“Unexpected Miracles” A Sermon on Isaiah 43: 16-21

Last spring, when your pastors Bruce and Barb invited me to come be with you I didn’t realize that I would be with you on a momentous day. For today is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended The First World War on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. So before this service is over we will have reached that centenary. Continue reading

“How to be a Neighbor” A Devotion on Luke 10: 29

“But wanting to justify himself, the lawyer asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
—Luke 10:29

The lawyer in The Parable of the Good Samaritan tried to trick Jesus so he asked him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered by the Book: love God and love your neighbor. But the lawyer sought a loophole: “And who is my neighbor?” What he really wanted to know was “who is not my neighbor?” Continue reading

“For Free!” A Devotion on Ephesians 2: 8, 9

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” —Ephesians 2: 8, 9

Do we take for granted those things in life that come to us for free? Since our society tends to commercialize everything, it becomes easy to value only that which we paid for or worked for. Continue reading

“The Elusive Presence” A Devotion on James 4:8

“Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.”—James 4:8

James makes knowing God sound easy, but I’ve never found it so. When I was a young man, and had outgrown my Sunday school faith, I hungered to know God, not just as an idea, but as a living relationship. Continue reading

A Eulogy for Rabbi Harold I. Salzmann

I’m Rick Floyd, a friend and clergy colleague of Rabbi Harold Salzmann. I am Pastor Emeritus of the First Church of Christ in Pittsfield down in Park Square.

I moved to Pittsfield in 1982 to be the pastor of the First Church. Harold had recently retired as rabbi here, and a few months after I arrived my friend Rabbi Alan Berg arrived to be the new rabbi.

My family and I have had a close association with the Temple. We lived across the street for 23 years. My son, Andrew, and my daughter, Rebecca, went to the Kid’s Pre-School here, under the capable watch of Lynn Denmark and Nancy Gagnon. I just saw Nancy before the service. My kids knew the Jewish Holidays before they knew their own. They began their education right here in this building. It must have been a good influence because my daughter went to Yale Divinity School and is an ordained minister. Continue reading

“Signs of God’s Reign” A Devotion on Matthew 15: 30,31.

“Great crowds came to Jesus, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.” —Matthew 15:30,31.

When the early church heard about the healings that Jesus had done they understood them as signs that the long awaited reign of God had begun in him. Continue reading