Bob Cornner

Bob Cornner
Visting St. Andrew's Torrance

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


It has been said in song and verse that “It takes two to Tango.” Actually it takes two to do just about any of the ballroom dances we have been seeing lately on prime time television. I love to dance, but I find myself a bit embarrassed to get out on the dance floor when I don’t have a clue how to dance.

Madelyn and I took lessons a few years back so that I could comfortably and enjoyably get out a “dance the night away.” Once I had more or less mastered East Coast Swing and the Waltz, it was hard to keep me off the floor. What a blast it was to match movement with a melody. Time seemed to fly by each dance class and I found myself not wanting to stop.

Madelyn was already a good dancer, so I was trying to get up to speed so that we could enjoy times of dancing together. In fact, we met at a dance and it was on our first dance together that we both had a deep sense that the other person was someone we wanted in our lives. Without a lesson, we understood the fundamental truth of dance: the dance is an expression and a symbol of love.

At every wedding where there is a DJ or a band at the reception, the bride and groom traditionally have the first dance of their married life and of the day with each other. The dance is usually a slow melody, filled with special meaning for the couple, and eventually shared with their guests.

We danced to Nat King Cole’s, Unforgettable on our first dance. Again, we danced without the advantage of lessons, but the melody and the power of love, a willingness to go beyond yourself in care and faithfulness, became our teacher and the dance was danced as love offered, received, and offered back again.

That is the Trinity Three Step. Love offered. Love received. Love offered in return. God as Father, God as Son, and God as Holy Spirit, each one dancing together in endless giving, receiving, and giving again is the dance every newly married couple seeks to dance.

Would you like to join in the dance? The Holy Spirit will move you and teach you the steps of love. Jesus will show you in his life, death, and resurrection how it looks. God the Father, dances with the Son and the Holy Spirit in creating our visible and invisible universe, dancing galaxies and solar systems, small frogs, and big birds, and us into existence. All of creation is invited to dance with God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The dance is love just as surely as God is love and love always needs a beloved. Love requires partners. Will you accept love's invitation to dance?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


When we think of God and the Holy Spirit, we often imagine
these two persons of the Trinity to be outside of ourselves. We call this the transcendant nature of God. But Jesus seems to speak of God as being so initmately close to us that he is in us and those with whom we share life.

In our Gospel reading for this Sunday, one of Jesus' disciples called Phillip, asks Jesus to show himself and the other disciples the Father.

Jesus' answer actually sounds like God the Father and Jesus spoke in unison:

"Phillip, have I been with you all this time and you still do not know me?"

Jesus then goes on to tell Phillip and the others that God and Jesus shared life and love as if one was in the other. It is into this love that Jesus invited Phillip, the other disciples, and us to follow him.

Pentecost celebrates the discovery of the Holy Spirit among us and in us. When Peter preaches to those who gathered around him on that first Pentecost, he speaks by the power of the Holy Spirit to those whose ears had been opened by that same Holy Spirit.

Is God, the Holy Spirit in each of us? What are the symptoms of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us? Here are some thoughts of others who have experienced the Holy Spirit first hand.


God, who is in all things
in his mysterious, magnificent fashion,
is a father to some,
a mother to others,
a counsellor, a lord, a lover, and a judge,
according to one’s ability to comprehend
or one’s deep, instinctive, temperamental need.
In each capacity he is to an infinite degree a friend,
for friendship is the relationship I know most about.
To such a friend all plans and secrets are open,
all fears and loves, all weaknesses, revealed,
all sorrows relieved by sharing.

There is daily communication, through prayers from me
and tokens from him, large and small, of care.
He speaks to me through his present angels –
not the heavenly, disembodied voices
known to saints, but through my friends on earth –
for round about me he has set his ministers
who have supported me in endless love and kindness.
They are all facets of his grace.
For them, everlasting, I praise him.

Katherine Sawley Walker

Meditation for John 20.19-23
Pentecost, Year A
"Receive the Holy Spirit."
Suggested tune: Saint Denio or Foundation

Fresh fire falls from heaven, a sign from above that now is the moment to burn with God's love, and carry this brightness out into the world, like stars through the vast, spreading universe hurled.

Now Wisdom is calling, and gathers her friends to share in the movement of grace God intends: We come in all colors, from strange, distant lands, yet each hears a language the soul understands.

Praise God for this moment and leap at the chance to join in the Spirit's great, spiraling dance: One spark lights another until all acquire this fresh, blessed, heart-starting Pentecost fire.

Michael Hudson

“This morning my soul is greater than the world since it possesses You,
You Whom heaven and earth do not contain.”

Margaret of Cortona

“Our Lord does not come from Heaven every day to stay in a golden ciborium. He comes to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which He loves to dwell.”

Therese De Lisieux

Thursday, May 17, 2007


What does it really mean to have faith or to believe? Is it about subscribing to a set of beliefs about God and saying we accept these statements of faith? This week’s reading from John’s Gospel suggests something different from our modern view that faith is about an intellectual acceptance of faith statements.

The very Latin word, “credo,” which is the first word of the Nicene and Apostle creeds is often understood in this modern way, but the root meaning of the word has a much deeper and richer meaning. Included in credo are the words “heart” and “do” which might better be translated, “I give my heart.” When we say, “I believe,” we are saying “I give my heart to God, the Father the Almighty…” So, our believing is really about engaging in a relationship of love with God as God is described in the creeds.

Have you ever found old letters sent between two friends or lovers? Those letters often include expressions of love that are connected to shared experiences and perceptions of the two writers that have contributed to a deeper love and appreciation of one another. Perhaps one person writes about how caring and loving the other person was at a particularly difficult time. The relationship out of which such letters of love and affection are written allow us to see the hearts of both writers.

The creeds are like these letters except that they are the condensation of all of the experiences of the relationship between God and those who have come to know, trust, love, and surrender in faith to God. Since there are many different understandings of God, the creeds seek to give definition to the particular God to whom the church hopes to surrender in love. We could further summarize the church’s understanding of God by saying God is our loving creator who, unlike any earthly father, loves all of his children without exception. This God is also so filled with love for his children that when we get lost or fall into seemingly impossible circumstances, seeks us out and finds a way for us to be with us in our of times of exile, alienation, grief, blindness, pain, sin, and being lost.

To believe in God is to give our hearts to God and to come to know him. We come to know God spending time learning more about God’s creation and seeing God as the One and only creator of such beauty.

To know God we read, hear, celebrate and meditate on the stories found in Scripture. The Bible is filled with love letters between God and those who sought to know, love, trust, and serve God. Those who read the Bible may judge much of what is contained in this collection of books to be less than helpful. They may notice that there is violence done in the name of God by those who claim to know, love, trust, and serve God.

I would suggest that such accounts are simply honest confessions of how those who desire to serve God are sometimes in error. Certainly the New Testament Gospels offer a less than flattering view of those whom Jesus hand picked to follow him. Some of them asked Jesus to destroy cities that would not accept his message. Part of coming to know God is to see how Jesus responded to such requests by his followers.

To know God is to see God in the face of Jesus Christ and in the faces of those with whom we live: in ourselves, our families, our friends and our enemies; those who loves us and whom we love; and those whose lives and suffering we have in the past sought to avoid. God can be known by opening our hearts to all of these children of God.

To believe in God is to give our hearts to God and to allow God to live in us and through us. Such surrender to God is rehearsed every week in our worship together. This week as you worship, look for ways we, as a community, seek to know, love, trust, and serve God. Listen to the language of our worship.

Is the heart mentioned?

Do we hear stories from the Bible read?

Does the sermon attempt to share the Good News of God’s love for us?

Do we pray for others, some of whom we know and others who are strangers to us, but who are in some sort of pain or distress?

Do we give thanks for the creation?

Do we acknowledge, like the disciples, the many ways we have hurt others and ask for forgiveness and a change in our behavior?

Do we receive the assurance of God’s love and forgiveness and the hope of changing?

Do we offer one another the peace of Christ?

Do we share a common meal together the way Jesus shared with his closest friends?

Do we seek to serve Christ through our giving of our time, talent, and treasure?

Do we share a cup of coffee, a word of encouragement, a smile, and hug or handshake with other members of this parish or a neighbor beyond this parish family?

Lift up your hearts!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Love Come Down

A Pentecost Prayer

By The Rev. Ken Howard

O God,
the source of unity
the creator of diversity,
thank you
for reminding us
that you created your church
to be a body
and not a monolith;
a community that speaks
with many languages,
but with a common love.

Teach us to value
the diversity
in our midst.

Help us to see
that those
who are different from us
are not wrong,
only the bearers
of different gifts.

Help us to understand
that their differences
can be to us . . .
that can see
what our eyes
are blind to;
that can hear
what our ears
are deaf to;
that can express
what our voices
cannot say.

Help us to believe
that the diversity
of Your Church
is a testimony
to the power
of Your Love.