Advent 2022: Saved You a Seat

Posted December 5, 2022 by Mary Campbell in Advent

I made the decision to join South Main in a Jewish deli. Like so many of us, I was initially drawn to South Main for a plethora of reasons: the inspiring and theologically rich sermons, the unforgettable music, the breathtaking sanctuary, and so forth. Every time I visited, I would discover a new reason to come back.

Advent 2022: Second Sunday of Advent, An Image of Hope

Posted December 4, 2022 by Amy Brown in Advent

We use the word "hope" all of the time. We hope someone has a good day, we hope something works out, we hope for the best. This little word plays a big role in our communication with each other. I've heard it many times this year in relation to my cancer diagnosis and treatments, with well wishes and prayers for good days and prognosis. Hope holds the expectations and desires that motivate and…

Advent 2022: Reflect on Peace

Posted December 3, 2022 by SMBC in Advent

The Advent season has arrived, and decorations are up across town. If you are busy trimming your tree, you are not alone. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, there are approximately 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees sold in the U.S. each year. Tradition holds that Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer, began the tradition of decorating with lighted trees in the 16th…

Advent 2022: Thin Places

Posted December 2, 2022 by Rachel and Zach Graves in Advent

The end of a long run. Returning home after a trip. A job well done. A quiet room. Watching our dogs as they sleep. Relaxing on the beach. Standing on the summit of a mountain. These are glimpses of peace fulfilled in our lives. What is peace for you? Time away from people? Time with people? Deep breaths? A person? A place? An event? Maybe these moments of peace for all of us in our human…

Advent 2022: Just Come, Don't Chase

Posted December 1, 2022 by Charis Smith in Advent

I'm a list maker, a skill to be desired except at Christmas. How early do you start and at what point are you satisfied? A friend and I used to giggle in choir as we practiced "We'll Deck the Halls with Holly Bright" and checked what cards were addressed, how many cookies were made, and gatherings created and attended. The biggest hope seemed to be to survive to the end. Joy came in bursts as…

Advent 2022: Our Boo-Boos Change Over Time

Posted November 30, 2022 by Gordon Musgrove in Advent

I remember as a child getting lots of cuts and scrapes, being the youngest of three boys and always up to something. Whenever I would come inside to get them taken care of by my mom, she would comfort me. "Here, lay your hand here on the counter. Let's put some monkey blood (Mercurochrome) on it to make it better." Then she would put a Band-Aid on it and send me off to play again.

Advent 2022: Where We Find Our Enduring Peace

Posted November 29, 2022 by Robert Jeffries in Advent

Peace can be a hard thing to hold on to. I know it was for me. We don't have to look far to know why. Social media and television keep us connected to a 24-hour news cycle of polarizing politics, social unrest, economic woes, reports of war, and the devastation of natural disasters. Add that to the struggles we have in our personal lives—illnesses, school worries, employment uncertainty, and…

Advent 2022: Waiting For God and Godot

Posted November 28, 2022 by Jonah Dove in Advent

In 1953, Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot premiered in Paris. Stay with me, this is going somewhere. The play centers on two men named Vladimir and Estragon who wait under a tree for a man named Godot who never arrives. Waiting for Godot is the most famous play in the Theatre of the Absurd—the Absurd being the philosophical idea that humans perpetually search for universal meaning when there…

Monday over Coffee: "Unreservedly"

Posted November 28, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

After finishing law school and coming home to Houston in my mid-twenties, I started attending church, but did so in a very tentative, reserved, and on-my-own-terms kind of way. About once, maybe twice a month, I'd arrive, and just as worship started, I'd find an empty pew near the back of the Sanctuary. I'd follow along in the hymnal as everyone sang, maybe humming a bit during the refrains,…

Advent 2022: First Sunday of Advent, Peace

Posted November 27, 2022 by J Hill in Advent

If you have gotten an email from me it's likely that I ended by saying Peace. For me it's a pause, a deep breath, a rest note. Peace. Sit by me during worship and you'll know about three minutes into the service that I'm not a singer. In fact, I'm not a musician in any sense of the word. That said, I do think about music—in fact I think about it a lot. I enjoy music but enjoying music doesn't…

Advent 2022: Fulfilled

Posted November 26, 2022 by Steve Wells in Worship, Pastor, Advent

Advent is an opportunity to renew our deep sense of wonder in the world. You may know Advent means "coming." We await the coming of the baby Jesus on Christmas Day. But since the first Christmas Day came more than 2000 years ago, in one sense, we are waiting for something that has already happened. That seems odd. Why would we do that? Why are we waiting on the past? It is a good question. The…

Monday Over Coffee: "Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?"

Posted November 21, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, and my all-time favorite, Roberto Clemente—I got to see all of them at the Astrodome growing up. Looking back on it, I have to hand it to my dad for taking us—my brother David, a teenager in the Big Brother program named John, and me—to so many Astro games. Dad had a taxing job, and while I know he liked going, enjoyed being with…

Monday Over Coffee: "Looking for the Scintilla"

Posted November 14, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Scintilla. Simply the way the word sounds conveys a measure of its meaning. It's wispy, ephemeral, glancing. A scintilla of evidence. A scintilla of doubt. Perhaps it's not even present. You have to look very closely. Maybe even squint a little. You have to attend to the circumstances very closely intently to detect that tiny trace, that spark. Even then it might not be there. Look again.…

Monday over Coffee: "Banking on Hope"

Posted November 7, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

I saw Walt Disney's Mary Poppins as a little kid in an enormous movie house—the Windsor Theatre in Houston's Galleria area—before the Galleria was even a thing. I recall Dick Van Dyke dancing with animated penguins and the happy ending with the kites in the sky before Mary floats away with her umbrella. I also remember a few years later, not too far from the old Windsor after they'd built the…

Monday over Coffee: "Saints & Poets"

Posted October 31, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

What if you had died yesterday, but today somehow were granted life again? Think about it. What if you had passed away last night, but this morning were restored to the very circumstances you find yourself in right this minute? With the family you have. With the friends you have. In the community you live. With your health even such as it may be. Restored to the present in all things.…

Monday Over Coffee: "School"

Posted October 24, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

I was thirteen years old, attending middle school at Spring Branch Junior High, and had just gone to see the doctor for a check up. The appointment had gone fine, but when my mother dropped me off at the front of the school, instead of going back in, I waved as she drove away, and I then wandered off, playing hooky for the rest of the day. I don't recall exactly what I did. I wasn't busted,…

Monday Over Coffee: "The Fog"

Posted October 17, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Not too long ago, my wife Kelly and I were in New York and caught a show on Broadway, an impressive staging of Shakespeare's MacBeth. While there are a number of striking lines in the play, one particular passage really resonated with me. Early in the first act, after a victory in battle, the heroic MacBeth and his friend, Banquo, encounter three mysterious witches who foretell that MacBeth…

Monday Over Coffee: "The Line"

Posted October 10, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

My son Charlie was an undersized offensive lineman in high school, but he used a good understanding of leverage and a high football IQ to contribute whenever he got into the game. On a basic running play, the general assignment of any offensive lineman is to push the defense back so his own team might advance the ball beyond the line of scrimmage. However, if the linemen don't do their jobs,…

Monday Over Coffee: "Mercy"

Posted October 3, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

One of my lasting memories of my grandmother, Gertie Warren Funderburk, was how she'd respond when I had done something original—like sink a fish hook in my finger, or carry a bushel of pecans from the yard into her house in my stretched out t-shirt. She'd trill out a deep breath in a weary whistle, and say, "Mercy!" Back then, the only time I reached for the word myself was when gamely…

Monday Over Coffee: "I Wonder..."

Posted September 26, 2022 by Greg Funderburk in Monday Over Coffee

Growing up, I had a boxful of sleek Hot Wheels and yards and yards of the bright orange tracks along which the little cars zoomed. The loop-the-loop add-on never worked that well, but it did enhance the drama of the crashes. As marshal-general of multiple units of little green plastic soldiers, I strategized over many a pitched battle on the floor of our living room. And I loved my G.I. Joes—…