Messages from OUR PASTOR

Sunday, August 1, 2021
10th After Pentecost

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Sunday, July 25, 2021
9th After Pentecost

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Sunday, July 18, 2021
8th After Pentecost

Introduction

Mark’s gospel makes clear how great is the press of the crowd, with its countless needs to be met, on Jesus and his disciples. Yet in today’s gospel Jesus advises his disciples to get away and rest, to take care of themselves. Sometimes we think that when others are in great need we shouldn’t think of ourselves at all; but Jesus also honors the caregivers’ need. We are sent from Christ’s table to care for others and for ourselves.

Readings and Psalm

Jeremiah 23:1-6  From David’s line, a righteous shepherd for Israel
Psalm 23  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Ps. 23:1)
Ephesians 2:11-22  Reconciled to God through Christ, our peace
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56  Christ healing the multitudes

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Sunday, July 11, 2021
7th After Pentecost

Introduction

When Amos reports his vision of God judging Israel for its mistreatment of the poor, he becomes a threat to the power of the priests and the king. John the Baptist also speaks truth to power, and Herod has him killed. In Herod’s fear that Jesus is John returned from the dead, we may hear hope for the oppressed: all the prophets killed through the ages are alive in Jesus. We are called to witness to justice in company with them, and to proclaim God’s saving love.

Readings and Psalm

Amos 7:7-15  The sign of the plumb line: God’s judgment on Israel
Psalm 85:8-13  I will listen to what the Lord God is saying. (Ps. 85:8)
Ephesians 1:3-14  Chosen in Christ to live to the praise of God’s glory
Mark 6:14-29  The death of John the Baptist

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Sunday, July 4, 2021
6th After Pentecost

Introduction

Jesus does great deeds of power and gives his disciples authority over demons. Yet none of this power is unilateral; it all must be received by faith. Jesus asks his disciples to go out without money or supplies, so that they will be dependent on how others receive them. When we are sent from the assembly to witness and to heal, we are asked to be vulnerable, to be dependent on the reception of others. The Spirit always operates in the “between”: between Jesus and his Abba, between Jesus and us, between you and me, between us and those to whom we are sent.

Readings and Psalm

Ezekiel 2:1-5  The call of Ezekiel
Psalm 123  Our eyes look to you, O God, until you show us your mercy. (Ps. 123:2)
2 Corinthians 12:2-10  God’s power made perfect in weakness
Mark 6:1-13  Sending of the Twelve to preach and heal

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, June 27, 2021
5th After Pentecost

Introduction

A woman finds healing by touching Jesus’ cloak, and a girl is restored to life when he takes her by the hand. In both cases a boundary is crossed: in Jesus’ time the hemorrhaging woman was considered ritually unclean, polluting others by her touch, and anyone who touched a corpse also became unclean. In Mark’s gospel Jesus breaks down barriers, from his first meal at a tax collector’s house to his last breath on the cross as the temple curtain is torn in two. We dare to touch Jesus in our “uncleanness” and to live as a community that defines no one as an outsider.

Readings and Psalm

Lamentations 3:22-33  Great is the Lord’s faithfulness
Psalm 30  I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have lifted me up. (Ps. 30:1)
2 Corinthians 8:7-15  Excel in generosity, following the Lord Jesus
Mark 5:21-43  Christ healing a woman and Jairus’s daughter

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Sunday, June 20, 2021
4th After Pentecost

Introduction

Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation! Now we are in the storm, the boat almost swamped; but Jesus is here now, and when we call him, he will calm the storm. Even the wind and waves listen to him as they would to their creator. We also listen to him and are called to believe in the power of God’s word in him, a power greater than all that we fear.

Readings and Psalm

Job 38:1-11  The creator of earth and sea
Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32  You stilled the storm and silenced the waves of the sea. (Ps. 107:29)
2 Corinthians 6:1-13  Paul’s defense of his ministry
Mark 4:35-41  Christ calming the sea

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Sunday, June 13, 2021
Third Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

The mustard seed becomes a great shrub that shelters the birds, recalling ancient images of the tree of life. We’d expect a cedar or a sequoia, but Jesus finds the power of God better imaged in a tiny, no-account seed. It’s not the way we expect divine activity to look. Yet the tree of life is here, in the cross around which we gather, the tree into which we are grafted through baptism, the true vine that nourishes us with its fruit in the cup we share. It may not appear all that impressive, but while nobody’s looking it grows with a power beyond our understanding.

Readings and Psalm

Ezekiel 17:22-24  The sign of the cedar, planted on the mountain of Israel
Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15  The righteous shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon. (Ps. 92:12)
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 [11-13] 14-17  In Christ, a new creation
Mark 4:26-34  The parable of the mustard seed

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Sunday, June 6, 2021
2nd After Pentecost

Introduction

A house divided against itself cannot stand. Jesus makes this observation in light of charges that he is possessed. He is possessed, not by a demon, but by the Holy Spirit. We who have received the Holy Spirit through baptism have been joined to Christ’s death and resurrection and knit together in the body of Christ. Those with whom we sing and pray this day are Jesus’ family. With them we go forth in peace to do the will of God.

Readings and Psalm

Genesis 3:8-15  God confronts Adam and Eve in the garden
Psalm 130  Wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is steadfast love. (Ps. 130:7)
2 Corinthians 4:13–5:1  Renewed in the inner nature
Mark 3:20-35  Doing the work of God as brothers and sisters of Christ

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, May 30, 2021
The Holy Trinity

Introduction

When we say God is the triune God, we are saying something about who God is beyond, before, and after the universe: that there is community within God. Our experience of this is reflected in Paul’s words today. When we pray to God as Jesus prayed to his Abba (an everyday, intimate parental address), the Spirit prays within us, creating between us and God the same relationship Jesus has with the one who sent him.

Readings and Psalm

Isaiah 6:1-8  Isaiah’s vision and call
Psalm 29  Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. (Ps. 29:2)
Romans 8:12-17  Living by the Spirit
John 3:1-17  Entering the reign of God through water and the Spirit

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, May 23, 2021
Day of Pentecost

Introduction

Fifty days after Easter, we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Crossing all boundaries that would separate us, the Spirit brings the wideness of God’s mercy to places we least expect it—to a crowd of strangers of different lands and tongues, to dry bones, to our weak hearts. Jesus promises his disciples that they will be accompanied by the Holy Spirit, and that this Spirit reveals the truth. We celebrate that we too have been visited with this same Spirit. Guided by the truth, we join together in worship, and then disperse to share the fullness of Christ’s love with the world.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in us the fire of your love. Alleluia.

Readings and Psalm

Acts 2:1-21  Filled with the Spirit to tell God’s deeds
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b  Send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth. (Ps. 104:30)
Romans 8:22-27  Praying with the Spirit
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15  Christ sends the Spirit of truth

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, May 16, 2021
Seventh Sunday of Easter

Introduction

The gospel for Easter’s seventh Sunday is always taken from the long prayer Jesus prays for his followers in John’s gospel on the night before his death, and always includes Jesus’ desire that his followers will be one as he and the Father are one. This oneness is not mere doctrinal agreement or institutional unity, but mutual abiding, interpenetrating life, mutual love, and joy. This oneness is the work of the Spirit whom we have received but also await. Come, Holy Spirit!

Read the full Sunday bulletin here


Sunday, May 9, 2021
Sixth Sunday of Easter

Introduction

This Sunday’s image of the life the risen Christ shares with us is the image of friendship. We are called to serve others as Jesus came to serve; but for John’s gospel, the image of servanthood is too hierarchical, too distant, to capture the essence of life with Christ. Friendship captures the love, the joy, the deep mutuality of the relationship into which Christ invites us. The Greeks believed that true friends are willing to die for each other. This is the mutual love of Christian community commanded by Christ and enabled by the Spirit.

Readings and Psalm

Acts 10:44-48  The Spirit poured out on the Gentiles
Psalm 98  Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands. (Ps. 98:4)
1 John 5:1-6  The victory of faith
John 15:9-17  Christ the friend and lover

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, May 2, 2021
Fifth Sunday of Easter

Introduction

This Sunday’s image of how the risen Christ shares his life with us is the image of the vine. Christ the vine and we the branches are alive in each other, in the mystery of mutual abiding described in the gospel and the first letter of John. Baptism makes us a part of Christ’s living and life-giving self and makes us alive with Christ’s life. As the vine brings food to the branches, Christ feeds us at his table. We are sent out to bear fruit for the life of the world.

Readings and Psalm

Acts 8:26-40  Philip teaches and baptizes an Ethiopian
Psalm 22:25-31  All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord. (Ps. 22:27)
1 John 4:7-21  God’s love perfected in love for one another
John 15:1-8  Christ the vine

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, April 25, 2021
Fourth Sunday of Easter

Introduction

The image of the good shepherd shows us how the risen Christ brings us to life. It is the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep, one of mutual knowledge and love, that gives the shepherd authority. The shepherd’s willingness to lay down his life for the sheep shows his love. First John illustrates what it means to lay down our lives for one another by the example of sharing our wealth with any sibling in need.

Readings and Psalm

Acts 4:5-12  Salvation in the name of Jesus
Psalm 23  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Ps. 23:1)
1 John 3:16-24  Love in truth and action
John 10:11-18  Christ the shepherd

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, April 18, 2021
Third Sunday of Easter

Introduction

The gospel for the third Sunday of Easter is always one in which the risen Christ shares food with the disciples, meals that are the Easter template for the meal we share each Sunday. In today’s gospel, Jesus both shares the disciples’ food and shows them the meaning of his suffering, death, and resurrection through the scriptures, the two main elements of our Sunday worship.

Readings and Psalm

Acts 3:12-19  Health and forgiveness through the risen Jesus
Psalm 4  The Lord does wonders for the faithful. (Ps. 4:3)
1 John 3:1-7  The revealing of the children of God
Luke 24:36b-48  Eating with the risen Christ

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, April 11, 2021
Second Sunday of Easter

Introduction

The Easter season is a week of weeks, seven Sundays when we play in the mystery of Christ’s presence, mostly through the glorious Gospel of John. Today we gather with the disciples on the first Easter, and Jesus breathes the Spirit on us. With Thomas we ask for a sign, and Jesus offers us his wounded self in the broken bread. From frightened individuals we are transformed into a community of open doors, peace, forgiveness, and material sharing such that no one among us is in need.

Readings and Psalm

Acts 4:32-35  The believers’ common life
Psalm 133  How good and pleasant it is to live together in unity. (Ps. 133:1)
1 John 1:1–2:2  Walking in the light
John 20:19-31  Beholding the wounds of the risen Christ

Read the full Sunday Bulletin here


Sunday, April 4, 2021
Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day

Introduction

Christ is risen! Jesus is alive, and God has swallowed up death forever. With Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, we may feel astonished and confused, unsure of what to make of the empty tomb. But this is why we gather: to proclaim, witness, praise, and affirm the liberating reality of Christ’s death and resurrection. In word and feast, we celebrate God’s unending love, and depart to share this good news with all the world. Alleluia!

Readings and Psalm

Acts 10:34-43  God raised Jesus on the third day
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24  This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Ps. 118:24)
1 Corinthians 15:1-11  Witnesses to the risen Christ
Mark 16:1-8  The resurrection of Jesus is announced, and the response is one of terror and amazement.

Read the full Easter Sunday Bulletin here.