Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sermon: "Pentecostal Power", Acts 2:1-21/Numbers 11:24-30 (May 31, 2020--Pentecost)


Today is Pentecost. We’re all familiar with the account from Acts 2 that I read “In Other Words” a few minutes ago, where the Holy Spirit descends on the gathered community like “divided tongues of fire”. It’s a beloved story that we fondly call “the birthday of the Church” because it’s the point at which the disciples pivot from feeling lost without Jesus to taking ownership of their own ministry. It’s the point at which the gift of the Holy Spirit gives the community a sense of unity and agency.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sermon: "Hide & Seek in the Desert", Acts 1:6-14/1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11 (May 24, 2020--Ascension Sunday)


We’ve all played “Hide & Seek” before, right? Or at least we know the concept? All the players except one are hiding somewhere “out there”, and it’s the seeker’s job to go out and find them. This is essentially what Jesus is telling the disciples to do in the beginning of Acts, and calls us to do still: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” We are the seekers, and we’re tasked to go out into the world and find God’s beloved children, wherever they are, in order to share the Good News of Christ’s love with them. This echo of the Great Commission confirms that we, as people of faith, are engaged in the largest and longest-running game of Hide & Seek ever undertaken in human history. (I wonder if anyone’s called Guinness World Records yet…probably not.)

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sermon: “The Paraclete Sandwich”, John 14:15-21 (May 17, 2020)


This week’s reading from John follows directly after the passage that we read last week. Last week, we learned that there’s no “magic feather” that we need in order to do ministry, that we already have all the knowledge and skills we need to share the gospel. But just because we don’t need anything outside of ourselves to follow God’s call doesn’t mean that we’re on our own. This week, Jesus assures us that he’ll send a companion to be with us forever: the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Sermon: “Dumbo Disciples”, John 14:1-14 (May 10, 2020)


Have you ever seen the 1941 Disney movie, “Dumbo”? It’s the story of Jumbo Jr., a young circus elephant who’s mocked and scorned for his enormous ears. The other elephants mockingly call him “Dumbo” as a way to belittle him, and it works: he takes their cruelty to heart. One day, he awakes to find himself somehow perched on top of a tree. His only friend Timothy, a circus mouse, is convinced that his abnormally large ears flew him up there while he was sleeping. Being…well…an elephant (and one with low self-esteem, at that), Dumbo is, of course, skeptical. To help him overcome his uncertainty, Timothy gives Dumbo a feather, insisting that it’s magic and will allow him to fly. The feather does the trick, and Dumbo finds that he can, indeed, fly like a bird.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Sermon: "The Three(ish) Stages of Life", Acts 2:42-47/Psalm 23 (May 3, 2020)


Psalm 23 may seem to be a pretty straightforward description of God’s care, but it’s not quite as simple a passage as we might think. If we look closely, we can see that there are actually three distinct movements that grow naturally out of one another and reflect the rhythm of human life in relationship with God.