Thanks! AYNIML Book Launch

AYNIML - Dec. 23

Many thanks to everyone who has helped make the launching of my most recent book such a grand experience!!

It may be too late as a present for Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s too), but, as luck (and the calendar) would have it, it’s not too late as a Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, July 4th, Labor Day, or Thanksgiving gift, or even for a birthday or anniversary celebration!

To make arrangements for a signed copy, just PM me, or you can secure a copy through Amazon. (And if you’re a Prime member, the shipping is free!)

LOVE, LOVING, LOVELY

adventweek4
(In anticipation of the fourth Sunday of Advent)

Love is the basis of faith and the touchstone of life. Jesus taught it and lived it. Our scriptures repeatedly intone it. Our lives daily confirm it.

It is the foundation of what it means to be a family.

It is at the heart of parenting.

It is the gist of our deepest friendships.

It is the cornerstone of all congregations.

It is the premier connection among human beings.

It is the first step along our quest to know God, and it is the ultimate move in our yearning to enjoy God’s grace.

To say that we “love” someone or something or someplace reveals our ultimate loyalties and greatest commitments.

To describe what “loving” is like may be, at once, one of our hardest and most enjoyable tasks.

To say something is “lovely” is to clothe in words what is most beautiful in our lives.

We cannot use the lexicon of love enough, for such words are the keys to greater intimacy among human beings and the bridge to a deeper relationship with God.

Love is not merely a laudable recommendation; we can bet our lives on it.

– Bob Hill
(From ALL YOU NEED IS MORE LOVE, Caroline Street Press, 2019)

A TIME FOR TESTIMONY

Advent-Wreath-2-candles-lit

“Testimony” is what John’s gospel says Advent and Christmas are all about for those who receive the Christ child. Strange that a gospel that contains no nativity narrative should be so on-target about what this season is for.

When John’s gospel describes John the Baptist, he also gives us our job description: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.” And we? We have been bidden by God also to be witnesses, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through that One who is the light of the world.

Now, testimony can be greatly misunderstood. Testifying is not a superior way of being Christian. To testify does not exempt us from embodied service to the needs of the world. Along with testifying, we are still to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the afflicted, shelter the homeless, visit the imprisoned, tend to the sick.

Neither is testifying a matter of coming to God’s defense as an expert witness. Nor is testifying trying to get other people to believe what we believe.

In his remarkable book “Testimony: Talking Ourselves into Being Christian,” Thomas Long declares a strong truth: “Trying to persuade other people to believe what we believe, whether it’s politics, parenting, or religion, is a classic device to shore up our own uncertainty.”

No, testimony and testifying involve us with something more.

Sometimes testifying can be tough. I must admit that I’ve grown weary of acquaintances who tell me, “Well, Rev., I really don’t believe in the kind of God I see portrayed in some churches and by some so-called religious leaders.”

“Well, Mr. So-and-So,” I usually reply, “Fred Phelps is not a representative sample of what’s best in the churches.”

Lately I’ve had another sort of response. I say, “Tell me the kind of God you don’t believe in, and I’ll bet I don’t believe in that kind of God, either. Then I will tell you about the God I do believe in.”

The testimony to which John’s gospel calls us and which is so central to Advent and Christmas is talking about God and our faith as if we truly believe what we say we believe!

So, this Advent and Christmas, let followers of Jesus speak and live as if we truly, deeply enjoyed our faith, and not as if we dreaded it. (It continues to amaze me how some Christians go around with sour expressions on their countenances, as if they had been baptized in a brine of lemon juice laced with garlic.) Let us offer our testimony to the world with such enthusiastic joy that others will know the authenticity of what we proclaim: “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 116:24)

It’s helpful to remember that sharing testimony does not have to be grandiloquent, opulent, or rhetorically resplendent. It can be as humble and plain as a simple greeting, one person to another. And a humble, plain greeting just may be a life-saving moment. I can testify to that!

— Bob Hill

(from ALL YOU NEED IS MORE LOVE, Caroline Street Press, 2019)

A THANKSGIVING PRAYER

Thanksgiving -2019.cornucopia
(This Thanksgiving Prayer is offered for common use, individually and among families and friends, for Thanksgiving meals wherever you may gather. Alongside the situations that challenge us to new expressions of courage and dedication, we still have so much for which to be thankful.)

God of one and God of all,
we pray Your holy blessing
on those who gather with gratitude
around thanksgiving tables,
here and everywhere,
families reunited
and friends made welcome and glad.

For Your provision,
prodigal in its abundance,
we are thankful.

For the life we enjoy
and the living we would dare,
we are thankful.

For the hopes engendered,
here and beyond,
we are thankful.

And we remain grateful still
for yet more blessings:
Your strength among us;
Your love within us;
Your peace when we pray and when we play,
in our work and in our rest,
in our dreams and in our jests.

With deep thanksgiving, then,
we pray for Your lasting,
shining shalom on all this day. Amen.

[From ALL YOU NEED IS MORE LOVE (Kansas City: Caroline Street Press, 2019)]

AUTUMN’S RAIMENT

(From my new book ALL YOU NEED IS MORE LOVE. The second leg of the book launch happens this Sunday, Nov. 24, with a book signing at Community Christian Church, 4601 Main Street, KCMO 64112, after the 10:30 service.)

For at least two weeks every autumn, an explosion of color blankets Kansas City and the whole of Missouri and Kansas. The traditional eruption of color in the Northeast has usually already begun, though it may be late depending on rainfall and summer conditions. Low-lying locales in Arizona and Nevada and balmy settings like the coastal areas of Texas and Florida afford other graces but not so much the enrapturing “turning of the leaves” that we enjoy here.

As autumn’s raiment is fully revealed, I suggest you make your way down Wornall Road and behold the colonnade of trees along the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail (a.k.a. Brookside Trail) between Meyer and Gregory boulevards. Some afternoons, manifestations of God’s grandeur, like a 21st century burning bush, will be blindingly present there. On some mornings, the glint of sunrise will caress the tree-tops there in mauve-and-magenta majesty and all creation will seem to have risen in praise.

Our regular lives, necessarily focused on the daily routine, may keep us from visiting picture-perfect displays of autumn’s beauty in famous places elsewhere. But no worries, the beauty is already here, where you and I live, in our own famous places, right down the block and in your yard and here in the heart of the heart of the country on a stretch of neighborhood that waits to bless with effusive visual epiphanies.

There are many signs of God’s gracings in the world, but few as arresting as Kansas City’s oaks and maples offering up their generous evidence of holy transformation.

– Bob Hill

Book Launch for ALL YOU NEED IS MORE LOVE

AYNIML - Nov. 17 launch poster.pub.large.jpg
I’m  excited to announce that the launch of my newest book will happen next week at two events, one on Sunday, Nov. 17, 5:30-7:00 pm, at The Well, 7421 Broadway, KCMO 64114 (with light refreshments provided for one and all), and another on Sunday, Nov. 24, 11:45 am- 12:45 pm at Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St., KCMO 64112.  You will be most welcome at either and/or both occasions!   (See detailed information below.)
To read the publisher’s full press release (which includes dates/locations for additional book signings in December,  click here.
To read Bill Tammeus’ review, click here.

Best,

Bob
Robert Lee Hill
Community Consultant
Minister Emeritus – Community Christian Church
cell #816-506-1014

blog site: https://wordpress.com/view/revhill.wordpress.com