Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Limits of Forgiveness (9/17/17)

Peter von Cornelius, The Recognition of Joseph by His Brothers

On Sunday, September 17th, we considered the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. In the Lord's Prayer, we ask God to forgive our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us. But is forgiveness an absolute commandment? Are there limits to forgiveness?

Hearing (Prophetic) Voices (9/10/17)

Ezekiel 33:7-11; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20
Duccio di Buoninsegna, The Prophet Ezekiel

I did something a little bit different on September 10. There was a lot of scripture, so I thought it would be helpful to present all of these texts because they all speak to the community that is Christ’s Church. These scriptures remind us that God is in charge, God loves us, and we are to approach one another with love, just as God loves us. This is the basis for Christian community. So, I’m going to offer a little bit of commentary before or after each of these texts, and then I’ll bring them all together in my sermon.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Water Is Wide (9/3/17)

On Sunday we examined Paul's Letter to the Romans and the instructions that he gave them on loving one another, loving their neighbors, and even loving their enemies. Why is this so difficult for us today?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Danger of a Single Story (8/27/17)

Spirit with Sevenfold Gifts, stained glass, St. Mary's Iffley, Oxford, UK 

On Sunday, August 27th, we considered the spiritual gifts of prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, generosity, leadership, and compassion, and some of the things that keep us from sharing these gifts with others. The title for my sermon is taken from a TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; a link to that talk is included in the post. I encourage you to watch it.

Monday, August 21, 2017

You've Got to Be Carefully Taught

You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught (8/20/17)
Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15:10-28

This stained glass window represents the Theological Declaration of Barmen. This
statement of faith is part of the Book of Confessions of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

I was nervous about preaching this past Sunday. That's not typical. I'm pretty comfortable in the pulpit. But I had to talk about the events in Charlottesville last weekend and I felt that I had to decry the false gospel of white supremacy, and do so from the pulpit. In the process, I had to acknowledge some uncomfortable family history.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Get Out (of the Boat)! (8/13/17)

Henry Ossawa Tanner, Disciples See Christ Walking on the Water

On Sunday, August 13th, we commissioned the Pastor Nominating Committee of Rehoboth Presbyterian Church. Over the next several months, they will serve as the Corps of Self-Discovery for this congregation; they are charged with finding the next installed pastor of this congregation. The lesson from the Gospel of Matthew speaks very effectively into this reality.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Taking the Easy Way Out (8/6/17)

Loaves and Fish
(mural from St. Anthony Catholic Church in Temperance, MI)

Last week, I mentioned a book that I’m reading, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory; it uses the Lewis & Clark expedition as a guiding metaphor for where the Church is in this post-Christendom world, and how we, as the Church, have to chart a new course because the world around us is different from the world we knew. On Sunday, August 8th, we considered the feeding of the 5,000 in the Gospel of Matthew and what it says about Christian leadership.