New York Review of Books

The New Yorker

Nothing Like the Truth

Political Strikes

The Progressive

Public Action, Inc.


The Smoking Gun

Smudge Report




The Upper Room


Young Democrats of America