Sermons

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,...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/082414sermon.mp3

Twelve Scriptures Project

Texts #11, 12: Psalm 121, Romans 8:35-39

 

We have arrived at the end of the rainbow.

For the last ten weeks we have been pondering these twelves scriptures as foundational/ centering passages for our understanding of God and what it means to live a life of faith.  Next Sunday the front will look very different as the sanctuary is prepared for the wedding of Rosa W.  Even though we will be moving beyond these scriptures to focus on other things, I hope they will have a lingering presence with us in some way.  Yesterday the church commissions had a retreat and had these scriptures in front of us while talking about the kind of future we want to live into as a congregation.  And I wonder if there are other ways we can keep coming back to these passages, or to keep remembering the kind of foundation we have together.  Remembering back to my few years of construction experience with Habitat for Humanity, having the foundation in place meant it was time for the rewarding work to really start, with lots of collaboration to help something take shape.

Psalm 121 begins this way:...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/081714sermon.mp3

Twelve Scriptures Project

Text #10: Matthew 5:1-17

 

Blessed are the wealthy, for they will have all they need.

Blessed are the mentally stable, for they will keep it all under control.

Blessed are the warmakers for they will pre-empt and destroy any threat that may come their way.

Blessed are the white.  For they will have the privilege of not thinking much about being white.

Blessed are those who drink Coke, for they will Open Happiness.

Blessed are those who eat at MacDonalds, who wear Nikes, who shop with Mastercard.  For they are lovin’ it.  They will Just Do It.  Their experience is “Priceless.”

Blessed are the self-sufficient.

Blessed are the well-adjusted.

Blessed are the athletic, the youthful, the beautiful.

Blessed are you when people say all kinds of wonderful things about you.  Rejoice and be glad, for your name is golden, and your reputation is your ticket up the ladder of success.

Blessed are the…

Who gets to decide who are the blessed ones?

In Matthew 5, Jesus rolls off a series of statements that have come to be called the Beatitudes – or, as the autocorrect on Robin W’s email to me this week preferred,...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/081014sermon.mp3

 

Twelve Scriptures project

Texts #8 and 9: Romans 12:1-17; Philippians 2:5-11

 

Meditation 1: The renewing of your mind

Here is a chicken and egg type question: Which comes first? Is it that we have our minds changed and this leads to a change in our actions?  Or is it in the doing of the actions that our minds are changed?  In the case of the chicken and the egg, I heard someone say recently that this really isn’t much of a puzzle, as eggs were in existence long before there were chickens.  I guess, technically, that question should be clarified as “Which came first, the chicken, or the chicken egg?” 

But what about this other question: Does our mind form our actions, or do our actions form our mind?  Or to put it visually, does this lead to this?  Or does this lead to this?

The answer, of course, is Yes. 

Another response is that different ones of us will more naturally experience one direction of this flow more than the other.  Some of us tend to think our way into doing things.  Others of us do our way into thinking things.  In spirituality, this would...

https://joelssermons.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/20140727sermon.mp3

 

Twelve Scriptures Project

Text #6: Micah 6:8

There’s an expression you might hear from time to time: “If these walls could talk.”  This tends to get said inside a building, a space, where we recognize something significant has happened, but there aren’t any people around anymore who would have witnessed it.  No one – except for these walls, which have been here all along – could tell us the story.    If you’ve never said “if these walls could talk,” or even knew the expression existed and was available to be said, perhaps you have thought the thought behind the expression, walking into a place – and wondering what all has happened within those walls.

When we bought our house just up the street we learned that the elderly couple we were buying it from had lived in it for 50 years, raising their children and hosting their grandchildren throughout that time.  Although we didn’t have any interest in the walls of the house divulging anything about the family, we did have a sense that the walls now surrounding us had contained the long history of another family.  As it turned out, one of our first acts of...

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