Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quotations for Worship and Reflection

This year I've been putting a quotation on the front cover of the bulletin each Sunday. I spend a bit of time each week looking for one that goes along with the message of the sermon and hopefully the theme of the service. My intention is that the quotation will spur some thought as people enter the service and may even be something folks might want to keep if it speaks to them.

For the sake of those who may miss a service, I'm going to start posting the quotation from each Sunday here on the blog. When I've known the source of the quotation, I've included it, but sometimes the quotations are ones I've saved from various e-newsletters and the like. Below you'll find most of the ones I've used this year--at leat the ones I could find:


If we answer the call to discipleship, where will it lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To answer thia question we shall have to go to him, for only he knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows the journey’s end, but we do know that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Cost of Discipleship

One can believe in God with a very complete set of arguments, yet not have any faith that makes a difference in living.
--Georgia Harkness

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: "We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. . ."

As men have forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his time the sacred impress not of Caesar, but of God.

--Julia Ward Howe,
1870 Mother’s Day Proclamation

A colony is a beachhead, an outpost, an island of one culture in the middle of another. . . We believe that the designations of the church as a colony and Christians as resident aliens are not too strong for the modern American church—indeed, we believe it is the nature of the church, at any time and in any situation to be a colony.

Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon
Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony

“Heaven will be inherited by every man who has heaven in his soul.”

--Henry Ward Beecher

We speak sometimes of being scared stiff or paralyzed with fear, but as a pastor I’ve seen that most people react to fear by running like crazy. It doesn’t matter where they run or what they try next. They just have to keep moving. The late psychologist Rollo May has written, "Humans are the strangest of all of God’s creatures, because they run fastest when they have lost their way." This is how we get into real trouble – by running when we are lost. It is then that we make the worst mistakes with relationships, family and work. Not convinced that the Lord is leading us to green pastures, we veer off course, try a short cut or run like terrified sheep.

--Craig Barnes

On Sunday morning in contemporary America, modern disciples come straggling through the church door weighed down by cynicism, stress, pretense, power. They are sophisticated lawyers and skeptical scientists and shell-shocked journalists -- skilled practitioners in the seductions of the world, but nervous novices in the realm of the Spirit. They, like the first disciples, yearn for the living presence of God. But they are too preoccupied, suspicious, too busy to actually recognize God. In their objective world of fact and truth and matter and money, the church's world of mystery and meaning and risk and relationship seems silly. And so they are eager to discuss and debate the idea of God, but unprepared to experience or recognize the presence of God.

--Susan Andrews

“Whether your faith is that there is a God or that there is not a God, if you don’t have any doubts, you are either kidding yourself or asleep. Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.”

Frederick Buechner,
Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC

Many of us have made our world so familiar that we do not see it any more. It is an interesting question to ask yourself at night: what did I really see this day? You could be surprised at what you did not see…The human eye is always selecting what it wants to see and also evading what it does not want to see. The crucial question then is, what criteria do we use to decide what we like to see and to avoid seeing what we do not want to see? Many limited and negative lives issue directly from this narrowness of vision.

--John O’Donohue,
Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?

One of the greatest ironies available to people who take the Bible seriously is that they may be tempted to take it, and themselves, so seriously that God and the truths of God to which the Bible points may be obscured, perverted, or lost entirely.

--Peter Gomes,
The Good Book: Reading the Bible With Mind and Heart

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