Today, we conclude a three-part series on evil. How can we heal and break free from its harmful and addictive deception? By accepting the value of human freedom, and by looking to the example of Christ on the cross, we can choose what is good and inspire others. In this service, we also tell the inspiring story of Emil Kapaun, an army chaplain who was captured in the Korean War and ministered to fellow POWs as well as his captors.
Last month, we began a three-part series on evil: what it is, how it works, and how to overcome it. Today, we focus on the mechanism of evil. How does evil take over people’s hearts, minds, and lives? What are the ways that evil corrupts our souls and our world, through specific strategies and methods? Evil is constantly at work all around us — and it’s important to understand it, so that we can effectively resist it. In today’s service, we also tell the story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who boldly resisted evil and saved the lives of thousands of Jewish refugees during World War II.
Evil is not a popular topic to preach on or discuss. But we live in a world that is full of evil, and the inclination to sin lurks within the hearts of all of us. Throughout history, human beings have struggled to create societies where all people’s rights are respected. Why does evil so often triumph over good, and how can we change that? Today, we begin a three-part series on evil: what it is, how it works, and how to overcome it.
Many great philosophers and religious teachers throughout history have taught that people should live simply. What does this mean, and why is it so important? In our fast-paced and materialistic modern world, it’s especially easy to get caught up in the desire for worldly things. But Jesus warns of the spiritual danger of accumulating more and more stuff. In today’s service, we explore the theme of the simple life.
What does it mean to have a mature religious faith? Should we stifle our doubts and close our eyes to other religions and belief systems? Or should we explore with an open mind and be willing to embrace whatever ideas and traditions can best inspire us to live a life of higher meaning and conscience? In today’s service we explore the subject of faith, doubt, and spiritual growth. We also tell the story of Thomas Merton, a 20th century Catholic monk whose faith was deepened by interfaith dialogue and exploration of Eastern religions.
On the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate Independence Day. Why should Christians care to observe the birthday of one particular country? Like the Biblical Hebrews, the United States of America has conceived of itself as a chosen people, called by God to be an example to the world. America has sometimes failed to live up to this calling, but we should continue striving to fulfill our lofty ideals. In today’s service we discuss what it means to be a righteous nation. We also remember Washington Gladden, a prolific minister who preached that righteousness and salvation are not only for the individual, but for society as a whole.
When Christians take communion, the bread and wine of the Eucharist represent the body and blood of Christ. This sacramental ritual helps us become one with Christ, together with each other in the church. Beyond rituals, how can we feel connected with Christ so that we can grow in his divine image? In this service, we explore the theme of the church itself as the mystical body of Christ, in which we should be united in helping each other become our best selves.
Today is Pentecost, the day each year when Christians celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. In the early church, many people believed in ongoing revelations from God. For much of Christian history, this belief was suppressed, but it reemerged with the Pentecostal movement in the early 20th century. In this service we discuss the openness to the gifts of the Spirit that has brought controversy and confusion and the potential for positive change. We also tell the story of William Seymour, an African American minister who was a founding leader in the rise of Pentecostalism.
What is the meaning of salvation? Some say that people are saved if they have the right beliefs. Others say we must live a good life, following the example of Christ. And some believe that in the end, everyone will go to heaven. But how do we really ascend from the sinful world of the flesh to the heavenly world of the Spirit and attain to eternal life with God? In this week’s service we explore these important questions. We also tell the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a 20th century minister and martyr who taught that true faith can be costly.
The Bible is full of examples of the Divine Feminine, but most people think only of the male attributes of God, our Father, or the proverbial “Man Upstairs.” Without seeing God as our Heavenly Mother, mainstream Christians are missing an important part of the story. Today we celebrate Mother’s Day — and not only do we honor our human mothers, we give thanks and praise to our Mother in Heaven. We also tell the story of Pandita Ramabai, a Hindu woman who worked for equal rights for women and girls in India, and later became a Christian.