Sermons

Text: Mark 5:21-43

There’s a quote, sometimes attributed to Plato and other times attributed to Philo of Alexandria, which goes like this: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” Sometimes I wonder, when sayings like this are assigned to multiple big names of history, if it’s more likely it was first spoken between two farmers out in some remote field, who repeated it to their neighbors and on down the road it went – people thinking it so profound that it must have been said by the greatest philosopher of the Western world.

A bit of web research indicated that the oldest known appearance of these words in print was in the 1897 Christmas edition of The British Weekly. 

No matter its origin, it’s a line I came across a number of years back and have taken to heart as a pastor and as a human being.  Mostly because the second part has proven itself to be true over and over again.  As far as I can tell, even people who most appear to have their stuff together are, in some aspect life, fighting a great battle.  Whether the first part, Be kind,...

Text: Mark 6:6b-13

Whenever someone visits our church website, the first picture they see is one of hands knotting a colorful comforter.  We got the new website up and running about a year ago, and we did so with the understanding the websites are pretty much the new front door for congregations.  Before most people walk through the actual front door of a building, they walk through a website.  So, the question was, how do we want to introduce ourselves when people come to visit?  Is there an image that expresses who we have been called to be as a community that lives in the Spirit of Christ?  It wasn’t all that hard of a decision.

There are so many dimensions to how these comforters represent our mission and life together that it would take many sermons to unpack it all.  Which is a good thing, because we do this comforter blessing every year.

One of the beautiful aspects of these comforters is how the core group of Piecemakers invites the rest of us to participate in their creation – especially through the spring knotting party.  I consider that one of the high holy weekends of the year.  We get...

Text: Mark 4:26-34

Speaker: Eliza Wertenberger

Audio only.

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/20150531sermon.mp3

Text: 2 Corinthians 4:5-12

 

Advent.  Christmas.  Epiphany.  Lent.  Easter.  Eastertide.  Pentecost.

These are the seasons of the liturgical year.

It begins in early December, or late November, depending on the year.  It begins in expectation, we are waiting, we are hopeful.  A woman is pregnant, the whole world is pregnant, we are pregnant, expecting birth.  And then, What child is this? Who is this stupendous stranger? who enters the world in such a humble setting.  According to his mother, who knows best, he will bring down the powerful from their thrones and lift up the lowly.  Magnificat!  This Epiphany, this light is not just a local event, but is for all people, even those pagan astrologers who sense the cosmic signs, and come for a closer look, bearing gifts.  Jesus is baptized, preaches good news to the poor, heals the sick, hangs with outcasts, confounds the educated with earthy parables.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it, but the darkness did not comprehend it.  The light enters the wilderness of Lent, calls for a whole new way of thinking, new neurological pathways so that we can see and hear what’s really...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/20150524sermon.mp3

Text: Acts 2:1-13

I wonder how many languages we have represented here – that we can speak or at least partially understand.  We speak English, Spanish, Japanese, some Chinese, German, sing language…  What others?…. Some of you speak fluently in the language of music, its notations, its layers of meaning, its references to itself and beyond itself, each instrument speaking its own dialect.  Some of you are attuned to the language of mathematics, the language of psychology, of physiology, the language of politics, of design, the language of computer programming – a foreign language indeed.  There is the language of children which parents learn to understand, perceiving within a moment the messages after a day at school which say, “It was a hard day,” or “today was awesome.”  There is the language each couple has developed between themselves to express their affection, and their frustrations.  There’s the unique language between siblings and friends, laced with inside jokes and obscure references to favorite movie quotes.  Who here knows the language of the chickadee, chattering away with their companion calls, their signaling of danger, and talking about lunch.  Who can understand the milkweed, speaking, “Here I am” to the monarch...

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