Faith Words

Revolutionary Lifestyle

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
March 1, 2015
“Revolutionary Lifestyle” (1)

Making journeys is not unusual these days. People move to find work. People move to study. Young folks think nothing of travelling for gaps of years. We are a very mobile society.  But the journey of the Lenten season is different. It is an inward journey.

On this second Sunday of Lent Mark’s reading provides many firsts:

The first mention of the cross and the first of 3 times that Jesus discloses his forth             coming death to his disciples. In each case the disciples will respond inappropriately           after which Jesus will offer a call: “If anyone will follow me, let him take up his cross and          follow me.” (Mark. 8:34)

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Wade in the Water

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
February 22, 2015
“Wade in the Water”

Meditation for the 1st Sunday in Lent

Today is the first Sunday in Lent.  Because of the weather our Ash Wednesday service had to be cancelled, so this is the beginning of our Lenten journey. Often when you think of Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season, the images of sack cloth and ashes come to mind. But what you may not know is that in the early church Lent was a time to prepare for Baptism; Baptism that would occur on Easter. When we think of Baptism, a different image comes to our minds – water.

Shallow waters are where non-swimmers feel safe…  where people wade and wait. It is a place where people test the climate.

Deep waters can be scary, dangerous, and exciting!   It is a place to strive toward …deep relationships …deep connections…deep understandings. After all, deep waters are where we find mystery…where we find deep, almost unimaginable diversity…where we can be vulnerable …where there is enough space to create deep roots…where people plunge and take chances.

Lent is about going deeper.

We learn from nature that what happens in shallow waters has a lasting effect on the deep. Small talk happens in shallow waters; it is where people build up trust and see if they want to take a relationship deeper. Sometimes   “sayings,” are said in shallow waters to be funny; but sometimes they are not.

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Shining Moments

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
February 15, 2015

“Shining Moments”

Mark 9:2-8

For many families Harry Potter has become a familiar friend. My grandchildren introduced me to this series and each year a different book in the series appeared on their Christmas lists. As time went on I became familiar with many of the characters. One of my special favorites became Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. (1) For most of the series, he is the headmaster of the wizarding school, Hogwarts.

Author J.K. Rowlings describes Professor Dumbledore this way: As a mentor to the central character Harry Potter, “Dumbledore is a very wise man who knows that Harry is going to have to learn a few hard lessons to prepare him for what may be coming in his life. He allows Harry to get into what he wouldn’t allow another pupil to do, and he also unwillingly permits Harry to confront things he’d rather protect him from.” (2)

In some ways the relationship Dumbledore had with Harry reminds me of Jesus and his followers.

Today is Transfiguration Sunday. The story is familiar; the account is recorded in three gospels – Matthew 17: 1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36 – all containing the same significant details: Jesus… a high mountain …Peter, James and John … the cloud of Presence … Moses and Elijah …and the light.

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A ‘How-to’ Manual

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
February 8, 2015

“A ‘How-to’ Manual”

Mark1:29-39

This is a story about a small seacoast village in England that routinely would become covered by dense fog. The pride of that village was a lighthouse that had been built on the north end of town where the harbor was navigable and free from the huge rocks that dotted the rest of the coast. One night the villagers had gathered on the south end of town to celebrate a local holiday. Part of that celebration included the building of a large bonfire on the beach.

That same night, a ship in the vicinity developed engine trouble. The ship’s captain, after checking his maps and charts, decided to locate on the beam from that village lighthouse and put in at that harbor for repairs. As he scanned the horizon through the fog, he caught sight of a faint glimmer of light. Thinking it to be the beam from the lighthouse, he set his course on it to go ashore.

As he came closer to land, he began to see the light more clearly and realized it was not the lighthouse but the bonfire. Quickly he changed course, later discovering that he had been only 100 yards away from one of the largest sunken boulders in that area and certain destruction of his ship. It made a difference how clearly he could see! (1)

The same can be said of us. 

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The Exorcist

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
February 1, 2015

“The Exorcist”

Mark 1: 21-28

It has been centuries since the man with the unclean spirit was healed; our understanding of our bodies has increased in leaps and bounds. We know even more about the miracles of our brains, our nervous system, our circulatory system, our skeletal system. In our day and time it is not demons that cause illness.

Today demons live in books and movies.  One of the most famous is The Exorcist (1973).

It is ranked number 2 in the list of horror movies that depict demon possession and exorcism.  Just in case you are wondering, The Shining is ranked number one – but there is also a debate on the list on whether or not it really fits in this category.

Back to The Exorcist – the website says this about the movie:

“The standard by which all other demonic possession movies are judged, The Exorcist     has terrified millions of viewers over the years with its then- (and still somewhat)            shocking portrayal of the possession of a young girl, introducing now-standard            possession movie elements like levitation, vomit, profanity and body contortions.”

If the site is correct and this is how we view demon possession, it is little wonder why many people have difficulty relating this morning’s scripture.  But what would it look like if we made an intentional decision to separate our understanding of demon possession? The view depicted in movies like the Exorcist could be understood as entertainment (or not, depending on whether or not you enjoy these types of movies or books).

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It’s Only the First Step

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
January 25, 2015

“It’s Only the First Step”

Mark 1:14-20

What would make you drop everything and pursue an entirely new life? A great job offer? A marriage proposal? The chance to make a huge difference in another part of the world? What do you think — what would prompt you to take off from everything you know for something entirely different?

That’s essentially the scene that Mark describes and, truth be told, most of us have a hard time imagining doing what the future disciples do.

Time plays a significant role in the Gospel of Mark, the key word throughout his account is “immediately!” Things happen fast in his tale…and if you blink, you just might miss a crucial detail.

It all begins with those first words Jesus utters, words of invitation and challenge: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” It is a bold proclamation! Notice, he did not say, “Keep doing what you’re doing, the kingdom of God is a ways off yet” or “the kingdom of God is what you will experience after you die.”  “No,” Jesus says, “you don’t have to wait until you die to experience a whole different kind of life. Now is the time.” 

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