February 2, 2020

After Jesus is tempted in the wilderness, his real ministry begins. As he travels around preaching and performing miracles, people are amazed. But when he returns to his hometown, things don’t go well. His sermon is prophetic, giving the listeners harsh news they don’t want to hear. In fact, they dislike it so much they try to push him off a cliff! Why would Jesus risk antagonizing people like that? Why didn’t he just preach things people wanted to hear?

January 26, 2020

We looked at Jesus’ time in the wilderness, the 40 days in which he was tempted. Why was this important? What did Jesus have to prove? It centered around this identity given at his baptism, “my beloved son.” How are we tempted to deny our identities as children of God?

January 19, 2020

All four gospel writers include the story (or a reference to it) of Jesus’ baptism. It is the official launch of his ministry. But why did Jesus need a a “baptism of repentance” from John? Does his baptism mean something different than our baptisms? We look at how baptism is the start of our own journey and we connected it to the ministry of Dr. King.

January 12, 2020

We started a new series on the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. But first we needed to cover the “prequel” – the one story we have in the gospels about Jesus as a child. It’s about the time Jesus was “lost” in the Temple. What does this story tell us about Jesus as he’s growing up, as he’s preparing for the ministry that is ahead for him? What does this tell us about our own preparations for ministry?

December 24, 2019

For the Christmas Eve service, I shared some photos of my nativity sets and the extra characters I’ve added.

John the Baptist
Saint Nicholas
Caganer
Holy Lands
Haiti
Ghana
Kenya
South Africa
Peru
Superheroes Peru
Avon

December 22, 2019

The last theme of Advent is love. This makes sense since we’re very close to the night when God’s love came down to us. We thought about the selfless love of Joseph, how he opened his heart to love Mary and Jesus and what he had to give up to love like that.

December 15, 2019

Joy is a surprise in week 3 of Advent. The nights are still growing longer; there is no evidence that the sun will return. But we light the pink candle and remember the moment when Mary and Elizabeth meet and share a moment of joy. Mary’s words, the Magnificat, are the powerful words of a prophet. Do we hear them that way?

December 8, 2019

The second week of Advent is Peace Sunday. We stayed with the prophet Isaiah again this week, reading his description of the Peaceable Kingdom where the very nature of animals will change so that all creatures live together in peace. We’re used to seeing the lion and lamb together on Christmas cards, but Isaiah actually says it is the wolf and the lamb who lie down together. We looked at one of the Peaceable Kingdom paintings by Edward Hicks and saw that Isaiah’s vision is in the foreground but the background shows the moment in our history when William Penn signed a peace treaty with the Lanape Indians. It is a perfect representation of Advent, waiting and working for peace at the same time.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edward_Hicks_-_Peaceable_Kingdom.jpg

December 1, 2019

It feels as though the sermons in Advent should be warm and happy ones. We are anticipating the birth of Jesus, a happy event! Yet many of the Advent scriptures are the words of the prophets, words about what is still wrong in the world. But the prophets give us hope that God isn’t done with us yet. Isaiah gives us a vision of a healed world where God rules over the nations and we have no need for weapons of war anymore. I took a risk and shared my own story of being able to beat a gun barrel into a garden tool. Let’s continue to wait and hope for a world where we people will “study war no more.”