Sermons

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/20141006sermon.mp3

Text: Ephesians 5:21 – 28

This is the first of four sermons in our Difficult Passages series.

In the Twelve Scriptures series this summer we highlighted the passages in the Bible that we see as guiding lights.  We received a lot of appreciative feedback, although several of you came to me and said something to the effect, “This is a good series, but what I’m really looking forward to is that other one about the bad Scriptures.”  That day has arrived, and for the month of October we are switching from the goodies to the baddies, pondering parts of the Bible that we find especially troubling and difficult, even antithetical to our values.

Unlike the Twelve Scriptures Project, our survey in the spring showed no clear top vote getters for the difficult passages, except for one: today’s passage from Ephesians that contains the lines “wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord.”  “For the husband is the head of the wife.”  A little later in the passage, beyond what was read, it says, “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ.”  “Fear and trembling” is a...

“Holding the World in the Light”

Speaker: Becca J.R. Lachman

Text: Psalm 27

It’s truly special to be able to share with you this morning. My husband Michael and I usually only get to join this congregation when we download Sunday services online in our Athens, Ohio home--so imagine us folding laundry or washing dishes while listening in, saying “Amen!” Secondly, my family’s 1840s farm sits just a few miles down the road. I grew up less than a 5 minutes’ drive from here, so you could say this weekend’s a homecoming for me in multiple ways.

In preparing to talk this morning, I (re)learned new layers of my extended family story. Joel read excerpts from prayers written by Johannes J. Amstutz, my Great(x3)-grandfather, who was one of the original Sonnenberg Mennonite settlers in this area from Switzerland, Sonnenberg meaning “Sun Mountain.” During his lifetime, Johannes was a farmer-artist with a severe limp, recorded in history by his faith community as the head of a household who gave the smallest donation toward the new church building. The ministers at that time did not approve of his personal prayerbook-- today, it sells roughly 2,000 copies per year. It turns out that...

Text: Luke 4:16-30

Speaker: Mark Rupp

Let me begin by saying what an honor it is to have been called to serve Columbus Mennonite.  The opportunity to serve a church in a pastoral role is something that, for a long time, I was not sure would ever be a possibility for me.  And so I thank you for being a congregation that is willing to live into your commitment to welcome all people.  I thank you for being a congregation that refuses to allow requests for patience to drown out cries of injustice.  I thank you for knowing that we cannot be silent when we know that God is near.   I am truly humbled by the opportunity to serve a congregation that has felt like home long before I even applied for this position.   May God’s Spirit continue to be felt strongly here among us as we enter into this journey together.

~~~

This past week, when someone found out which scripture I had picked for today’s sermon, she told me she could not even imagine what I was going to say about it.  This passage actually happens to be one of my favorite stories to preach about because, in...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/09142014sermon.mp3

Texts: Matthew 18:21-22; Genesis 50:15-21

On Thursday I was part of a group of clergy who got together at First Congregational Church downtown to meet with four leaders from the Sandy Hook Promise organization.  There have been enough violent events in the last couple years to lose track of which was which, but you may remember that Sandy Hook is the name of the Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where an awful and senseless act of violence was committed in December of 2012 by a troubled 20 year old young man.  To date, it remains the deadliest of all the school shootings in our country, and was targeted at the youngest kids.  From that tragedy formed the Sandy Hook Promise, a group of parents and concerned people who are mounting a national campaign to help prevent gun violence.  The executive director is a former employee of Proctor and Gamble.  He had a child at Sandy Hook who was not injured, but he personally felt a draw to redirect his vocation toward this work.  Their advocacy director told us briefly about his son Daniel, a first grader, who was killed that day – a compassionate little boy who would...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/09072014-sermon.mp3

Text: Deuteronomy 6:1-9 

 

This is a story handed down.

It is about the old days when Bill

and Florence and a lot of their kin

lived in the little tin-roofed house

beside the woods, below the hill.

Mornings, they went up the hill

to work, Florence to the house,

the men and boys to the field.

Evenings, they all came home again.

There would be talk then and laughter

and taking of ease around the porch

while the summer night closed.

But one night, McKinley, Bill’s younger brother,

stayed away late, and it was dark

when he started down the hill.

Not a star shone, not a window.

What he was going down into was

the dark, only his footsteps sounding

to prove he trod the ground.  And Bill

who had got up to cool himself,

thinking and smoking, leaning on

the jamb of the open front door,

heard McKinley coming down,

and heard his steps beat faster

as he came, for McKinley felt the pasture’s

darkness joined to all the rest

of darkness everywhere.  It touched

the depths of woods and sky and grave.

In that huge dark, things that usually

stayed put might get around,...

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