Epiphany Worship Series- Who Are You?

who-am-i-1431540Our theme in our worship and community life as we start 2016 is “Who Are You?”

The beginning of a new calendar year is a time when we often reassess direction and ask questions yet again about who we are and where we are going in life. This New Year we are taking a deep journey into the question, “Who Are You?” not only in our worship services, but in our spiritual practices and in our work as a congregation to discover where God is calling us as a church. We will discover that “who we are” is indelibly linked to “Whose we are.” What amazing things could happen if you lived into your best, most passionate, loving self? What if we lived into our best, most passionate, most loving beloved community?

Sermons in this series: Follow Your Star (1/03), Reflect Your Belovedness (1/10), Find the Meeting Places (1/17), Resist Injustice (1/24), Live in Love (1/31), and (Pro)claim Transformation (2/7)  

Sermon: Hope Unexpected

IMG_3101“Hope Unexpected”

(December 13, 2015) Mary and Elizabeth, two people who each failed at their one job (to provide their husbands with sons, of course), are perhaps in the best position to grasp and proclaim exactly how powerful God’s transformation is, and how much hope turns things upside-down, if we dare to hold on to it.  (Luke 1:39-56)

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Our advent theme is “It Takes a Village,” as we look at the people surrounding Jesus.

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Sermon: For the Love of Joseph

IMG_3251“It Takes a Village: For the Love of Joseph”

(December 6, 2015) Joseph makes a radical decision, when her learned of her alleged infidelity, first to divorce Mary quietly, and then not to divorce her at all but to join with her in marriage, and to raise their child together, even naming Jesus as his own son. Such love breaks barriers and shatters the conventions and expectations of the world. Where are we called to love like that in the world today– to forgive and draw in those who have wronged us, or those whom society preaches are unworthy of love? (Matthew 1:18-25)

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Our advent theme is “It Takes a Village,” as we look at the people surrounding Jesus.

Folks who have previously had the problem if the link to the sermon being “corrupt,” does this link help?

Sermon: Simeon, Anna, and Expectation

IMG_3101“It Takes a Village: Simeon, Anna, and Expectation”

(November 29, 2015) Jesus was born into a community, a context, a village, and the people in that context and community are important. The prophets– from those of old like Jeremiah, to those contemporary and near-contemporary with Jesus like Simeon and Anna– expressed the people’s longing for Jesus, and his fulfillment of God’s promise. How do we serve as prophets today? (Jeremiah 33:14-16Matthew 3:1-6Luke 2:25-38)

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Our advent theme is “It Takes a Village,” as we look at the people surrounding Jesus.

Advent Worship Series- It Takes a Village

IMG_3101

Our Advent theme is “It Takes a Village.” We are recalling the Nigerian proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. Jesus was a child– a remarkable one, but still a child– and the people in his village, his neighborhood, his context, were important in understanding how and why his birth and life changed everything. 

Sermons in the series: Simeon, Anna, and Expectation (11/29) – For the Love of Joseph (12/6) – Hope Unexpected (12/13)

This theme is communicated with a beautiful altar display, created by Cathy and Terri M-B. Each week, the service begins with a sacred dance, choreographed by Chris T. and Jen W. (dancers pictured in the photo are Crystal D. and Justin B.– they are dancing “Joseph Dearest”). The dancers then also light the advent candles. 

IMG_3251The sermons in this worship series focus on different people in Jesus’ “village.” We began with the prophets– prophets of old like Jeremiah, and prophets at the time of Jesus, like Anna and Simeon, each of whom was eagerly awaiting God’s Incarnation and God’s justice. We ask ourselves, how are we called to be prophets today– to be those who hold out hope in the face of the violence and injustice in our world? We shine a light of scrutiny upon this violence and injustice, but also the light of prophetic expectation. 

Next, we celebrated Joseph and his radical decision, when her learned of her alleged infidelity, first to divorce Mary quietly, and then not to divorce her at all but to join with her in marriage, and to raise their child together, even naming Jesus as his own son. Such love breaks barriers and shatters the conventions and expectations of the world. Where are we called to love like that in the world today– to forgive and draw in those who have wronged us, or those whom society preaches are unworthy of love? 

Our look at Jesus’ village continued with the powerful women of Jesus’ family– Mary and her kinswoman Elizabeth. Here we see two people who, in the eyes of their world, are worth little to nothing. Too old or too young, too barren or too inexplicably pregnant, and certainly too female to be holy in the eyes of others, nevertheless, Mary and Elizabeth rejoice together that through them and their children, God lifts up the lowly and humbles the haughty. We too are called to break free of the narratives that we’re not good enough to be God’s servant people, and proclaim hope in unexpected places and through unexpected means, maybe because of our unique positions, sufferings, and circumstances. 

Finally, we await with unbridled, childlike joy the Word proclaimed through children and children-at-heart in our intergenerational Christmas Drama of the Nativity. Jesus’ village usually included people living together in family and tribe groups that spanned generations, a practice all but absent in our so-called modern world. If we can live with child-like joy and wonder, and if we can live as beloved community of all ages, perhaps we too can continue to be the sort of “village” into which Christ is born again and again. 

Worship Series – Enough

cover3The worship series for October and November was “Enough,” by Adam Hamilton. We looked at how we can discover joy through simplicity and generosity.

Sermons in the four-part series are my take on the topics and prompts by Rev. Hamilton.

Sermons in the series: Dreams and Nightmares (10/25) – Wisdom for the Prodigal (11/1) – Cultivating Contentment (11/8) – Defined by Generosity (11/15) 

Sermon: Defined by Generosity

cover3“Defined by Generosity”

(November 15, 2015) It’s silly, really, to think that we could live our lives free from the fear and worry around money. But God calls us to joyful, almost laughable, leaps of faith in freedom. (Genesis 18:1-15Mark 12:38-44)

This is a four-part series by Adam Hamilton called “Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity.” The sermons are my take on the topics. You can hear the rest of the series too:

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