Aug. 9, 2020 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Aug 9, 2020 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Perhaps at some point you’ve shared a Passover dinner with Jewish friends, and been introduced to the tradition of Elijah. The prophet Elijah is the long-awaited guest for whom the front door is left cracked, an extra chair is pulled to the table, and a glass of wine is poured. His Passover appearance is fervently awaited, to usher in God’s final redemption of the world.

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Aug. 2, 2020 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Aug 2, 2020 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

A few weeks ago Luke, Carolyn and I visited the high desert of central Oregon. Our stay was enhanced by a full-service Fred Meyer at the turn-off, where we picked up our online grocery order. We drove on to a lovely home overlooking the Deschutes River, where we could read on the deck in the morning and float the gentle currents in the afternoon.  After that there were thirty miles of sun-dappled bike paths winding through the lanky lodgepole forest.  Ours was a trek into the desert without deserting any creature comforts at all.

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July 26, 2020 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Jul 26, 2020 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

At first it was toilet paper disappearing from shelves, leaving whole aisles empty. It was a little funny, and we all understood, since the alternative to having it is an unpleasant idea. Stores rapidly restocked. Then it was beans, canned goods, meat – and again it didn’t much surprise us. The one that did catch us and the suppliers unaware was yeast! The top increase in sales for a single product in March was yeast; up an astonishing 601% from last year! Even now we see only emptiness above the shelf tag, and sometimes a forlorn sign limiting the absent product to one per household, like toilet paper.

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July 19, 2020 – sermon

Posted by on Tue, Jul 14, 2020 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Things are not always as they seem. The vacant pews before me seem to say the church is empty and we are not together. Yet against all appearances, because of you right now, the church is full! Our initial read of a situation can be wrong; we trust our eyes, but we draw conclusions that may not be true. I know we have a parable today, but I also have a story for you. 

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July 12, 2020 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Jul 12, 2020 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost July 12, 2020 With many of you coming here weeding and working the garden beds these past few weeks, repeatedly filling six large compost yard totes, we are well primed for Jesus’ gardening parable today—and, thank you! The difference is transformative and those occasional face-to-face moments with each other have been rejuvenating, even though it is hot, sweaty and dirty work. (Notice Jesus doesn’t concern himself with actual weeding?) Yet his teaching here is invitingly visual and indicative of one with a love and reverence for God’s creation. In addition...

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July 5, 2020 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Jul 5, 2020 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

We hear the tension between people in Matthew’s gospel—like children across the square choosing up sides and declaring who is right. The ascetic John comes and attracts followers, and his detractors say he has a demon. Jesus came enjoying all sorts of people, eating and drinking with them—he must be a glutton and drunkard, friends with all the wrong sorts of people. The same story could well be told with different accusations in our own cities and streets. Then Jesus puts both these allegations out on their ear by that simple sentence ringing with truth: “Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” Indeed she is! If we look at how assertions are acted upon, and what outcomes are wrought in the wake of those professing them, we will see—or not see— the wisdom of which Jesus speaks. 

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