Browsing articles from "November, 2011"
Nov 27, 2011

Advent Sermon: Keep Awake!

Advent_Sermon_-_Keep_Awake_11-27-2011.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Listen to a sermon by the Rev. Daniel Haas commemorating the first Sunday of Advent based on Isaiah 64:1-9 and Mark 13:24-37. It was delivered at Provo Community United Church of Christ on November 27th 2011.

Nov 20, 2011

Oldies but Goldies

Traditionally music was written for church use. The greatest rock stars for most of history wrote the hymns of the day that everybody celebrated as the latest and coolest thing. The book of psalms is like Israel’s best of worship music collection. Today’s psalm 96 explicitly encourages: “Sing a new song to the LORD!”

Johann Sebastian Bach was a hero to his contemporaries as was John Wesley to his. At some point all of this changed. When was it ever decided that church music must be two generations old before it can be called any good?
When did the church decide to no longer be the driving force of the music industry?

Nov 19, 2011

Mizmor Shir L’yom HaShabbat

Psalm 92: This psalm is a song written for use on the Sabbath, the day for rest and worship. It celebrates God’s goodness and righteousness. Many of the psalms were intended to be sung as part of the worship in the temple in Jerusalem. How are psalms used in your community of faith?

Nov 18, 2011

My communal lord and savior

Have you ever heard people say “Jesus is my personal lord and savior”.
That is nowhere to be found in the entire Bible.
Psalm 66 is actually a very good example of the parallelism of communal and personal devotion. Look at this great analysis from

Nov 17, 2011

Harvest Festival

Between Germany’s Erntedank and America’s Thanksgiving there are plenty of harvest festivals around the world.
Psalm 65 is a great song for the occasion:
10 You send abundant rain on the plowed fields and soak them with water; you soften the soil with showers and cause the young plants to grow.
11 What a rich harvest your goodness provides! Wherever you go there is plenty.
12 The pastures are filled with flocks; the hillsides are full of joy.
13 The fields are covered with sheep; the valleys are full of wheat. Everything shouts and sings for joy.

Nov 16, 2011

Geocaching Initiation

SwissToday I logged my first geocache! The day before yesterday was my first try to locate the one that is closest to our house. I was inspired by hananja who is trying to send me a Gecoin from Switzerland.

c:geoc:geo is a magnificent app and the gps in my VIZIO Tablet delivers an astonishingly accurate position.

I took the girls. One of the logs for the cache even stated: “Fun and easy one to do with the kids”. Well guess what: I was sure we stood in-front of the right tree yet could not find the cache. All of a sudden “easy” reads like “stupid if you don’t find it right away”. The hint “arkg gb gur fghzc haqre fbzr onex” did not help much. Frustrated and back at home I logged onto to see whether I can find more details that c:geo had not revealed. YES: There is is a decrypt button next to the hint! It means: “next to the stump under some bark” Gee, thanks, that is exactly what I would have needed down by the river and guess what the app could have told me that, too. Today I found it in no time. Stupid Newbie. Anyway: I am hooked!

Nov 16, 2011

Passover seder at the White House?

2 Chronicles 35:1-19 rejoices in king Josiah: “18 Since the days of the prophet Samuel, the Passover had never been celebrated like this. None of the former kings had ever celebrated a Passover like this one celebrated by King Josiah, the priests, the Levites, and the people of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem 19 in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign.”

President Obama and First Lady Michelle hosted their third Passover seder at the White House on Monday, April 18, 2011. As in the two previous seders, the White House used the Maxwell House Haggadah, published by the coffee maker, very basic but with all the elements. The food is kosher style but not kosher.

Stealing from a tradition that is not your own and then copying it poorly – Why would they even try?

Nov 15, 2011

History’s Judgment

When 2 Chronicles was composed in the 3rd century BCE its authors could easily judge the kings of the 7th century BCE. And that is exactly what is happening in today’s reading when it opens:
Verses 1-2 “Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-one years. He did what was pleasing to the LORD; he followed the example of his ancestor King David, strictly obeying all the laws of God.”

But then the following kings are no good:
Verse 28 “the punishment which I am going to bring on Jerusalem will not come until after your death.”
And, lo and behold, Josiah’s succession was a mess!

Nov 14, 2011

God is constantly changing

How does a famous hymn put it:
“Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever will be.”

Today’s reading from 1 Chronicles 17:1-27 tells a whole different story:
As long as God’s people wander through the desert, God wanders with them. As God’s people settle down in the promised land, God settles down with them. And the stories go on and on…

A God who is constantly with God’s people must be constantly changing. That is how people are.

Nov 13, 2011

Sermon Podcast: Working Together

Working_Together_11_13_20011.m4a Listen on Posterous

Listen to a sermon by the Rev. Daniel Haas for Stewardship Sunday that also commemorates Saint Martin’s Day. It was based on 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 and delivered at Provo Community United Church of Christ on November 13th 2011.