Text: Luke 24:1-12

When I say “Christ is Risen” you say “Christ is Risen indeed!”

“Christ is risen!…..

“Christ is risen!…..

After a season of Lent, 40 days of wandering through the wilderness of racism’s persistence around us and within us…We need resurrection.

After confronting the devil of white privilege and its many temptations…We need resurrection.

After considering the subtle lure of colorblindness, naming and rejecting racial hierarchy…We all need resurrection.

After honoring and lamenting names of the crucified, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, after confessing our own complicity in systems and attitudes that possess and oppress, after last week’s spoken word throw down, memorized, mesmorized, Whoa, did that just happen? in a Mennonite Church?  After 40 days of wondering in the wilderness that is 21st century America…

We need, we want, we long for resurrection.

Each gospel gives a different combination of characters who first witness Jesus’ resurrection.  In John it’s Mary Magdalene who goes to the tomb alone, only to find it empty.  It Matthew, it’s Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” who go together, as the sun rose on the first day of the week.  Mark says that Mary Magdalene, Mary the...

Text: Luke 19:28-42 (Palm Sunday)

Part 1: Four hours…
Michael Brown’s body lay in the street
Barely covered up; a thin white sheet-
-of solace too late and too small to hide the feat
From the gathering crowd; already beat-
-down by the white-hot mid-August Missouri heat,
Ferguson’s misery chronicled tweet after tweet after tweet.
“I just saw someone die OMFG”

Four hours, there on Canfield Drive
A son, a nephew, a friend, alive-
-no more: fighting to survive
In a system not built for him to thrive.

A country not built for him, but built by him
A people turned to fuel for an engine so grim
God’s blessing enshrined in American hymns
Whose shallow verses barely even skim
These deeply troubled waters where so many...

But wait!  We think
Where’s the link?
People on the brink
Not white! We shrink-
-back from the stink
Of all that ink
Spilled to prove
Will always be at least two-fifths more
And that’s just the compromise

Now, no longer chains but boot straps

Text: John 12:1-8


You know, Judas had a point.

Everybody knew the spikenard in that flask was liquid money.  Rather than being poured out on Jesus’ feet, it could have been sold, the money given to the poor.  Judas declares that it’s worth 300 denarii, nearly a year’s wages for a laborer.  No one contests the estimate.  Spikenard was imported from the Himalayas and was a precious commodity.  It would take the average person a whole year’s worth of work, all the earnings put into savings, to purchase something so valuable, so costly, so prized.  How much do you make in a year for your labors, and how readily could you set that amount aside?  How quickly would you be willing to empty the whole account, poured out and spent, in one fleeting act of extravagance?

This is an intimate scene.  Six days before the Passover, and pilgrims are streaming into Jerusalem from all around.  Jesus has booked his reservation with his dear friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.  They live in the town of Bethany, just up and over the hill from Jerusalem, an inner ring suburb of the holy city.  John has just told the whole...

Text: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Sermon by guest preacher Regina Shands-Stoltzfus.  [Audio only]

Text: Galatians 3:23-29


Galatians 3:28 includes one of the best summaries of Paul’s understanding of the church.  It was most likely a part of an early baptismal statement.  The Apostle Paul passionately believed that Christ had broken down all the barriers that separate people from God and from each other.  The church is a place of radical inclusion.  Paul writes: “In Christ there is both Jew and Greek, both slave and free, both male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”


I mean Yes, this verse in Galatians 3 is one of the best summaries of Paul’s teachings.  And yes, he passionately believed that Christ has broken down all dividing walls, and yes, this was a baptismal vow.  And yes, the church was and is to be a place of radical inclusion.  But no, he does not write that in Christ there is both Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.

What he writes is this: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

The NIV translates...