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The Immediate Word
Mary Austin

Silent Songs

Psalm 137; Lamentations 1:1-6; Lamentations 3:19-26

“How can I sing the Lord’s song in AmeriKKKa?” an online voice lamented last week, following two more fatal shootings of African-American men by police officers. Paraphrasing the words of the psalmist, the comment gave voice to the rage and sorrow resulting from incidents in Charlotte and Tulsa -- emotions which spilled out into the streets with protests in the following days.
     “How do we sing God’s song in a place of oppression?” the people of Israel ask. “How do we sing God’s song in the face of danger and injustice?” people in the United States are asking after so many deaths at the hands of police officers. How do we sing a song of faith when grief and rage are so present? 
     The raw pain of the psalm is the raw pain of Tulsa and Charlotte, layered onto the pain of Baltimore and Ferguson and Cleveland and so many other places, layered onto everyday pain that simmers under the surface. By now, the hope of singing God’s song is ragged and dim for many people....
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Gospel Grandmothers

United Church has a tradition. They were known for supporting their pastors very well. Any pastor who has ever served at United will verify the truth of this tradition. Pastors, for example, consider it a privilege to serve in this congregation deep in the heart of Texas. Pastor Mike Snyder surely did. Pastor Mike, as everyone called him, had had a kind of love affair with this congregation throughout his nine years of service at United. The feeling was mutual. The people of United felt uniquely blessed by him as well.
     It was not much of a surprise, therefore, when the church board at United decided to hold a special evening meeting to honor and celebrate the ministry of Pastor Mike Snyder. Someone on the board had found out that this year was the 25th anniversary of Pastor Snyder's ordination....
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Wayne Brouwer

Grace: reinterpreting our lives

One college professor presented his class syllabus on the first day of the new semester. He pointed out that there were three papers to be written during the term, and he showed on which days those assignments had to be handed in. He said that these dates were firmly fixed, and that no student should presume that the deadline did not apply to her or him. He asked if the students were clear about this, and all heads nodded....
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John Sumwalt

Would Your Church Be Missed?

2 Timothy 1:1-14
Some years ago there was a large gathering in what was then known as the Soviet Union. A brilliant man spoke for 90 minutes on behalf of atheism, attempting to persuade the crowd to give up religion. When he was finished, a young Russian Orthodox priest approached the platform and asked if he could speak. The atheist speaker said, “Yes, but only for five minutes." The priest replied, "I won't need that much time."
     The priest mounted the stage, stood before the microphone, and cried out in a clear voice, "Alleluia, Christ is risen!"...
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

Where were you, God?

In the terrible tragedy of the Russian school siege at Beslan, where terrorists held hostage an entire school complete with tiny children on their first day at school, the world asked, "Where was God?" It's a fair question....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Mary Kay Eichelman

Trusing in God

Object: a blindfold
One day when Jesus was with his disciples, they asked him for something. Maybe we would ask Jesus for power or for money but his disciples asked for faith. In Luke 17:5 it says, The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." Faith is a big word, what does it really mean? (Wait for responses from children.) Let's use this blindfold to help us to understand it better. I need a volunteer to be blindfolded....
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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