Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sermon: “Expectations Defied: Nostalgia”, Isaiah 64:1-9 (November 29, 2020)

(This is the first of five sermons in our Advent series about our expectations around the holiday season.)


So. Here we are again. Thanksgiving is over, and we’ve officially begun the Advent season. Outside of these walls, though, it’s better known as the Holiday season, or even the Christmas season. I do tend to be a stickler about not letting Christmas creep into worship early (because the Advent season of waiting is essential to understanding the joy of Christmas), but outside of the sanctuary, I’ve already had Christmas music playing since about Halloween, and every year, it’s all Nick can do to keep me from setting up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. Believe me; I can relate to that urgent need for the comfort and joy of Christmas as soon as socially acceptable (possibly even earlier).

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sermon: "You First!", Judges 4:1-9 (November 15, 2020)


Today’s scripture may be unfamiliar to some of you, but it’s a favorite of many clergywomen because it unapologetically depicts a woman in a position of religious leadership. The CEB calls Deborah a “leader”, but it’s important to realize what this means in context. In its early years, the nation of Israel had no human monarch and was “ruled” exclusively by God. However, we all know how difficult it can be to discern God’s will apart from our own, so in their times of greatest need, God would raise up a leader to help guide the people. Such leaders were less than kings and queens of Israel, but they were significantly more than mere advisors. They were known as Judges, and they essentially led the people as God’s representatives.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Sermon: "One Nation, Under God", Joshua 24:1-5, 14-16, 18b (November 8, 2020)


We join the Israelites today at a significant turning point in their history. They’ve spent forty years wandering in the wilderness under Moses’ leadership, and they’d made a pretty comfortable life for themselves (as comfortable as possible while nomads, anyway). But now, they had a new leader (Moses had died), they’d finally taken control of the promised land, and they were on the cusp of forming a new nation.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Sermon: "Markarioi", Matthew 5:1-12 (November 1, 2020--All Saints Day)

Over the past several weeks, my sermons have been discussing some of the values that God holds and expects us to hold. Through the lens of the lectionary readings, we’ve explored integrity, obedience, and holiness—and found that holding these values doesn’t always look the way we might expect. We’ve been working hard to reframe our assumptions of what God considers important so that we can better conform our lives to God’s will. And this week’s lectionary reading continues to challenge us in this regard. The title of this sermon, “Markarioi” comes from the very first word in the Beatitudes; it literally means “You are blessed.” The word “Beatitude” itself comes from the Latin word for blessing. And of course, we use this word liberally in our everyday life: “What a blessing!” “I’m so blessed!” “God bless the USA!” (or, if you’re more concerned with your immediate surroundings, “God bless this mess!”). But how often do we take the time to really think about what blessing really is?