All posts by marcia

Sermon, Sept. 23

“Finding Our Inner Child”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Mark 9: 30-37
September 23, 2018

Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”  Mark 9:36 & 37i

What a strange passage of scripture – not because it doesn’t make sense but because of the whole bizarre scene. Continue reading Sermon, Sept. 23

Sermon, Sept. 16

“God Is Always With Us”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Psalm 116: 1-9
September 16, 2018

For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.”  Psalm 116:8i

The truth the Psalmist is affirming is one that all of us need to hear. What prevents me from hearing it is my skepticism and the unfamiliar nature of the psalmist’s language. He makes claims that are so sweeping they do not match my lived experience. In my ministry I have seen folks suffer through events no one should ever confront – the death of an 18-month-old child. I stood in the hospital room with the family. The grandmother rocked the dead child in her arms. An hour passed. The social worker told them they should consider giving the child’s body back to the healthcare team because he will start turning blue. Up till now, it only looked like the child was sleeping.

For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. God did not deliver this child from death. Tears flowed from all the eyes in that room. And, yes, we all stumbled into tomorrow. Where is this God the psalmist speaks of?

How I wish I could stand before you and with a clear conscious and unwavering confidence tell you that these first nine verses of this psalm are as they present themselves. The truth, however, is more complicated. Continue reading Sermon, Sept. 16

Bible Study 2 starts Sept 17

BS 2001

Sep 17 – Nov 5

Part II

The Bible & Its Interpretation

every Monday 7-8 pm

 

 

Pastor Jeff Long-Middleton will be leading the study that was developed from notes derived from a class offered by the Rev. Dr. Peter Gomes. This is the second of a two-part survey course in which participants are exposed to a broad overview of how the Bible has shaped and been shaped by our shared culture. we will begin our second installment with the American experience from 1820-1870 and how some saw the rise of Biblical criticism as a threat to faith’s vitality.

This is not a traditional “Bible Study.” Rather we will continue our exploration of how the Bible has been viewed from 1820 to the present. It is not so much a “Bible Study” as it is a “Study of the Bible.” You don’t need to have in-depth knowledge of the Bible to enjoy this study. But an inquiring mind helps!

Open to anyone who is curious about the Bible’s formation, historical significance and its impact for today. Bring only your open mind!

Sermon August 19, 2018

“The Limits of Fear”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Psalm 34
August 19, 2018

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.  Psalm 34:7i

The title of this sermon is “the limits of fear.” It is the 34th Psalm that drove me to this morning’s message. In its 22 verses, fear is mentioned five times – usually in reference to the wisdom of fearing God. So what does this mean for our spiritual lives? What truth can we take from this admonition to fear the Lord? Continue reading Sermon August 19, 2018

Sermon August 5, 2018

“Wilderness Wanderings”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Exodus 16:2-15
August 5, 2018

The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”  – Exodus 16:3i

Forty years. It’s a long time. For forty years the Israelites wandered in a wilderness. Babies born, people died, some fell into dementia, and hunger pecks at a people’s patients. Forty years. It is little wonder that they complained – and complain, they did. Continue reading Sermon August 5, 2018

Sermon July 29, 2018

“When Deception Occurs In High Places”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
2 Samuel 11: 1-15
July 29, 2018

Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king.   – 2 Samuel 11:8i

If the Bible is our guide, we are in trouble. The prophetic witness is clear – a people who sin, whose leaders deceive, who trample on the rights of the poor, who have given themselves over to pleasure rather than faithfulness will reap the whirlwind of God’s judgment. But don’t take my word of it. Continue reading Sermon July 29, 2018

Sermon July 22, 2018

“Good Samaritan – Bad Company?”
Rev. David Pruitt
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Luke 10:25-37
July 22, 2018

The Good Samaritan—along with the Prodigal Son are the most popular and well known of Christ’s teachings.  You’ve no doubt, already heard a number of sermons celebrating the Samaritan’s dramatic deliverance of the Jew from the ditch.  So this morning, we will travel into the tale from a different direction. Continue reading Sermon July 22, 2018

Sermon July 15, 2018

“God Can See Us Through”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Mark 6:14-29
July 15, 2018

But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”   – Mark 6:16i

This sermon has one central idea – namely, God can see us through. How we all have lived through times when this affirmation was our saving grace – God will see us through. Yet as needed as this affirmation may be, I have some explaining to do. You just heard the words of our text. You know how this ends for John and Mark spares us none of the sordid details – the immorality, deception, fear, and treachery within Herod’s house. Everything in Mark 6:14-29 is bad news for the faithful. So how can I stand here this morning and proclaim “God will see us through?” Continue reading Sermon July 15, 2018

Sermon July 8, 2018

“Can You Believe It?”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
2 Samuel 5:1-10
July 8, 2018

David had said on that day, “Whoever would strike down the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates.”   – 2 Samuel 5:8i

I am forced by my conscience to look at 2 Samuel 5:8. It may be of no concern to you but I could not let it go. That is the first reason we are looking at this passage today – it deeply troubled me. The second reason is that it may have disturbed some of you. It may cause good people of faith to stumble and question the goodness of God. And the third reason is that you may encounter folks who question your faith because of such problematic passages in the Bible. Continue reading Sermon July 8, 2018