Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sermon: “When Christ Turns Away”, Psalm 27:1, 4-9/Matthew 4:18-23 (January 26, 2020)


“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?...Of whom shall I be afraid?” Sometimes, it seems like scripture is telling us that the mark of true faith is a lack of fear. There’s even a rumor that the Bible says “Do not be afraid” 365 times, one for each day of the year. While that’s a pretty dramatic exaggeration, this phrase certainly is a common refrain throughout scripture. It’s no wonder, then, that we fall into the pattern of thinking that as long as we follow God, as long as we live a life of faith, we will never be afraid. We’ll have everything we need: safety, shelter, victory, comfort…a life entirely free from fear!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sermon: “Making Room in God’s House” (a.k.a., "Invitangelism", "Think Bigger", or "The Parable of the Architect"), Isaiah 49:1, 4-6/Psalm 40:1-4/John 1:35-42 (January 19, 2020)


A new parable: there once was an architect who needed to design and build a house for her own family. She, her spouse, and their two children had been displaced by a natural disaster a few years back, but the time had come for them to return to their hometown, to rebuild and start again. She was full of hope as she sat down at the drafting table, but as she considered everything that needed to go into this new house—her spouse wanted a large kitchen, her son wanted a bedroom with enough space for all of his toys while her daughter wanted one as far from her brother as possible, not to mention her own need for an at-home office—she began to become discouraged. She felt that after everything they’d been through, she didn’t have the strength to create a new home for her family, one that would meet all of their needs and help them feel safe and secure again. But, they needed somewhere to live, so she did the best she could, and they began construction.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sermon: "Turn the Page", Isaiah 42:1-9/Matthew 3:13-17 (January 12, 2020)


With all that’s going on in the world today, it’s understandable that one might want to take a break from the news once in a while. Everyone has their own way to escape from the realities of life; one of mine happens to be reading. I particularly love fantasy novels. My favorites are the ones that follow the familiar quest narrative, the hero’s journey. They do tend to be fairly predictable, but that’s part of their appeal. The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter…the literary landscape is filled with these sorts of beloved tales.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sermon: "Guiding Light", Isaiah 60:1-6/Matthew 2:1-12 (January 5, 2020)


Today is Epiphany Sunday, the day that we celebrate the magi’s arrival at Jesus’ home. This is a wonderful story with much to teach us: that the story of Christmas is one of ancient scripture being fulfilled, that Jesus’ birth was for Gentiles and Jews alike, and that mortal power often protects itself at any cost. But I don’t want to talk about any of that today.