Sermon: Whose Image?

mirror1“Whose Image?”

(October 26, 2014) While we certainly live in the world, and have to make choices about how to live our lives with respect to the expectations of the world around us, we are created in God’s own image, and we seek to live lives that reflect that image. Whose face do we see in the mirror? Are we bearing the image of God in the world? (Genesis 1: 24-29, Matthew 22:15-22)

Sermon: Touching the Edges

"Behind Closed Doors," Jaybird, flickr

“Behind Closed Doors,” Jaybird, flickr

“Touching the Edges” 

(October 19, 2014) Jesus took the time to be really, deeply present with people on the margins, on the edges of his society. In this story, he goes out of his way for two women who others had written off as un-save-able. Instead, he touched them and let them touch him, too. Imagine how powerful that one act can be, for any person– most especially for a person living in domestic violence and thinking about reaching out for help. Can the church teach, model, and empower enough so that one day we are a reason people say WhyILeft an abusive situation? (Mark 5:21-43)

In this sermon, I quoted from a recent article by Dr. Christy Sim.

Sermon: You’re Invited!

table banquet 4“You’re Invited!” 

(October 12, 2014) Like a great banquet, we are invited into God’s presence, and we can choose to attend or not as we wish. We are also invited into one another’s lives, too. However, we know from personal experience that both inviting and being invited require tremendous vulnerability, and our personal holiness (our relationship with God) cannot be separated from our social holiness (our relationships with others). How do we invite and respond to invitation? (Luke 14:1-6, 12-24)

Sermon: Some More Equal Than Others

communion 3“Some More Equal Than Others”

(October 5, 2014) We easily recognize the injustice in George Orwell’s satire Animal Farm, when the ruling class re-writes the rules to make themselves “more equal” than the other animals. But do we harbor such biases ourselves? Do we think we, or others, are more equal spiritually?
(Matthew 20:1-16)

Sermon: Dreams of Reconciliation

I'm preaching in a Reconciling Church on a Reconciling Sunday-- a first for me, and I was a little excited.

I’m preaching in a Reconciling Church on a Reconciling Sunday– a first for me, and I was a little excited.

“Dreams of Reconciliation”

(September 28, 2014) Joseph and his siblings play out a drama of harm and forgiveness, teaching us much about what it means to be reconciled: that reconciliation is initiated by those who have done the harm and need to come with humbleness and changed hearts; that all siblings are locked together in the story, even if they themselves did not cause the harm; that reconciliation requires of the one harmed tremendous vulnerability and courage (and, understandably, not all people will choose to be vulnerable like that again), and that being able to embrace and talk is just the beginning. As Lebanon UMC celebrates seven years as a Reconciling Congregation– one that welcomes and embraces all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity– we recognize that our journey of reconciliation is just the beginning. (Genesis 45:1-15)

Sermon: Kill This Dreamer

barbed wire heart“Kill This Dreamer”

(September 21, 2014) Joseph’s brothers are enraged by their younger sibling’s dreams, which upset the social order. Not that much unlike us, they react with revulsion to those who call us to better versions of ourselves. Why do we do this? And can we, who are called to dream and vision, still speak those dreams in the face of the rejection and violence that sometimes conjures in others? (Genesis 37:3-8, 12-14, 18-28)

The wire on my microphone was shorting out, and this recording is broken in many places. Where those gaps in the audio make understanding the content difficult, I have recorded the word or phrase again. This is almost as distracting as the gap itself (and so in some places I’ve left the gap in place and trust the message comes through). Trust me, you don’t want to hear me re-read the whole sermon– I come across awful and canned when not actually preaching! We are replacing the wire, and apologize for this poor quality this week.

Sermon: Out of Joint

Forte, Jacob Wrestling the Angel

Forte, Jacob Wrestling the Angel

“Out of Joint”

(September 14, 2014) Older, wiser, and perhaps more cynical, Jacob’s dreams of glory have not gone according to plan. He wrestles with God and with his understanding of God, and the encounter leaves him changed. How often to we wrestle with our faith or our circumstances in our lives? Do we receive a blessing? Do we leave changed? (Genesis 28:10-19 and Genesis 32:22-31)

The sermon ends with a poem, the text of which can be found here.

Unfortunately the mic cut out temporarily. The missing section is half a sentence, but you can hear a change in the sound as I start speaking at a new microphone.

If you are using firefox as a browser, it sometimes doesn’t like to play the audio file and will tell you it is “corrupt.” I assure you the preacher is not! Please try another browser. I don’t know why it does this.


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