Sermons

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/20150830sermon.mp3

Text: Mark 7:1-17

Wednesday, 2:38pm.  I’m sitting at Global Gallery working on the sermon.  An email comes from Gwen, back at the church office.  She’s starting to ponder the bulletin cover image to go with today’s scripture, and is apparently discussing the matter with church Accountant Ellen Kreider at the nearby desk.  The email reads: “Inquiring minds (Ellen’s and Gwen’s) want to know: who picks these lectionary verses anyway?”

The fact that I include this note at the beginning of the sermon might tell you how far along I was at that point.

The short answer to that inquiry is that back in the 80’s an ecumenical group of Christian leaders got together and created what is now the Revised Common Lectionary.  It’s organized into a three year cycle and every Sunday includes readings from the Old Testament, a Psalm, a Gospel, and a New Testament epistle.  This is Year B, which features Mark’s Gospel.  One of the beauties of the lectionary is that it enables congregations of many different persuasions to worship with the same scriptures each Sunday.  Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish, Saint James Episcopal Church, North Broadway United Methodist Church, and Clinton Heights Luther Church, all...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/20150816sermon.mp3

Texts: 1 Kings 3:1-10; John 6:51-58

The story in 1 Kings 3 contains a question just about everybody fantasizes about some time in life.  If you were granted one wish, what would it be?  Just thinking about it for a few seconds can get your heart rate up.  We had a birthday in our house this past week, with Lily turning eight, so that question showed up in its diminished and much more limited form: So, what do you want?  Riches and fame we could not promise, but a soccer ball, a Gryffindor robe, and a commitment to keep refinishing the attic space for a bigger bedroom this fall we can handle.

When King Solomon dreams in his sleep at Gibeon and hears the voice of Yahweh say, “Ask, what shall I give you?” he had only recently become the third king of Israel.  After coming out of slavery in Egypt, entering the Promised Land, and living under a tribal confederacy for a couple hundred years, Saul had been selected as the first king – chosen in part because he was a head taller than other men, exceedingly handsome, and from a wealthy family.  David followed Saul, a...

Text: Luke 24:13-35

I arrived at our hotel in downtown Kansas City Monday evening, the day before the start of Convention.  I headed out to roam the streets for a place to eat supper, and had one of what would be many chance encounters with a friend from another corner of the Mennonite world.  Nick had grown up in the Cincinnati congregation, where I pastored before Columbus.  He had gone to Goshen College, a Mennonite school in Indiana, and studied sign language.  He shared that there were four deaf youth who had registered for Convention, and he was here as the interpreter for the youth worship services.  It was good to see him, catch up a bit on how life was going, and get in the mode of leaving plenty of time to get from one place to another in order to have space for conversations like this.  We had arrived in Kansas City for the much anticipated once-every-two-years national Convention and I was surrounded by my people, the Mennonites.

Nick’s job of interpretation connects pretty directly to the Convention theme.  The official theme was “On the way,” a phrase taken from the Emmaus Rd story in Luke 24.  In...

Audio of full worship service for the licensing of Pastor Mark Rupp at Columbus Mennonite Church.  To read and listen to just the sermon, click HERE

It takes a lot to make me angry.  Sometimes to a fault, I don’t allow myself to get emotional.  I’d rather work things out rationally, try to see it from all sides and understand all perspectives rather than just allowing emotions to take over and get angry. 

But a couple months ago, I did get angry.

I think that maybe this incident sticks out to me because it came on so unexpectedly, or maybe because I found myself with lots of emotions but no helpful outlet to turn them into something constructive. 

There I was, sitting at my computer, scrolling through my newsfeed when a news article instantly caught my attention.  The headline read: “Pennsylvania High School Students Organize ‘Anti-Gay’ Day.” 

My first reaction was, “Oh, surely not.”  Surely, I thought, this must be a satirical article.  Surely no high school would stand for something like this.  But I clicked on the link and found that it wasn’t some twisted joke that had failed to land.  According to the reports, in response to the “Day of Silence” organized by the Gay Straight Alliance at McGuffey High School in Pennyslvania, a different group of students took it upon themselves to organize...

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