'Solstice Sunrise' - (Rev. Marlin Lavanhar)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 22, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

When the sun rises on Dec. 22 it will have emerged out of the longest, darkest night of the year. Cultures around the globe and across time have found ways to celebrate and respond to both the darkness and the returning of the light. Before much was understood about astronomy, ancient people feared that the sun was dying. Fear of the darkness and alarm over the lengthening nights and shortening days was something that called people to some kind of ritual or religious response.

In religious parlance, darkness is often used as a metaphor for something negative. We hear about “going to the dark side,” or “dealing with the darkness within,” or “dark emotions,” or “dark moments in life.” But darkness has many positive attributes too: seeds grow in the dark, the womb that prepares life is dark, and nighttime is filled with many restorative blessings.

With Sunday falling on the first day of lengthening sunlight, let us begin this day and season by paying special attention and honoring the darkness, even as we come more fully into the light.

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Direct download: 2013-12-22-MLavanhar-Solstice-Sunrise.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30am CST
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'Gravity' - (Rev. Tamara Lebak) - Contemporary Service

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 15, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the contemporary service by Rev. Tamara Lebak, Associate Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Spoiler alert: this sermon is inspired by the film. If you haven’t yet seen Gravity, be forewarned, you may learn more than you want to know. You may also be influenced by my perspective on the film as a religious parable. And finally, you may want to see it before Sunday!

Dr. Ryan Stone is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, when disaster strikes. As the story unfolds, we learn that she is numb with grief over her daughter’s death, and devotes all of her time, energy, and attention to her work. Not noticing all the opportunities that Creation offers her, she gave her life completely to her tasks – so much so that it may even cause the drama that ensues. Dr. Stone, with the help of some incredible cinematography, hurls herself from space station to space station trying to get home.

The characters in Gravity float through outer space, completely vulnerable (as do we all.) Dr. Stone must decide over and over again, despite many trials, whether to give up or fight for life. You don’t have to be an astronaut to empathize. What literally grounds us – what binds us to the earth and keeps us from flying off of this planet – is gravity. What grounds you in the chaos of life?

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Direct download: 2013-12-15-TLebak-Gravity-Contemporary.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm CST
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'Gravity' - (Rev. Tamara Lebak) - Traditional Service

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 15, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the traditional service by Rev. Tamara Lebak, Associate Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Spoiler alert: this sermon is inspired by the film. If you haven’t yet seen Gravity, be forewarned, you may learn more than you want to know. You may also be influenced by my perspective on the film as a religious parable. And finally, you may want to see it before Sunday!

Dr. Ryan Stone is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, when disaster strikes. As the story unfolds, we learn that she is numb with grief over her daughter’s death, and devotes all of her time, energy, and attention to her work. Not noticing all the opportunities that Creation offers her, she gave her life completely to her tasks – so much so that it may even cause the drama that ensues. Dr. Stone, with the help of some incredible cinematography, hurls herself from space station to space station trying to get home.

The characters in Gravity float through outer space, completely vulnerable (as do we all.) Dr. Stone must decide over and over again, despite many trials, whether to give up or fight for life. You don’t have to be an astronaut to empathize. What literally grounds us – what binds us to the earth and keeps us from flying off of this planet – is gravity. What grounds you in the chaos of life?

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Direct download: 2013-12-15-TLebak-Gravity-Traditional.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30am CST
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'Gravity' - (Rev. Tamara Lebak) - The Point

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 15, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Tamara Lebak, Associate Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Spoiler alert: this sermon is inspired by the film. If you haven’t yet seen Gravity, be forewarned, you may learn more than you want to know. You may also be influenced by my perspective on the film as a religious parable. And finally, you may want to see it before Sunday!

Dr. Ryan Stone is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, when disaster strikes. As the story unfolds, we learn that she is numb with grief over her daughter’s death, and devotes all of her time, energy, and attention to her work. Not noticing all the opportunities that Creation offers her, she gave her life completely to her tasks – so much so that it may even cause the drama that ensues. Dr. Stone, with the help of some incredible cinematography, hurls herself from space station to space station trying to get home.

The characters in Gravity float through outer space, completely vulnerable (as do we all.) Dr. Stone must decide over and over again, despite many trials, whether to give up or fight for life. You don’t have to be an astronaut to empathize. What literally grounds us – what binds us to the earth and keeps us from flying off of this planet – is gravity. What grounds you in the chaos of life?

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Direct download: 2013-12-15-TLebak-Gravity-ThePoint.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:00am CST
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'Education of God' - (Rev. Marlin Lavanhar)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 8, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Does God make mistakes? And does God learn from those whom God created? The Bible makes it seem like God is continuing to change and grow as humanity changes and evolves. In this funny, heartfelt and (some would say) “heretical” message, the preacher takes on the character of God to describe what it’s like to be the Almighty, the Creator of all Existence. In the end, he truly brings God “down to earth.”

The sermon was inspired by the book, The Education of God by the Reverend David E. Bumbaugh. The book includes a series of powerful expository sermons in which the author tells the accounts of Abraham, Moses, Jonah and others from God’s perspective.

The Education of God. Bumbaugh, David E., Rising Press, Minneapolis 1994.

Rising Press First Universalist Church of Minneapolis 3400 Dupont Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55408

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Direct download: 2013-12-08-MLavanhar-Education-of-God.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm CST
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'Every Praise' - (Rev. Gerald Davis)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 1, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Gerald Davis, Adjunct Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

“Why does the caged bird sing?“ posed Maya Angelou. She tells us beautifully in her book of the same title, “Because it has a song.” You and I marvel at the remarkable resilience of those beset by disaster or life circumstances. We see them making a way out of no way. We feel their strength when they say, ”I feel like going on.“ When the poet says, ”…and still they rise," we ask ourselves, could we?

Yes, my brothers and sisters, we will consider the proposition that all of us are born not equal to a powerful force that moves us to places we never dreamed we could go. If we take ourselves too seriously we cannot ask for help. But if we humble ourselves to ask for help in overcoming those self-centered obstacles that keep us estranged from one another, our blessing is on the way!

Our theme this month is God, and we shall praise!

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Direct download: 2013-12-01-GDavis-Every-Praise.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm CST
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'Out of Sight, Out of Mind' - (Minister Randy Lewis)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 1, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Randy Lewis, Adjunct Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an important opportunity to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died.

We don’t hear about it much anymore. And World AIDS Day is often an occasion to note alarming or depressing statistics, like 33 million people are infected with HIV worldwide, and a quarter of them are unaware they have the virus…

But as important as it is to remember, and be aware, it is just as important to have hope. Although there is no cure for HIV, treatment has advanced greatly, and it is no longer considered a death sentence. People diagnosed today can have a near-normal life expectancy and live healthy and active lives.

So, my reflection is not only about enduring the storm but also about learning to dance in the rain.

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Direct download: 2013-12-01-RLewis-Out-of-Sight-Out-of-Mind.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:00am CST
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