Sermons

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/20181223Sermon.mp3

Texts: Luke 1:39-56

This sermon was accompanied with a violin playing “My soul cries out,” Sing the Story 124, and vocals singing “Taste and see,” Sing the Journey 86.

Three months ago we were at Camp Luz for fall retreat.  After a heavy rain on Friday, it was a lovely weekend to be outside.  As usual, we played, ate, sang, talked, and ate some more.  Three of us rode our bikes the 100 miles from Westerville to Camp Luz, on the Ohio to Erie trail, rather proud of ourselves and a little surprised for having made it with no major problems.  On Sunday Jim Leonard reflected on congregational life.  Joe Mas and Linda Mercadante shared thoughts on hiking the Camino in Spain, a lifelong goal fulfilled, a pilgrimage.  After the service, we cleaned up and headed home.  Pulling out from Ravine Lodge, with my own and another bike strapped to the back of our minivan, I backed directly into a tree.  It bent the front wheel of one bike, and the frame of my new road bike.  After the somber 100 mile drive home, I took them both to the bike shop. Two days later we celebrated Ila’s...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/20181223Sermon.mp3

Texts: Luke 1:39-56

This sermon was accompanied with a violin playing “My soul cries out,” Sing the Story 124, and vocals singing “Taste and see,” Sing the Journey 86.

Three months ago we were at Camp Luz for fall retreat.  After a heavy rain on Friday, it was a lovely weekend to be outside.  As usual, we played, ate, sang, talked, and ate some more.  Three of us rode our bikes the 100 miles from Westerville to Camp Luz, on the Ohio to Erie trail, rather proud of ourselves and a little surprised for having made it with no major problems.  On Sunday Jim Leonard reflected on congregational life.  Joe Mas and Linda Mercadante shared thoughts on hiking the Camino in Spain, a lifelong goal fulfilled, a pilgrimage.  After the service, we cleaned up and headed home.  Pulling out from Ravine Lodge, with my own and another bike strapped to the back of our minivan, I backed directly into a tree.  It bent the front wheel of one bike, and the frame of my new road bike.  After the somber 100 mile drive home, I took them both to the bike shop. Two days later we celebrated Ila’s...

Texts: Luke 1:68-79; 3:1-6

Speaker: Mark Rupp

The prompt was “Where do I see God in the world around me?”  Where do I see God?  See God?  But what does that even mean?!  The more I think about it, the more unsure I become about this whole project of seeing God.  Isn’t seeing God reserved for those religious fanatics who insist that their visions are revelations of the Divine that must be heeded at all costs?  Aren’t people who see God people that we assume are in need of clinical help of some kind, or at least the kind of people that we can politely ignore?  Wouldn’t we expect talk about seeing God to be coming more from street preachers shouting their messages of armageddon doom?  Or maybe even from charlatans just looking to make a quick buck from those who are truly desperate for a glimpse of God? 

“Where do I see God in the world around me?”

This is the second week on our Advent theme exploring the five senses but our first week focusing in on one of those senses.  And “sight” feels like a lot of pressure.  It’s probably the one sense that all of us...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/20181202sermon.mp3

Texts: Luke 21:25-36; Jeremiah 33:14-16

1963 was the 100 year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.  The Civil Rights movement was in full swing.  That year King wrote “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”  President Kennedy addressed the nation about why he sent the National Guard to help protect two black students at the University of Alabama.  There was the March on Washington with its “I have a dream speech,” the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham killing four black girls.  President Kennedy was assassinated.  And, in 1963, African American writer James Baldwin wrote an essay, addressed to his 15 year old nephew, trying to explain why so many white folks were responding to all this with such fear.

To his teenage nephew, coming of age in this world, Baldwin writes this:

 “Try to imagine how you would feel, if you woke up one morning to find the sun shivering and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality. Well, the black man has functioned in the white man’s world as...

Texts: John 18:33-38a, Revelation 1:4-8

Speaker: Joel Miller

William Stafford was a pacifist and a poet.  He died August, 1993.  That month, perhaps knowing death was near, he wrote this poem, which he called, “The Way It Is.”

There is a thread you follow. It goes among Things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread.  —William Stafford

Today is the day in the church calendar known as Christ the King Sunday.  Officially, it’s the last Sunday of the liturgical year.  Next week begins Advent, when themes of expectation and birth start the cycle all over again.  This is the church’s way of keeping time.

As William Stafford observes – over the course of life, “tragedies happen; people get hurt or die.  Nothing you do can stop times unfolding.”  This past year has been no exception.  Yet, there is a thread that goes among...

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