Sermons by Chris Kliesen Wehrman

Balaam’s Ass Tells the Truth

This Sunday as we return to the Base Camp of our church community to rest and reflect, refuel, and refresh our sense of reverence –we celebrate the animal companions that join us! Week after week, Sunday by Sunday, our congregation is rich with four leggeds, winged wonders and who knows who else! We are all learning and worshiping together! This Sunday we will consider a wild little story from one of our oldest collections. It’s about a seer and an ass. (Spoiler alert: one of them is a donkey.)

Who’s Counting?

This Sunday we again return to the Base Camp of our church community to rest and reflect, refuel, and refresh our sense of reverence. We remind each other of the visions that send us outward – and of the Center that shapes and guides us. Last week we heard Jesus’ lesson in conflict management, which has led us directly to this week’s question: So…what about forgiveness? How is that supposed to work, and do we really have to?!? Well, nobody HAS to do anything, but yeah, to be free, we kind of do. We’ll consider all of this from a garden perspective, where we weed and prune and plant – and then feast!

Right Relationship

September begins a new season of Base Camp in our church community. We gather to reflect and to rest, refuel, and restore a sense of reverence – and wherever we are gathered in Jesus’ name, Spirit attends. This week Jesus continues his nomadic course in Justice with a lesson on conflict management. One on one, or as groups – congregations, communities, culture – how do we live out diversity and navigate our deep differences? Let’s talk.

In the Reeds

We’ve been walking with Jesus through the gospel of Matthew. Time and again he has sought time apart and been interrupted. Today we ourselves take refuge…in a moment from the book of Exodus. How are we doing, packed in our many individual baskets? What visions might develop as we float in the reeds, held by the ‘in between’ of the living river. On this precious Sunday of our dwindling summer, we return to the Base Camp of our church community to reflect – and to rest, refuel, and restore our sense of reverence.

Jesus Once Again Raises the Bar

Jesus and the disciples are on the move when a woman appears on the edges. She calls out. She asks Jesus for help. He ignores her. And when she presses him, he calls her a (gulp) “dog.” What? We want to shout, “Where is our Jesus and what have you done with him?!” We, like the disciples, like the woman herself, ask Jesus to explain himself! Where is the lesson here? And who is meant to learn it? Humans – and canines – want to know. We return to the Base Camp of our church community to reflect – and to rest, refuel, and restore our sense of reverence.

Sailing the Storm

Today we consider a midnight storm on the Sea of Galilee, a small boat filled with workers, and the arrival of Jesus across the water – a true example of Deus ex machina! What do we know of darkness? Of storms? Of boats that seem oh-so-very-much-too-small? Of turbulent seas? Of confidence and doubt? Why, this is our natural habitat! What do we know of each other and of Jesus? We return to the Base Camp of our church community to reflect – and to rest, refuel, and restore our sense of reverence.

Leftovers

Today we consider the story of Jesus and the Miracle of the Impromptu Picnic. It is a story told SIX times in the gospel! This one must be important. Let’s talk about why…and sing and pray and share our own Table Fellowship – a present day remembering of those ancient “bring your own” meals. You are invited to bring something to your table as you join worship this morning. Something resembling Communion elements (bread and juice) or Loaves and Fishes – or a cup of tea. We will commune as we return to the Base Camp of our church community to rest, reflect, refuel, and restore our sense of reverence.

Heaven Between the Lines

This final Sunday in July we return to the Base Camp of our church community to rest, reflect, refuel, and restore our sense of reverence. We’re taking a long walk through the fields with Jesus! He’s trying to explain heaven on earth – in the midst of dust and weeds, tattered nets and hidden coins. “You see, heaven is insidious, it sneaks up on you! Except it’s also right in front of you – like a horizon or a carrot on a stick. Or heaven is in your pocket, close to hand, yet out of sight.” It’s like… It’s like… It’s like…” Let’s wonder together – and sing and pray. Let’s make like the fields – and grow.

Is it Time?

This third Sunday in July we return to the Base Camp of our church community to rest, reflect, refuel, and restore our sense of reverence. We turn again to Jesus’ lessons in the fields and encounter the riddle of the wheat and the weeds. We’ll ponder and play: Where do weeds come from? Who decides what is weedy? When? How do we get ourselves “into the weeds,” and back out? Let’s wonder – and sing and pray and simply savor this chance to gather.

Sowing by the 3 Cs

This week’s Reflection is grounded in the well-known parable of the sower and the seed, found in Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23. The message was prefaced by a video from Ted & Company, entitled, “The Sower and the Seed,” which uses the rich metaphor of making soup from a variety of ingredients.