Sermon: The Passing of New Things

The Rev. Alison Cornish delivered this olermon, entitled The Passing of First Things, on April 24, 2016, at PA IPL member congregation Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia.


Good morning, and thank you so very much for the invitation to be with you here this morning.  Having an opportunity to participate in worship of many different faith communities is one of delights I cherish as Executive Director of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light.

Vincent Van Gogh Ravine

I sincerely doubt that the common lectionary that lays out the cycle of scripture readings for so many Christian communities intentionally aligns itself with the relatively new, and entirely secular, holiday of Earth Day – officially 3 days ago – but what a gift they have given us this morning!  First, those beautiful images from Psalm 148 that Susan read earlier – words, in fact, that are the basis of St. Francis’ Canticle of the Sun – words that one author describes as ‘a symbiosis of praise involving humans and nature.’  And then, the vision from Revelation of a new earth, a new creation, of almost Edenic quality, coming to pass at the end times.  I’ll dig deeper into each of these in a few moments, but for now, let us savor these images, connecting perhaps to moments in our own lives when the qualities of our environs have elevated us, inspired us, nurtured Continue reading

Bike Blog 2016.7: Hill Visits

IMG_897612The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows.  Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes.  Learn more about the ride and the riders.   Today’s guest blogger: Joyce Evelyth.

The big day had finally arrived: the culmination of our trip to Washington D.C to meet with our Pennsylvania delegation. Riding on the Crescent Trail into the Capital the day before, felt exciting and patriotic. Perhaps it was just after spending time in more rural areas of PA and Maryland, but the buildings and city blocks felt gigantic, with bright stone walls, and wide sidewalks, full of tourists, school groups, and driven individuals. The symbolism and grand architecture of the city compounded feelings of importance and urgency in our purpose to discuss climate change with our leaders.IMG_89891

The 7 riders that finished the trip were split into three different groups, led by our PA-IPL staff Cricket and Rev. Alison, and our fearless trip leader Jon, to meet with 15 different Representative’s offices, including our two Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey.  Pennsylvania, of course, is a large state with many different types of populations and a history of fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure in coal and natural gas. But the fact that we were able to spend at least 30 minutes in each office (with congress out of session—it felt much more relaxed!) to discuss climate change was incredibly uplifting in a harrowing election year. Continue reading

Bike Blog 2016.6: ARRIVED!

IMG_89711The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows.  Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes.  Learn more about the ride and the riders.   Today’s guest blogger: Jon Brockopp.

WE MADE IT! We arrived in Washington, D.C. on time, dry, safe, and in great spirits. As you know, this is my fifth time organizing this trip and there is still nothing like the thrill of coming in to our nation’s capitol on a bicycle. It is a beautiful city and we happily joined the throngs of tourists in the Lincoln Memorial… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our day started with a gourmet breakfast of poached eggs, bacon, asparagus, and potatoes, all prepared by Joyce and Dave as the cyclists all arrived from their host homes. We all slept in beds – actual beds – and felt well-rested and ready for the final leg of our journey.

IMG_89391Before hitting the road, however, we had a meeting scheduled with Pastor Bill Maisch at Memorial United Methodist Church in Poolesville. Pastor Maisch is actually a retired Air Force pilot who saw action in the Persian Gulf wars – it was in part his military experience that caused him to be more concerned about the environment and seek a second career as a minister. He and Joyce Breiner (a retired air traffic controller) bonded over the wonders of B-52s while we discussed ways to motivate our congregations to become more involved in issues of social justice.

Our conversation was wide-ranging and deeply meaningful to all of us, and we left feeling that Continue reading

Bike Blog 2016.5: Mud, a couple of flats, caffeine and friends.

IMG_89021 The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows.  Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes.  Learn more about the ride and the riders.   Today’s guest blogger: Jon Brockopp.

“This is the day that the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it!” These were the words with which Pastor Gregg Meserole sent us off from Hagerstown this morning, urging us to enjoy our fellowship with one another and with God’s Creation. This we certainly did, as it was a gorgeous day.IMG_88631

We began with an early breakfast, prepared by members of Christ’s Reformed United Church of Christ: eggs, sausage, biscuits and fruit – just what hard-peddling cyclists need to begin the day. This is an amazing congregation that does so much for inner-city Hagerstown – several years ago, they acquired the dilapidated shoe factory next to the church and they have transformed that into a vital social services center. After a tour of the sanctuary and a blessing from Pastor Gregg, we were on our way. Continue reading

Bike Blog 2016.4: Lake? What lake?

IMG_88361The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows.  Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes.  Learn more about the ride and the riders.   Today’s guest blogger: Spencer Carran.

Going into our second full day of riding, we were anxiously refreshing the weather forecasts for fear of cycling through thunderstorms. By morning, the main storm cell had moved far enough past us that we could look forward to a clear route to Maryland. After spending the night at Orbisonia, we rose early to find Pastor Ed’s hospitality continuing with a breakfast of French toast and quiche. Afterwards we joined the worship service at Orbisonia United Methodist Church. This is a small, rural congregation that opened their doors to eight strangers passing through. The contemporary worship style was blended with a more traditional communion, and towards the end of the service Pastor Ed invited us to the front of the sanctuary to receive an anointment and blessing for safe travels.IMG_0391

After a quick stop at the grocery store to stock up on peanut butter and jelly, we began the 55-mile trek to Hagerstown. The first leg of our trip included many steep climbs, which made us all grateful for the relatively cool temperatures. As we continued to climb towards Cowan’s Gap State Park the mist grew thicker and thicker, until at the top we could hardly see ahead of us. Jon claims we stopped to eat lunch next to a lake, but I saw no such thing. Newly filled with our PB&J’s, we resumed our journey – much easier now that we were coasting downhill for the next portion.IMG_88531

Though there were rumors of a coffeeshop break in Mercersburg, we settled instead for beers at Flannery’s Tavern. Freshly hydrated, we continued to make excellent time and crossed the border into Maryland around 4:00PM.

Another hour or so saw Continue reading