Sermon

Sermon

Sermon April 18, 2021

Not Our Home

To the exiles ... who have been chosen and destined by God the Father
and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ
and to be sprinkled with his blood:

May grace and peace be yours in abundance.

from 1 Peter 1:1-2
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Do you ever feel out of place?

In 1st Peter 1:1-9 scripture speaks of the Christians living in what is now Turkey as exiles - they are away from their homeland. The Jews knew something of exile. Scripture tells the story of their exile in Babylon. Scripture, including later in this chapter, also uses exile to speak of Christians now living on the earth - this is not our home.

Over history, Christians have sometimes removed themselves from the world around them, cloistering with other Christians and pursuing their faith in isolation. This is not the example Jesus gives us.

Jesus is our great example of living in exile, and the Apostle Paul urges us to think and live in exile as Jesus did.

Easter Worship, April 4, 2021

Christ is Risen!

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here, but has risen.
Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners,
and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

from Luke 24:5-7
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He is risen indeed!

How is your life be any different because of Easter? Is Easter a day on the calendar or the unveiling of great hope?

The resurrection of Jesus, breaking the power of sin and death, reveals that God's power and purposes far surpass human expectations.

The women who went to the tomb that morning were prepared to anoint Jesus' cold, dead body. They were confounded and confused to not find Jesus' body where it had been laid.

It wasn't until the two men (angels) asked them a key question, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen."

The women then remembered all that Jesus had told them, about how the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.

Their mourning was turned into dancing as they raced to tell the others that Jesus had risen from the dead.

Good Friday Tenebrae Service

Approaching the Cross

God proves his love for us in that
while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8
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Walk with Jesus from his time of prayer and betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane, through his trials, suffering, death on the cross, and burial in the tomb, using the words of the Gospel of John.

You are invited to listen to the words of Scripture, not just with your ears and mind, but especially with your heart and imagination as we walk alongside Jesus.

The word Tenebrae means darkening or shadows. In a Tenebrae service, as the scripture approaches Jesus' death, candles are extinguished and the darkness grows. People traditionally celebrate this type of service on the Thursday or Friday preceding Easter.

We encourage participants to designate four lights (or sets of lights) to extinguish at times designated on the screen -- moving your room into deeper darkness. Ideally when you extinguish the fourth light, your room will be mostly dark apart from the dim light of the screen for the final readings and musical piece.

Sunday Worship, March 28, 2021

Exceeding Expectations

“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Mark 11:10
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Jesus, Son of God and the Messiah, taught, healed, lived, suffered, died, and was raised, not so things would improve, but so that all creation would forever be different.

Many in the crowds shouting, "Hosanna!" welcomed Jesus as God's means of removing Roman rule and restoring Israel to its glory. Instead, Jesus' journey to Jerusalem, on the way to the cross and resurrection, is a work of God's great love and grace, offering new and eternal life and revealing the kingdom of God.

It isn't that we expect too much from Jesus, but that we expect too little.

Sunday Worship, March 21, 2021

Unless You Become

Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive
the kingdom of God
as a little child will never enter it.”

Mark 10:15
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If Jesus taught and did so many things the religious elite didn't expect, why are we surprised when he invites us to do what we may have never expected?

Rather than being a hindrance to Jesus' work, Jesus elevates the heart of a child as essential to entering the kingdom of God. 

Jesus took the children up in his arms, laid his hand upon them, and blessed them, and he longs to do the same for us.

Sunday Worship, March 14, 2021

Lord of the Sabbath, Lord of Life

Then Jesus said to them, “The sabbath was made
for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath;
so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Mark 2:28
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I would rather know the ways of life than avoiding death, the ways of heaven than the way away from hell.

I would rather live entranced by God’s love drawing me toward him than to spend my life running from evil.

I would rather live each day following Jesus than hiding from the sins of my past.

The good news is that this is the life to which Jesus calls us, a life paid for on the cross, a life we are to share with others

By declaring himself as the lord of the Sabbath, Jesus offers an invitation to life, rather than a burden to bear.

Sunday Worship, March 7, 2021

New Life

"No one puts new wine into old wineskins;
otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and the wine is lost, and so are the skins;
instead one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”

Mark 2:22
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God’s grace leads us to new life, not just a better life. Rather than recreating the past, Jesus calls for us to live fully in the present, looking forward to God's future.

May we be like new wineskins, receiving God’s mercies that are fresh every morning.

Sunday Worship, February 28, 2021

Expectations

"Jesus said, "I have come to call
not the righteous but sinners.”

Mark 2:17
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It helps to know what you’re looking for if you want to find it. As we search, wrong expectations often mislead us.

If we want to know the reality of God’s love, presence, and power in our lives, we must look past our expectations of Jesus to see who he truly is.

Sunday Worship, February 21, 2021

Dare to Live Faith

"All were amazed and glorified God, saying,
“We have never seen anything like this!”

Mark 2:12
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Often, the very things we think are interruptions are exactly where God is at work. All too often we expect God to do things the way we think he should, and if we do we can easily mistake God's purposes and presence as an interruption rather than the whole point.

In today's scripture Jesus' preaching is interrupted, but the interruption reveals Jesus as the Son of God.

Sunday Worship, February 14, 2021

Jesus Chooses

Moved with compassion,
Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him,
and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!”

Mark 1:41
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The many choices we make every day, both big and small, reveal what is most important to us. A man with leprosy says to Jesus, "If you choose, you can make me clean." Jesus chooses to do something others were afraid to do, he reaches out and touches this man others regarded as untouchable and heals him.

Jesus' choice to touch an unclean outcast reveals a powerful truth about the value God places on those in need, people regarded as unclean, and humility.

May we receive this grace for ourselves and generously share it with others - particularly those others avoid.