Sermons (Page 20)

Supper with a Stranger/Savior

The first Sunday in May is renowned for its splendor! Under usual circumstances we can’t wait to go out and celebrate May Day and warm up for Cinco de Mayo! We revel in the Festival of Nations and generally, allow ourselves the intoxication of inhaling SPRING! Only this year isn’t usual. This year is unsettling – to put it mildly. And our story for the morning took place on another unusual, unsettled spring day. It happened on a road heading away from confusion and chaos and toward the revelation of a whole new way of living. We will walk the road to Emmaus.

The Seventh Day

Shhhhhh. Shall we hum a lullaby? The earth is resting. This Sunday is the third Sunday of Easter and we remember the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We celebrate LIFE when we realize the blessing of rest, the holy, healing power of Sabbath. You may want to vest your home worship space. If you like, anchor the 4 corners of you tabletop with the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water or other emblems of Creation. (A stone, a feather, a candle; a bowl of water….are simple ideas.) We will remember together and sing and pray.
Laughing Jesus

Risus Paschalis (the Easter Laugh) and the Sorrow Jar

For centuries in Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant countries, the week following Easter Sunday, culminated in “Bright Sunday” (the 2nd Sunday of the Easter season). It was observed by the faithful as “days of joy and laughter” with parties and picnics to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. The custom was rooted in the musings of early church theologians (like Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Chrysostom) that God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead. Early theologians called it “Risus paschalis – the Easter laugh.” Lately we call it Holy Humor or Holy Hilarity Sunday.

Empty Isn’t Really

Easter unplugged. Those are the words that have been running through my heart. Easter in small rooms. Easter confined. I’ve mentioned that this year Easter feels like peering inside one of those sugar eggs that contain tiny dioramas, each one a household. AND – That is exactly what we intend to do Sunday morning.

Palm Sunday: An Expression of Deepening Devotion

It is Palm Sunday! We open the gates wide and enter Holy Week. We may think of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as a measured walk down the sanctuary aisle adorned with palm branches and orderly singing. BUT in reality the procession undoubtedly looked more like a pack of sports fans jostling for position to get through the gates and into the stadium for the main event. Palm branches waving? Of course! There were palm trees everywhere. This service follows a pattern of scripture, characters, candle lighting and sung response in this service of deepening devotion. 1. A scripture passage introduces one of six characters close to Jesus. 2. A short, first-person reflection – in the words of that character – follows. 3. We pause to light a candle, in love, hope and faith. 4. Then, we sing, and move on. We often remember Holy Week with a Tenebrae service of descending darkness. This year we choose to create a service of ascending devotion.

Hamlet’s Walnut Shell: Dry Bones and Lazarus

Sunday is the 5th and final Sunday of Lent. Lent is typically a season of pilgrimage, of journeying with Jesus, and this year we are in the midst of an extraordinary journey! For most of us, every familiar pattern has been altered or disrupted. There are moments this “social distancing,” let alone, “sheltering at home,” can seem a little like being entombed, or at the very least, en-wombed, hibernating; developing. There’s a story for that! We may find nurture in our ancient literature, the lectionary stories for this week: Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones awakening to walk again – a vision of life reconstructing amidst desolation. From the Newer Testament, comes the story of the resurrection of Lazarus – new life exiting a tomb.

The Inconvenience of Anointing/Anointment/Being Anointed Psalm 23 as it appears in the United Methodist Hymnal, #136: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not WantWords in Italics are adapted from the hymnal. O, Lord, my Shepherd, I’ll not want;Thou make’st me down to lieIn pastures green; Thou leadeth meThe quiet waters by. My soul Thou doth restore againAnd me to walk doth makeWithin the paths of righteousness,E’en for Thy own name’s sake. Yea, tho’ I walk in death’s dark vale,Yet will I fear no ill;For Thou…

Who Gets Shoes? Correction: “Lake Calhoun” is now named “Bde Maka Ska.” John 4:4-30, 39-42 ERV 4 On the way to Galilee, [Jesus] had to go through the country of Samaria. 5 He came to the town called Sychar, which is near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there. Jesus was tired, so he sat down beside the well. It was about noon. 7 A Samaritan woman came to the well to get some water, and Jesus spoke to her, “Please…

Pono Like Jesus – John 3

Our worship together this Sunday is inspired, in part, by Pastor Chris and Dave’s recent vacation in Hawaii! The jet lag is passing and we thank the congregation sending us off and receiving us again with beautiful blessings. The reflection is titled “Pono Like Jesus – John 3.” The seed was a window decal featured on a sleek little, lime green SUV in a grocery store parking lot. And, as God would have it, one of the lectionary texts for this week – the 2nd week of the season of Lent – just happens to be John 3:1-17. Do you catch the God-wink? So, what does pono mean? What does a plumeria blossom lei smell like? Is paradise real? Does aloha mean hello or goodbye? And what does any of that have to do with LENT?!