SERMONS FOR ADVENT, CHRISTMAS AND EPIPHANY (SUNDAYS 1-8 IN ORDINARY TIME)
There is nothing lonelier than standing on the railroad track in a small town waiting for a train to come from somewhere in the distance. Even in flat country, you can always hear the train before you can see it. There is something about the conduit of the tracks carrying the sound. On a dark, cloudy, dreary day, I stood at a barren crossroads with a middle-aged man, waiting for a train to bring the coffin containing the body of his oldest son who had been killed in Vietnam. We didn't say much. We were the only people there. I knew what kind of hopes he had had for that boy.
Wilton Lewis stood with his hands on his hips, studying the sanctuary wall, not trusting himself to speak. He wanted to spit, was thwarted by the fact that he was inside, and instead swallowed hard and said, “This is vile. Disgusting and vile.” He turned to his right and added, “I apologize, Reverend Cashmore. This does not represent the good people of Port William. You know that, I hope.”
Since Albert Einstein is considered the genius above all geniuses, he is often credited quotes he never said. (If Einstein said it, it must be true.) That includes the saying that insanity is defined as doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result. Actually, it wasn't until the 1980's that he was first connected to that saying, but it doesn't matter who actually said it, because these three scriptures seem to validate the saying.
Seven years ago, our family moved from southern Virginia to northeast Wisconsin. As you might expect, spring comes later here. Fall comes earlier. And winter is a much different experience in northeast Wisconsin than it was in southern Virginia. The same temperatures that seemed bone-chilling in Virginia are good reason to leave the mufflers and mittens at home in Wisconsin. Of course, many of the retired folks in my congregation here take their cue from the geese and fly south for the winter each year.