We Shall Overcome

On Sunday, January 14, 2018 our commissioning hymn is the well-known “We Shall Overcome,” which is now most often associated with the Rev. Martin Luther King march on Washington. This song’s history is deeply entrenched in the very fields of injustice it spoke to. Voices from cotton fields, tobacco houses, labor unions, and then civil rights. Weaving it’s way through houses of worship as God’s guiding hand was praised and implored. Continue reading We Shall Overcome

Sermon Jan. 7, 2018

“God, Creation and the Twenty-First Century”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
Genesis 1:1-5
January 7, 2018

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…”
— Genesis 1:1i

The purpose of this sermon is to help people believe. But here’s my problem. Twenty-first century men and women, for the most part, cannot reconcile the truth known through science with a creation story that is painfully out of step with our time. That’s my problem, but I don’t think I am alone. Continue reading Sermon Jan. 7, 2018

Sermon Dec. 31, 2017

“Are You Coming to the Shower?”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC
John 1:1-18   Galatians 3:23-25, 4:4-7
December 31, 2017

“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God…”  John 1:12i

Would you agree to being adopted? Strange question, right? Most of us are all grownup. We’ve made it. No need to be adopted. But what if it was Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, two of the richest men in the world. Would you still hesitate? Mark me. They are not asking you to give up your lineage or to renounce those who brought you up. No. They just want you to become part of their family – an heir to the fortune. Continue reading Sermon Dec. 31, 2017

Homily, Christmas Eve 2017

Announcement-to-the-Shepherds

 

“It’s Time to Go”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Luke 2: 1-20   

Christmas Eve

 

 

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”  – Luke 2:20i

I don’t know what I would have done if I had been one of the shepherds. Angelic chorus. Voices from heaven. The glory of God.

I don’t know.

Knowing me, I would have sought some reasonable explanation. Like you I live in the twenty-first century. No angels have come flapping by. No voice from heaven. Indeed, I wonder if they would have admitted me to seminary, prepared me to lead a church, if I had claimed anything like what happened to the shepherds. All I know is that I would attempt to hold onto the reality I know. The world of cause and effect. The science of replication. I do know I would have put down the wine skin!

A first century Palestinian might have sought to obey more than understand. They lived in a world more alive with mystery, with forces unknown. Continue reading Homily, Christmas Eve 2017

Sermon Dec 24, 2017

“Risky Business”
Rev. Jeffrey Long-Middleton
Bradford Congregational Church-UCC

Luke 1: 28 – 38                                                                                                                 4th Sunday of Advent

Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.”                           — Luke 1:38i

Maybe it’s because she was so young. Some scholars suggest Mary may have been all of twelve years of age, most put her at 15 to 16. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have this to say about the adolescent brain:

…recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part. Continue reading Sermon Dec 24, 2017