Ours is Not A God of Tidy Balance Sheets

September 18, 2022, Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 and Luke 16:1-13

Once again, I come to you in prayer; for our church in this time of transition, for the world, and for each and every one of us. Those who like Jeramiah are lamenting, “Is there no physician here for my wounds?” Those of us like the scheming manager who are too ashamed to beg for help and then find ourselves astonished by God’s blessings. And all of us who wonder if our personal and political divisions are beyond redeeming.

Let us pray.

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Labor in Love

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September 4, 2022, Jeremiah 18:1-11 and Luke 14: 25-33

“Holy and Merciful God, we have come to hear your word. Help us to bear it. Break down in us all that resists your will and plant in us a willingness to turn, for we would live; that we would be your disciples. By your Holy Spirit, come to us, now, in ancient texts, in everyday visions, in the needs and the hard work of our neighbors. We pray in the name of Jesus, our light.

On this Labor Day Sunday I am grateful to be among the prayerful workers of our church. I am also thinking about all the workers in and out of church who have passed on before us and the children growing up in our midst, wanting to be as malleable as clay in the Great Potter’s hands. Molded as vessels of love and grace.

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You Are Invited to a Block Party!

August 28, 2022, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 Luke 14: 1.7-14

I love Jesus’ parables even when most of them throw me into a tizzy. Maybe that is his intent. Not to humiliate us when we don’t get what he is saying, but to shake us out of our familiar assumptions and into God’s viewpoint.

Today’s Gospel starts with a surprising invitation. A pharisee, who we often hear were not exactly fans of Jesus, invites him to dinner. In fact the person issuing the invitation is the leader of the pharisees. What a surprise! Immediately we are wary. What is happening? Why is everyone watching Jesus closely? To see how he handles the Sabbath meal protocols perhaps? See how easy it is for us to get suspicious about other people’s behavior?

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August 7th & 14th

The Conviction of Things Not Seen August 7, 2022

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 and Luke 12:32-40

Dear Friends – I am so glad to be here with all of you today as our congregation, one of Jesus’ little flocks, begins to walk together through this time of change. I have always loved the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, so I was glad that Luke mentions the little flock in his Gospel and that we got to hear more about the Good Shepherd in our Time For All Ages.

I also love that in our Time for All Ages story we got to hear how Jesus knew other shepherds and many sheep, whether in his flock or not. As the story said “Shepherds made their living by caring for their sheep. They guided their flocks to water and to grass and to safe places for the night. Jesus spent time with them and saw how they cared about their sheep.”

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Tending and Preserving August 14, 2022

Psalm 80 and Luke 12:49-56

O Jesus, why are you showing up today talking about heat waves and fire, weather forecasts and division? Can’t we rest a while on your shoulder, little flock that we are? Can’t we take a summer break from troubling weather and division? Yes Jesus, in fact we do think that you came to the earth to comfort us and even blanket us, like children snuggling down for a summer nap.

Am I the only one who wants to say that to Jesus? I think not because even the Psalmist, who of course sang her/his song way before Jesus cried out sings today “Hear me O God for I am missing you! Heed the cry of my open heart.”

Our truth Jesus is that we are not looking for open heart surgery. We are mainly looking for comfort.

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Taking Refuge in God, August 21, 2022

Jeremiah 1:4-11 and Luke 13, 10-17

This morning we received two messages about God’s work in the world, through us, with us, and all around us. In the first one, from the Book of Jeremiah, one of the Hebrew prophets, we got a kind of coming of age story that reminds me that God, who formed us in the womb, speaks to youth and adults. “Do not say “I am only a boy;” for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.’

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RU Talking to Me? July 31, 2022

Hosea 11:1-4 and Luke 12:13-21

This week in our Listening to the Gospel group all of us were lively in our reactions to the Gospel. Each of us had stories to tell about how much or how little “stuff” we had and didn’t know what to do with.

We all knew someone who is holding on tight for dear life and others of us who readily share the wealth, including one person we heard about who purchased a cow for his own use after not having milk in his youth and then gave milk away free to anyone in need! We also talked about houses that were knocked down to build something larger, often to the detriment of folks of lesser means.

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