Sermons

Texts: Isaiah 55:1-9; Luke 13:1-9

Speaker: Rachael Miller

“Scripture says: Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.”
Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.
This line from the musical Hamilton comes from Micah, chapter 4. It’s the bit that follows the familiar verse:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not rise up against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

It is an image of peace, prosperity, and safety. The fig is a ready image and a frequent metaphor for the people of ancient Israel. It is used to signify both times of prosperity (as when the tree is full of fruit), and times of unrighteousness and divine judgement (as when the tree has no fruit).

In the parable Robin just read, the fig tree is barren. I haven’t heard many sermons on this passage in my life. What I have heard, and as I’ve read this on my own, the thrust of the parable is this: all sinners are alike and deserve death, and...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/20190317sermon.mp3

Texts: Genesis 15:1-6, 12-16; Luke 13:31-35

One of the comic strips that has rotated on and off my office bulletin board is from Opus.  For the uninitiated, Opus is a large-beaked penguin in a world of humans, plus Bill the Cat.   This particular strip is set outside in a grassy meadow.  Opus and his young friends Oliver, Michael and Milo are sitting under a night sky.  Opus begins by looking at the reader and saying: “I love these summer evening reality checks from Oliver.”  Oliver, the intellectual of the bunch, takes it from there.  Sitting by his telescope, Oliver says to the others: “Hold out a speck of sand at arm’s length…”  The picture moves in tighter on the grain of sand he is holding up.  Then we can see through it, revealing the piece of outer space that lies on the other side.  Oliver says, “That’s the portion of the night sky at which they pointed the Hubble telescope for a week.  It was there – deep within the dot of dark nothingness ten billion light years distant – that they found the unexpected:  Galaxies!  Thousands!  Thousands!  …with billions of stars…and trillions of new worlds.  And beyond...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/20190310sermon.mp3

Texts: Deutermonomy 26:1-11; Luke 4:1-13

Speaker: Joel

11 million data points.

A week and a half ago I was up in Elkhart, Indiana.  I was attending the Pastors and Leaders event at the Mennonite seminary where I graduated – AMBS.  One of the speakers was Dr. David Anderson Hooker.  He’s a core faculty member at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

The topic was systemic racism and the church’s response.  Part of his talk touched on how we unconsciously classify and categorize people, right when we see or hear them, with race as a primary construct.

The best research out there, Dr Anderson Hooker noted, the best research we have to date suggests that at any given moment there are about 11 million data points within a person’s field of perception.  11 million.

So, the feel of your big toe in your sock, that’s a data point.  Your sock rubbing up against your shoe, that’s a data point.  The feel of your breath exhaling out of your nose, and the way it passes over your upper lip.  Data points.  The air temperature.  The sound of my voice.  The sound of a seat mate shifting on the...

Text: 1 Kings 19: 3-13

Speakers: Christina King, Bethany Davey, Becca Lachman

(Christina) Elijah Runs Away to the desert after his life has been threatened: Elijah walked another whole day into the desert...Finally, he lay down in the shade and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel woke him up and said,

(Bethany) “Get up and eat.”

(Christina) Elijah looked around, and by his head was a jar of water and some baked bread. He sat up, ate and drank, then lay down and went back to sleep. Soon the angel woke him again and said,

(Bethany) “Get up and eat, or else you'll get too tired to travel.”

(Christina) So Elijah sat up and ate and drank. The food and water made him strong enough to walk 40 more days. At last, he reached Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, and he spent the night there in a cave.  While Elijah was on Mount Sinai, God asked,

(Becca) “Elijah, why are you here?”

(Christina) He answered, “God All-Powerful, I've always done my best to obey you. But yourpeople have broken their solemn promise to you. They have torn down your altars and killed all your prophets, except me. And now they...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/20190224sermon.mp3

Texts: Luke 5:1-11; 8:1-3

Speaker: Joel Miller

Luke 5 tells the story of Jesus calling his first disciples.

He’s standing by Lake Gennesaret, a local name for the Sea of Galilee.  It’s early in his public ministry, but he’s already well known.  A crowd forms around him, “pressing in” as Luke says.  Jesus needs some space.  His solution is to borrow a nearby boat, climbing in, asking its owners to put out into the lake a bit.  From this floating pulpit, Jesus teaches the crowds.

The teaching session ends, and the focus of the story shifts away from the crowds and toward the fishermen who are left in the boat with Jesus.  The boat belongs to Simon Peter.  Other gospels indicate his brother Andrew was there too.  Jesus tells them to push out even further, to deep water, and let down their nets.  They’d been working all night with nothing to show for it, but Simon agrees to give it one more go.  They let down their nets.  This time they catch so many fish they have to call over their business partners to help them pull it in.  Another set of brothers, James and John, bring their...

Pages