Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sermón de 2/26/2012

On the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month, I preach at St. Paul's Lutheran Church (Rodney and S. 5th) at 12:15pm in Spanish.

Esta sermón se fija en el Evangelio según Marcos 1:9-15.

Cuando yo era un adolescente, yo era un nerd. Pues, todavía lo soy, pero en esa edad era más que un nerd. estaba completamente fascinado porlas cosas científicas y las matemáticas. Yo quería ser físico. Tomaba todas las clases de matemáticas de mi esquela, puse un letrero en la puerta de mi cuarto que leía, “Matemáticas,” y les di clases particulares de matemáticas a mis amigos. En mi tiempo libre, resolvía problemas del cálculo, y quería explicar todo en mi vida con una fórmula matemática.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Subway Prayers of Ash

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the day when Christians (and from what I experienced, non-Christians) receive ashes on their forehead in the sign of the cross along with the words "remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" to remind them of their mortality, the preciousness of life, and that even in suffering and death, God is with them.

To honor the day, I went out onto the streets and subway stations of Brooklyn to give out ashes to anyone who wanted them.  I spent an hour at Macri Triangle in Williamsburg, an hour in the Metropolitan G subway station in front of the boulder in this mosaic,
(a few people appreciated the juxtaposition and took pictures of me)

and an hour in the Atlantic Terminal subway station, where I teamed up with the awesome folks from St. Lydia's Dinner Church.  

As I handed out ashes, I would also invite people to write a prayer in ash on a 2'x4' canvas: 

While many more people passed by in the subway station (and hence many more received ashes) than on the street, most were in a hurry and did not have time to write prayers.  However, those who did seemed to appreciate the experience and would often share with me a story behind what they had written.  As a result, I not only blessed strangers with a reminder of the fragility of life, but they also blessed me with a reminder of how beautiful that life is. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Transfiguration 2012 Sermon

This sermon is on 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 and Mark 9: 2-9

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that the light of the knowledge of the glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ.  Which is incredibly useful, if you are Peter, or James, or John, and have gone up the mountain with Jesus to see him transfigured, to see him shining bright with the light of God.  I, however, am not one of those disciples.   I did not see Jesus' face two thousand years ago, and so I have to look elsewhere to see the light of God's glory.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rube Goldberg Machine Worship

What would a worship service centered around building a Rube Goldberg Machine look like? That's what I asked Joseph Herscher, a Williamsburg resident and international builder of Rube Goldberg Machines, including this one:

Considering that these machines are notoriously complex, what we came up with is actually quite simple. The congregation would read a passage of scripture together. Then they would break up into small groups of 2-4 people. In these small groups people would share reflections and personal stories  that have resonance or dissonance with the passage.

Each group would then be given a large pin-board mounted on a stage flat. Every pin-board would have an identical pre-set beginning and ending connection of a Rube Goldberg Machine, along with a marble that the group has to get from that beginning to that ending. Here's an illustration of the template that a small group would start with:

(the blue ball is the marble, which is resting on a level attached to a string connect to a cup that is precariously placed so that when a marble rolls into it, it will fall, tugging on the string, lowering the level and releasing the marble on the next pin-board)

The small group's goal is to create a small segment of Rube Goldberg Machine on their pin-board. Each individual's reflection on the scripture should somehow be represented on the pin-board in a way that connects to the other individuals' reflections and allows the marble to travel from point A to point B.

The basic materials out of which the groups would build would be cardboard and pins, but tape, glue guns, dowels, pipe cleaners, wire, plastic cups, and other random objects would be supplied. To give you a sense of what a pin-board Rube Goldberg Machine looks like, check out this other video by Joseph Herscher:

This process would reoccur over the course of several weeks (maybe the length of a liturgical season), at the end of which, all the pin-boards would be connected to make one giant Rube GoldbergMachine. Each individual's stories would thus be connected to their small group's stories, which would be connected to the whole congregation's stories, which, in the form of this absurd machine, would embody God's story alive in our community. I'm excited to try it!

If you'd like a Rube GoldbergMachine for your gallery, museum, and/or event anywhere in the world, contact Joseph Herscher, he's great to work with!