Messages from Pastor Fred

Sunday, October 18, 2020
20th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

In today’s first reading God uses the Gentile ruler Cyrus to accomplish divine purposes. When the Pharisees try to trap Jesus, he tells them to give the emperor what belongs to him and to God what belongs to God. To gather for worship reminds us that our ultimate allegiance is to God rather than to any earthly authority. Created in the image of God, we offer our entire selves in the service of God and for the sake of the world.

Readings and Psalm – full Sunday Bulletin here

Isaiah 45:1-7  An earthly ruler as the instrument of God’s will
Psalm 96:1-9 [10-13]  Ascribe to the Lord honor and power. (Ps. 96:7)
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10  Thanksgiving for the church at Thessalonica
Matthew 22:15-22  A teaching on giving to the emperor and to God

Worship service and sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, October 11, 2020
19th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

In Isaiah we are given a vision of the great feast to come, when God will wipe away death forever. In Jesus’ parable about a great banquet, those invited do not come, so the invitation is extended to others. In our liturgy God spreads a table before us. Even amid anxiety and hardship we rejoice in the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. With great joy we feast at the table of the Lord, and we go forth to share the wonderful invitation with others hungering and thirsting for the abundant life of God.

Readings and Psalm – full Sunday Bulletin here

Isaiah 25:1-9  The feast of victory
Psalm 23  You prepare a table before me, and my cup is running over. (Ps. 23:5)
Philippians 4:1-9  Rejoice in the Lord always
Matthew 22:1-14  The parable of the unwelcome guest at the wedding feast

Pastor Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes

Sunday, October 4, 2020
18th After Pentecost

Introduction

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells a vineyard parable, which serves as an image of Israel, the prophets’ mission, and Christ’s death. For Christians, the vineyard also speaks of God’s love poured out in the blood of Christ, given to us for the forgiveness of sin. Grafted onto Christ the vine at baptism, we are nourished with wine and bread so that we may share Christ’s sufferings and know the power of his resurrection.

Readings and Psalm – Sunday Bulletin here

Isaiah 5:1-7  The song of the vineyard
Psalm 80:7-15  Look down from heaven, O God; behold and tend this vine. (Ps. 80:14, 15)
Philippians 3:4b-14  Nothing surpasses the value of knowing Christ
Matthew 21:33-46  The parable of the vineyard owner’s son

Pastor Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, September 27, 2020
17th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

Jesus’ parable about two sons who don’t do what they say reveals surprises in the reign of God. In the reading from Ezekiel the people claim the ways of the Lord are unfair, while God offers repentance and new life. Paul urges us to look to Christ as a model of humility, putting the interests of others above our own. Nourished by the broken bread and shared cup, we offer our lives for the sake of our needy world.

Readings and Psalm – Sunday Bulletin here

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32  The fairness of God’s way
Psalm 25:1-9  Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love. (Ps. 25:6)
Philippians 2:1-13  Christ humbled to the point of death on a cross
Matthew 21:23-32  A parable of doing God’s will

Pastor Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, September 20, 2020
16th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

Matthew narrates one of Jesus’ controversial parables in which Jesus says that the reign of God is like that of a landowner who pays his workers the same wage no matter what time of day they began to work. When God changes God’s mind about punishing Nineveh for their evil ways, Jonah is angry. Yet God is gracious and merciful, abounding in steadfast love. In baptism we receive the grace of God that is freely given to all. As Martin Luther wrote, in the presence of God’s mercy we are all beggars.

Readings and Psalm – Sunday Bulletin here

Jonah 3:10–4:11 God’s concern for the city of Nineveh
Psalm 145:1-8 The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Ps. 145:8)
Philippians 1:21-30 Standing firm in the gospel
Matthew 20:1-16 The parable of the vineyard workers

Pastor Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, September 13, 2020
15th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

In today’s second reading Paul questions why we judge one another, since we all stand before the judgment of God. Yet we do sin against one another, and Jesus’ challenge that we forgive seventy-seven times reveals God’s boundless mercy. When we hear the words of forgiveness in worship and sign ourselves with the cross, we are renewed in baptism to be signs of reconciliation in the world.

Readings and Psalm – Sunday Bulletin here

Genesis 50:15-21  Joseph reconciles with his brothers
Psalm 103:[1-7] 8-13  Lord, you are full of compassion and mercy. (Ps. 103:8)
Romans 14:1-12  Accepting diversity in the community of faith
Matthew 18:21-35  A parable of forgiveness in the community of faith


Sunday, September 6, 2020
14th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

Conflict is a part of relationships and life in community. Jesus’ words in today’s gospel are often used in situations having to do with church discipline. The prophet Ezekiel tells of warning the wicked to turn from their ways, and Paul reminds us that love is the fulfilling of the law. We gather in the name of Christ, assured that he is present among us with gifts of peace and reconciliation.

Readings and Psalm – Sunday Bulletin here

Ezekiel 33:7-11 The prophet’s responsibility to warn the people
Psalm 119:33-40 I desire the path of your commandments. (Ps. 119:35)
Romans 13:8-14 Live honorably as in the day
Matthew 18:15-20 Reconciliation in the community of faith

Pastor Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, August 30, 2020
13th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

The prophet Jeremiah speaks of the incurable wound of his suffering yet finds in God’s words the delight of his heart. When Peter doesn’t grasp Jesus’ words about suffering, Jesus tells the disciples they will find their lives in losing them. Such sacrificial love is described by Paul when he urges us to associate with the lowly and not repay evil with evil. In worship we gather as a community that we might offer ourselves for the sake of our suffering world.

Readings and Psalm (Sunday Bulletin here)

Jeremiah 15:15-21  God fortifies the prophet against opposition
Psalm 26:1-8  Your love is before my eyes; I have walked faithfully with you. (Ps. 26:3)
Romans 12:9-21  Live in harmony
Matthew 16:21-28  The passion prediction and rebuke to Peter

Pastor Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, August 23, 2020
12th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

In Isaiah the people are advised to look to their spiritual ancestors as the rock from which they were hewn. Jesus declares that the church will be built on the rock of Peter’s bold confession of faith. God’s word of reconciliation and God’s mercy are keys to the church’s mission. Paul urges us to not be conformed to this world but to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, using our individual gifts to build up the body of Christ. From the table we go forth to offer our spiritual worship through word and deed.

Readings and Psalm (Sunday Bulletin here)

Isaiah 51:1-6  The enduring foundation of God’s salvation
Psalm 138  O Lord, your steadfast love endures forever. (Ps. 138:8)
Romans 12:1-8  One body in Christ, with gifts that differ
Matthew 16:13-20  The profession of Peter’s faith

Pastor Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, August 16, 2020
11th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

In Isaiah we hear that God’s house shall be a house of prayer for all people and that God will gather the outcasts of Israel. The Canaanite woman in today’s gospel is a Gentile, an outsider, who is unflinching in her request that Jesus heal her daughter. As Jesus commends her bold faith, how might our church extend its mission to those on the margins of society? In our gathering around word and meal we receive strength to be signs of comfort, healing, and justice for those in need.

Readings and Psalm (Sunday Bulletin here)

Isaiah 56:1, 6-8  A house of prayer for all peoples
Psalm 67  Let all the peoples praise you, O God. (Ps. 67:3)
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32  God’s mercy to all, Jew and Gentile
Matthew 15:[10-20] 21-28  The healing of the Canaanite woman’s daughter

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.

Sunday, August 9, 2020
10th Sunday after Pentecost

Introduction

Elijah finds the presence of God not in earthquake, wind, or fire, but in the sound of sheer silence. When the disciples face a great storm on the sea, they cry out with fear. Jesus says: “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Amid the storms of life, we gather to seek the calm presence of Christ that soothes our fears. In comforting words of scripture and in the refreshing bread and cup of the eucharist, God grants us peace and sends us forth to be a sign of God’s presence to others.

Readings and Psalm (Sunday Bulletin here)

1 Kings 19:9-18  The Lord speaks to Elijah on Mount Horeb
Psalm 85:8-13  I will listen to what the Lord God is saying. (Ps. 85:8)
Romans 10:5-15  Hearing and confessing the word of faith
Matthew 14:22-33  Jesus walking on the sea

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.

Sunday, August 2, 2020
9th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

In today’s first reading God invites all who are hungry or thirsty to receive food and drink without cost. Jesus feeds the hungry multitude and reveals the abundance of God. At the eucharistic table we remember all who are hungry or poor in our world today. As we share the bread of life, we are sent forth to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry.

Readings and Psalm (Sunday Bulletin here)

Isaiah 55:1-5  Eat and drink that which truly satisfies
Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21  You open wide your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Ps. 145:16)
Romans 9:1-5  The glory of God’s people Israel
Matthew 14:13-21  Christ feeding five thousand

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, July 26, 2020
8th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

As Solomon prays for wisdom, we seek to more deeply know the treasures of faith. In today’s gospel Jesus offers everyday images that reveal to us the reign of God: a tree that becomes a sheltering home, yeast that penetrates and expands, a treasured pearl, a net that gains a great catch. Even as we seek the riches of God’s reign, the great surprise is that God’s grace finds us first!

Readings and Psalm

1 Kings 3:5-12  Solomon’s prayer for wisdom
Psalm 119:129-136  When your word is opened, it gives light and understanding (Ps. 119:130)
Romans 8:26-39   Nothing can separate us from God’s love
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52  Parables of the reign of heaven

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, July 19, 2020
7th After Pentecost

Introduction

It is an age-old question: why is there evil in the world? In the parable of the wheat and the weeds Jesus suggests that both grow together until the harvest. With Paul, we long for the day that all creation will be set free from bondage and suffering. Having both weeds and wheat within us, we humbly place our hope in the promises of God, and from the Lord’s table we go forth to bear the fruit of justice and mercy.

Readings and Psalm

Isaiah 44:6-8  There is no other God than the Lord
Psalm 86:11-17  Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth. (Ps. 86:11)
Romans 8:12-25  The revealing of the children of God
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43  The parable of the weeds

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, July 12, 2020
6th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

God’s word is like the rain that waters the earth and brings forth vegetation. It is also like the sower who scatters seed indiscriminately. Our lives are like seeds sown in the earth. Even from what appears to be little, dormant, or dead, God promises a harvest. At the Lord’s table we are fed with the bread of life, that we may bear fruit in the world.

Readings and Psalm

Isaiah 55:10-13  The growth of the word to accomplish God’s purpose
Psalm 65:[1-8] 9-13  Your paths overflow with plenty. (Ps. 65:11)
Romans 8:1-11  Live according to the Spirit
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23  The parable of the sower and the seed

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes


Sunday, July 5, 2020
5th After Pentecost

Introduction

The mystery of God’s ways is sometimes hidden from the wise and intelligent. Jesus associates with those often excluded from the religious community. Like Paul, we struggle with our own selfish desires and seek God’s mercy and forgiveness. We gather to be refreshed by Christ’s invitation: “Come to me, all you that are weary.” Gathered around word, water, and meal, we find rest for our souls.

Readings and Psalm

Zechariah 9:9-12  The king will come in humility and peace
Psalm 145:8-14  The Lord is gracious and full of compassion. (Ps. 145:8)
Romans 7:15-25a  The struggle within the self
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30  The yoke of discipleship

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes


Sunday, June 28, 2020
4th Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

The welcome of baptism is for all God’s children. This baptismal gift sets us free from the power of sin and death. In today’s gospel, Christ promises that the disciple who gives a cup of cold water to the little ones serves Christ himself. From worship we are sent on our baptismal mission: to serve the little ones of this world and to be a sign of God’s merciful welcome.

Readings and Psalm

Jeremiah 28:5-9  The test of a true prophet
Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18  Your love, O Lord, forever will I sing. (Ps. 89:1)
Romans 6:12-23  No longer under law but under grace
Matthew 10:40-42  Welcome Christ in those he sends

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, June 21, 2020
3rd Sunday after Pentecost

Introduction

God does not promise that the path of the disciple will be easy. Jeremiah feels the pain of rejection from those who do not want to hear what he has to say. Jesus declares that his words may bring stark division. Even so, we need not be afraid for God accounts for each hair on our heads. Though we may experience rejection, frustration, division, and death, God’s grace and love make us a new creation each day. Marked with the cross and filled with holy food, we are sent from worship to witness to Christ in the world.

Readings and Psalm

Jeremiah 20:7-13 The prophet must speak despite opposition
Psalm 69:7-10 [11-15] 16-18  Answer me, O Lord, for your love is kind. (Ps. 69:16)
Romans 6:1b-11  Buried and raised with Christ by baptism
Matthew 10:24-39  The cost of discipleship

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, June 14, 2020
Second Sunday After Pentecost

Introduction

Moses tells the Israelites that they are called to be a priestly kingdom and a holy people. Jesus sends out the disciples as laborers into the harvest. In baptism we too are anointed for ministry, sharing God’s compassion with our needy world. From the Lord’s table we go forth to proclaim the good news, to heal the sick, and to share our bread with the hungry.

Readings and Psalm

Exodus 19:2-8a  The covenant with Israel at Sinai
Psalm 100  We are God’s people and the sheep of God’s pasture. (Ps. 100:3)
Romans 5:1-8  While we were sinners, Christ died for us
Matthew 9:35–10:8 [9-23]  The sending of the Twelve

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.


Sunday, June 7, 2020
Trinity Sunday

Introduction

Though the word trinity is not found in the scriptures, today’s second reading includes the apostolic greeting that begins the liturgy: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. In the gospel Jesus sends his disciples forth to baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. More than a doctrine, the Trinity expresses the heart of our faith: we have experienced the God of creation made known in Jesus Christ and with us always through the Holy Spirit. We celebrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity in word and sacrament, as we profess the creed, and as we are sent into the world to bear witness to our faith.

Readings and Psalm

Genesis 1:1–2:4a  The creation of the heavens and the earth
Psalm 8  How majestic is your name in all the earth! (Ps. 8:1)
2 Corinthians 13:11-13  Paul’s farewell to the church at Corinth
Matthew 28:16-20  Living in the community of the Trinity

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.

Sunday, May 31, 2020
Day of Pentecost

Introduction

Pentecost derives its name from the Jewish festival celebrating the harvest and the giving of the law on Mount Sinai fifty days after Passover. Fifty days after Easter, we celebrate the Holy Spirit as God’s presence within and among us. In Acts the Spirit arrives in rushing wind and flame, bringing God’s presence to all people. Paul reminds us that though we each have different capacities, we are unified in the Spirit that equips us with these gifts. Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on his disciples, empowering them to forgive sin. We celebrate that we too are given the breath of the Holy Spirit and sent out to proclaim God’s redeeming love to all the world.

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)
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13  Varieties of gifts from the same Spirit
John 20:19-23  The Spirit poured out

Pastor’s Fred’s sermon for this Sunday, with music by Rich Barnett and Luci Hughes.