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...

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...

Text: Romans 12:1-8

Speaker: Mark Rupp

Often when I sit down to write a sermon, I start by taking time to think about what is in the air, what kinds of things are occupying our minds, our hearts, and our lives.  With Valentine’s Day this last week, it means that, among other things, love is in the air.  It only seems right, then, to make this a sermon about love (which, aren’t they all), and to start with a love poem.  This one by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is probably familiar to many of us:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I...

Isaiah 62:1-5; John 2:1-12

Here’s a bit of CMC trivia: In what official congregational document do these words appear: “Thus we pledge to allow sufficient time for work of the congregation and to involve ourselves, on a scheduled basis in the outreach of the congregation, realizing this may conflict with an already busy schedule.”

This is a bit of an unfair question because this is more of a formerly official document.  A big clue is that we are currently working on revising our current version of this statement.  Any takers?

This line comes from our original membership commitment statement, written in the early 60’s.  It’s actually the last line of that statement.  How interesting that when our founding mothers and fathers were naming the commitments they were making to one another as they formed this new congregation, they felt compelled to end by naming a key limiting factor in anyone’s commitment to any purposeful activity: time.  We only have so much time.  We commit, we pledge, we will, we also pledge…”realizing this may conflict with an already busy schedule.”

That very last part about busy schedules didn’t make it into the Revised Standard Version of the Membership Commitment...