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What are you seeking? Sermon for Sunday January 19, 2020

What are seeking? These are the first words spoken by Jesus in John's Gospel. Everyone is seeking something. What have you found? Where have you found it?

Gospel: John 1:29-42

John the Baptist’s witness to Jesus initiates a chain of testimony as his disciples begin to share with others what they have found.
29[John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!30This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
35The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

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What are you seeking? Sermon for Sunday January 19, 2020

What are you seeking? Sermon for Sunday January 19, 2020

What are seeking? These are the first words spoken by Jesus in John’s Gospel. Everyone is seeking something. What have you found? Where have you found it?

Gospel: John 1:29-42

John the Baptist’s witness to Jesus initiates a chain of testimony as his disciples begin to share with others what they have found.
29[John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!30This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
35The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

Baptism of Our Lord: Sunday January 12, 2020

Baptism of Our Lord: Sunday January 12, 2020

The place where Jesus is baptized is filled with reminders of our brokenness, from armed soldiers protecting an international border to the over use of the water of the Jordan River steadily shrinking the flow of the stream. Still it is a place which is made holy by God’s actions, just as we are made holy by God’s actions. 

Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17

Before Jesus begins his ministry, he is baptized by John, touched by the Spirit, and identified publicly as God’s child.
13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

 

The Fourth Sunday in Advent: Emmanuel: God With US

The Fourth Sunday in Advent: Emmanuel: God With US

It is easy to forget Mary and Jospeh were flesh and blood people, in the midst of extraordinary circumstances. Through it all God was there in the name of promise: Emmanuel: God with us. 

Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth focuses on the role of Joseph, who adopts the divinely-begotten child into the family of David and obediently gives him the name Jesus, which means “God saves.”
18Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
  and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.”24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

 

Christmas Eve 2019: One Coming to Save Us

Christmas Eve 2019: One Coming to Save Us

The great promise of this night is simply this: In the midst of our failures and frustrations, in the midst of our brokenness, God sends Jesus to save us. not by power, prestige and privilege, but through weakness, suffering and compassion.

 

Gospel: Luke 2:1-20

God’s greatest gift comes as a baby in a manger. Angels announce the “good news of great joy” and proclaim God’s blessing of peace.
1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
  and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The Third Sunday in Advent: Pointing to Jesus

The Third Sunday in Advent: Pointing to Jesus

You can leave out any number of events in the life Jesus and still tell the story of Jesus. But the gospels all agree you have got to include John the Baptist pointing people to Jesus!

Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11

John the Baptist expects the Messiah to bring God’s judgment upon the earth (Matt. 3:11-12). From a prison cell, he wonders whether Jesus is the one who will do this. Jesus’ response indicates that God’s reign is indeed being fulfilled already through healing and restoration.
2When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” 4Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
7As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written,
 ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
  who will prepare your way before you.’
11Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Advent 1 Sunday December 1, 2019: Seeing God in the World

Advent 1 Sunday December 1, 2019: Seeing God in the World

The first Sunday of the new church year always brings readings about the end of things. As Christians we begin at the end. We know the ultimate outcome. The question is not what will happen, but what will the journey be like on the way there. 

 

Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44

Jesus describes his second coming as a sudden, turbulent event that will bring about deep change to our normal, day-to-day lives. Therefore, he urges people to stay awake, be aware, and wait expectantly, because the Son of Man will come unannounced.
[Jesus said to the disciples,] 36“About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

Vices and Virtues Sermon for Christ the King Sunday 11-24-19

Vices and Virtues Sermon for Christ the King Sunday 11-24-19

The theme running through the seven deadly sins is me. Follow each of them: Wrath, envy, pride, sloth, gluttony, lust and greed and in the end they make the world all about me. Jesus invites us into a relationship with him. As we ponder the gift of the cross we cannot help but be led to care for others and the world God made. We can’t help but begin to reflect the holy virtues. 

Gospel: Luke 23:33-43

Amid scoffing and slander from those who sarcastically call him Messiah and king, Jesus reveals that to be Messiah and king is to give one’s life for others. Here he uses his power to welcome a despised sinner to paradise but puts his own death into God’s hands.
33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34⟦Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”⟧ And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Sermon Reformation Sunday October 27, 2019

Sermon Reformation Sunday October 27, 2019

Every 500 years or so changes comes to the church in a significant way. We are now in the middle of one of those times. This is a challenge and an opportunity for the church.

 

Gospel: John 8:31-36

Jesus speaks of truth and freedom as spiritual realities known through his word. He reveals the truth that sets people free from sin.
31Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Sermon October 20, 2019: Wrestling with God

Sermon October 20, 2019: Wrestling with God

Faith is not just a box to check and move on from. This day is an invitation to wrestle with God and with faith. To embrace the challenge of doubt and the promises of baptism. 

 

First Reading: Genesis 32:22-31

Returning to the home he had fled many years before after stealing his brother’s birthright and his father’s blessing, Jacob wrestles all night long with a divine adversary who ultimately blesses him and changes his name to “Israel,” a name that means “he wrestles with God.”
22The same night [Jacob] got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 24Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 27So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” 29Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 31The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Sermon Sunday October 6, 2019: The Little Things: Luke 17:5-10

Sermon Sunday October 6, 2019: The Little Things: Luke 17:5-10

We all get overwhelmed and like the disciples who hasn’t asked for a little more faith? It can be easy to forget acts of faithfulness are not just in the big things, but in small everyday acts of grace and compassion as well. 

 

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus instructs his followers about the power of faith and the duties of discipleship. He calls his disciples to adopt the attitude of servants whose actions are responses to their identity rather than works seeking reward.
5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’ ”

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