Sermons

Sermon Text: 

Today’s scripture is about how to talk to a plant.

Step one, go out in the wilderness.  Some sheep for companionship are optional. 

Step two, when a flame of light reflects just so from the leaves of a bush or tree or from a blade of grass, then it’s time to turn aside and walk toward it, that’s the one.

Step three, when the plant calls your name, you say “Here I am.”

Step four, take off your shoes and settle in.  You’re not going anywhere for a while. 

Feel your feet pressed onto the ground.  Feel it holding you up.  Know that the plant has pressed its feet even further than yours, deep down into the earth.  There are things, wondrous things, going on down there you’ll never see or know.  

Now you’re ready to listen.

Plants like to talk about responsibility and freedom.  You’re listening, and it speaks: “Your people are in misery and they need you.  You must lead them.  You will lead them out of bondage into a broad and beautiful land.  A land of abundance.”   

To a plant, responsibility to one’s purpose, and spacious freedom are the same thing.

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Order of Worship 

Prelude 

Welcome 

Call to Worship 

Peace Candle 

 

As we worship in place today, we light a Peace Candle in our home.

May this flame be a sign of our prayer for peace within us, among us, to the ends of the earth.

The flame joins us in spirit across distance, along with our sister church in Armenia, Colombia.

 

 

 

Music Commentary

HWB 366 | God of grace and God of glory | Fred Suter, Marlene Suter, Julie Hart, Phil Hart

Children’s Time 

Offering/Dedication Prayer

HWB 164 | When Israel was in Egypt's land | Phil Hart 

Scripture | Exodus 1:8-2:10

Sermon | Things To Do When You Fear God

Silence 

HWB 446 | Wade in the water | Steve Rolfe, bass; Tom Blosser, piano;, Alexander Martin, violin, Phil Hart, guitar and vocals 

First Fruits Announcement

Sharing of Joys and...

Sermon Text:

Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top.
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bow breaks, the cradle will fall,
And daddy will catch you, cradle and all.

It feels like several lifetimes ago, but this was one of the bedtime songs I would sing to our girls.  If I remember correctly - and the girls have confirmed this memory - I would hold them up in my arms, Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top.  Provide some in-house wind: When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.  Add some suspense by rocking them, and then letting go: When the bow breaks, the cradle will fall.  And offer a peaceful resolution, having just quickly moved my arms down a couple feet, ready to receive what gravity quickly brought into them: And daddy will catch you, cradle and all. 

If I also remember correctly, this was a terrible method of calming the girls down for sleep as they would inevitably scream “Again, again” each time. 

From a lyrical perspective, you likely notice a change from the traditional lyrics.  Not only was the updated version more fun, but it’s less bizarre and, shall we say, less...

Sermon Text:

In Matthew 20 Jesus tells one of those parables that starts out “For the kingdom of heaven is like…”  The main characters in this parable are a landowner and laborers.  The laborers are hired at different times during  the day to work in the landowner’s vineyard.  At the end of the day each laborer gets paid the same amount, even though they put in different hours.  The message of the parable is summed up at the end: “So the last will be first and the first will be last.” 

What first catches my attention about this parable is that all of the laborers are already in last place in the workforce.  They aren’t full-time employees of this vineyard owner, but day laborers. 

A typical story of a first century day laborer would be something like this: They were former landowners who had been forced into debt by heavy taxation, a poor growing season, or poor health.  To get out of debt they would have sold their land to wealthy landowners, now supporting themselves by selling one of their few remaining assets – their labor.  Many such laborers moved to urban centers to hire themselves out, a day at...

Sermon Text:

The Limit Does Not Exist

When Joel and I were deciding who would preach on which Sundays during this series on the parables, he told me that the parables chosen for the later half of the series each had their own trouble spots and might require a bit of speaking “against the text.”  So, since the reading ends at a bit of a cringe-worthy point and that’s probably freshest in your minds, let me start off by saying that it’s important to keep in mind the difference between a parable and an allegory.  

Parables are NOT meant to be a word-by-word, character-by-character parallel where each piece of the story directly reveals or represents something else.  The King may indeed be meant to represent God, but we do not need to treat every action of the character as if it reveals an undeniable truth about the nature of God.  

So while the King gets a little...torture-y at the end of the story, I do not believe we need to assume a direct parallel about Divine torture is meant when Jesus finishes by saying, “So my heavenly Father will also do to every one...

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