Sermon | Speaking and Listening
Text: Ruth 1
Speaker: Sarah Martin

Originally this sermon was supposed to be about Ruth. But then I read what Naomi says at the end of chapter 1, the thing we just heard about her bitter life, and I was intrigued, and all the ideas I had for this sermon were about that, because my brain is kind of ornery like that. Then I thought about it, and realized, whenever this story comes up Ruth gets all the attention anyway. And Joel said it was all good, if I wanted to talk about Naomi, so that's what's gonna happen, folks. Although Ruth will make an appearance at the end.

The reason Naomi's speech intrigued me is that it's really a weird addition to the story. When Naomi and Ruth arrive back in Naomi's homeland, instead of jumping straight into the main narrative, the author gifts us this strange little interlude that's just Naomi throwing shade at God for letting all these bad things happen...

Rahab’s Story
Lavonne van der Zwaag
December 4, 2022

This is the second Sunday we are looking into the lives of the named women in Jesus’ lineage as listed in Matthew 1. Today we are hearing the story of Rahab. Once again, we’re reminded that our ancestry can include stories that are hard to hear or understand. Unlike Tamar’s story last week, Rahab doesn’t just pretend to be a prostitute; she WAS a prostitute. People like to look to Rahab’s story as being about redemption from a sinful existence to a Godly life. People believe her story shows that God had a plan for Rahab’s life and she was rescued because she chose to do God’s will. I propose that her story isn’t that straight-forward.

In articles that I found about Rahab, there was some conjecture about whether Rahab lived in poverty as an outcast in the margins of Canaanite society; or whether she was a successful business woman, a madam of sorts, whose services were sought out by...





Sermon | Tamar and Tricksters
Text: Genesis 38:1-27
Speaker: Barbara Lehman

Well. That is some tale! Convoluted, more than a bit creepy, and, for me, confusing. What in the world is going on? Who is married to whom? Who is living and who is dead? What is the purpose of this story? I was frankly repulsed by this Me Too-like account until I revisited the part about how Tamar tricks Judah. After Tamar has lost two husbands (neither of which may have been her choice, I might add) and Judah has sent her back to live in her father’s house (also not necessarily her wish) as a widow, when she hears that Judah would be traveling nearby, she decides to take action. She disguises herself as a prostitute to attract Judah, who propositions her (which tells me something unsavory about his character and that she probably knew). She asks him what he will give her and then cleverly secures collateral until he can deliver the kid...

Video of this service is not available. 

Three CMC members gave gratitude reflections

Heidi Minard

As I was preparing for this and thinking about what I wanted to say about gratitude, an idea kept nagging at me. At first, I thought about all the things I should say about gratitude - that being thankful keeps us thinking of the positive instead of the negative, that it boosts our mood and therefore improves our overall quality of life, that it’s important to think about things we are grateful for on a daily basis, etc. And while I believe that all these things are true, I kept coming back to this idea of gratitude being dished out in the form of guilt. Many times, when I am going through something difficult or struggling in some way, a voice in my head almost always comes to chastise me and say, “Your situation could be so much worse. Think of all the people around the world suffering with xyz. You should be grateful that your life is so good compared to others. Your struggle is so small. Get over yourself. Think of all you have to be grateful for.” And with these thoughts swimming...



Sermon | Looking back, looking forward 

Text: Matthew 1:1-1-16
Speakers: Joel Miller and Mark Rupp


It was Carl Sagan, the American astronomer, who first popularized the idea that the elements that make up our bodies were made by the stars.  Stars are an in-gathering of the most simple element, hydrogen, which fuses to form helium, carbon, oxygen, all the way up to iron, with higher elements forming from other star events like supernovae and neutron star collisions.  The lesson, both scientifically sound and poetically beautiful, is that all things – everyone and everything we see - share a deep kinship and common ancestry, traceable back to the stars.  “We are their children,” Sagan would say.   

This universal kinship is something worth highlighting often in a worship setting, almost unavoidable when we get to biblical stories like God taking Abraham out to look up at the stars.  Childless Abraham is fearful there will be nothing of himself that gets passed to future generations.  God offers a promise that...