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Sermons

Spirit of God

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon Christians gathered in Jerusalem and the Church was born. From that point forward, we have understood God's Spirit to be—in some mysterious, unquantifiable way—the animating force that guides, strengthens, and equips God's people to carry on...

Nothing Less

When it comes to hope, so often we either have too little or we place it in the wrong things. Some of us have trained ourselves not to hope, having been disappointed too many times along the way, and some of us have known feelings of despair for too long even to consider the possibility of real...

Exiles

The Christian church in the United States is living in a kind of exile: after centuries of enjoying social, cultural, and political power and influence, the church increasingly finds itself alienated from the centers of power that it once took for granted. Some see this as a crisis and seek a...

Enigma

There are stories about Jesus that we love to hear and to tell—stories of surprising compassion and radical love—and then there are those stories that don’t jibe with Jesus as we ordinarily imagine him. These stories present Jesus in a way that can be difficult for us to incorporate into the larger...

Home for the Holidays

Each of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—approaches the story of Jesus in a unique way and with a different purpose and audience in mind. Entering into the world that each of these storytellers creates is like walking into someone’s home and encountering sights, sounds, and smells...

Ephesians: Salvation for Service

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus is less anchored in the actual circumstances of a particular faith community than some of Paul’s other letters are. Instead, Ephesians reads almost like a sermon, with Paul hitting head-on some of the most important theological issues of the early...

Holy Habits

Devout Christians have long sought after something called “holiness.” We have misunderstood this pursuit as a striving toward perfection, which is obviously out of our reach in this life. Holiness is better understood as spiritual strength or fortitude, and our spirits are not made strong...

Upside Down

Life in the midst of a global pandemic is not at all what we have come to expect it to be. In fact, it feels in some very significant ways that the world itself has been turned upside-down. This is disorienting and disconcerting. It changes our outlook, our actions, and our relationships. And it...

Grace in the Wilderness

The prophet Jeremiah declares that the people of God "found grace in the wilderness" (Jer. 31:2). Although Israel's years of wandering were filled with challenges, the wilderness was where God shaped them and where God's abundant grace was made manifest to them. We are living through our own kind...

Origins

Before the particular history of the people of Israel begins in earnest with God’s call to Abraham in Genesis 12, there is another history—a prehistory. The stories of Genesis 1-11 which make up this prehistory are origin stories: stories that invite us to think about why the world is the way that...

Maundy Thursday 2020

Everyone Will Know Thursday, April 9, 2020

Last Words

When the four gospel accounts are combined, Jesus speaks seven times from the cross, commonly referred to as the "Seven Last Words" of Christ. During the weeks of Lent we take a careful look at these important sayings of Jesus, spoken in his dying moments. In so many ways, they distill not only...

20/20 Vision

Jesus said, "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light" (Matt. 6:22). At the start of a new year and a new decade, it's a good time to get our (spiritual) vision checked. Are we seeing things clearly, or has our vision been blurred, blocked, or...

Before the particular history of the people of Israel begins in earnest with God’s call to Abraham in Genesis 12, there is another history—a prehistory. The stories of Genesis 1-11 which make up this prehistory are origin stories: stories that invite us to think about why the world is the way that it is and why we are the way that we are. This series explores the ancient world and worldview of these stories and seeks to draw them into conversation with the world today, ultimately discovering that the God who was at work then is still very much at work in us today.

Let There Be Beauty

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Audio Video Genesis 1:1-25

The creation poem of Genesis 1 presents the origins of the cosmos as an orderly affair with each element of creation arriving in its proper time. And with each new addition, the Creator looks at what has been made and declares it Good. But what we often leave out of this picture are the pre-existent, chaotic, primordial waters which were the raw material of God’s creative work. What does it mean for us that God chooses not to defeat chaos, but rather to shape it into something good and beautiful?

In God's Image

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Audio Video Genesis 1:26 - 2:3

That God has made us in God’s own image has often led us to think that God has intentionally elevated us above the rest of the animal kingdom and the natural world, leading to all manner of exploitation of and callous disregard for creation. Instead of being a mark of special status, the imago dei is rather a special calling. By creating us in God’s own image, God has invited us to participate in God’s creative and life-giving work in the world.

In the Garden

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Audio Video Genesis 2:4-25

God provides a lush, fruitful garden for Adam and Eve to enjoy, gives them a job to do, and also sets up a boundary which they may not cross. All of these—permission, vocation, and prohibition—are part of what it means to live a fruitful life in God’s good creation. While God’s prohibition is an element of life in the garden, it is only one part of the whole.

Whys & Wherefores

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Audio Video Genesis 3:1-24

The serpent wreaks havoc in paradise, bringing a swift end to Adam and Eve’s ideal existence. As the first couple is sent away from Eden, we are offered explanations for some of the hardships of life and the most basic alienations of human existence. These explanations do not need to convince us of the actual origins of what they describe; but they should convict us as we see in this scene our own alienated existence and our desire to be drawn into more meaningful communion with creation, one another, and our creator.

Who, Me?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Audio Video Genesis 4:1-16

Cain and Abel are the first sons of Adam and Eve and the first to try their hand at life outside of the Garden of Eden—it does not go well. Cain grows angry when God does not favor his sacrifice and lashes out against Abel, murdering his own brother. We, like Cain, often find anger an easier route than love, and wind up doing harm to ourselves and others. But this story not only shows us the damage we are capable of doing to the fabric of human community; it also shows that God cares for us even so.

This Place Is a Mess

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Audio Video Genesis 6:9-22; 7:11-24

The notion of any god—never mind our good, loving, and just God—obliterating human and animal life in anger or remorse just doesn’t wash for most of us today. However, we can find much in the story of Noah and the great flood to help us understand what grieves the heart of God and what it is that God really desires for this world that God has made, beautiful mess that it is.

This Mess Is Our Place

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Audio Video Genesis 8:13-22; 9:1-17

When the flood waters recede, Noah and his family leave the ark and re-enter the world. After the destruction of the flood, this moment marks a new beginning not just for the human race, but for creation as a whole. We find in this story a God who is determined to see God’s good purposes realized. From ark to people to prophet to messiah to church, this God will work incessantly to see the goodness and beauty of this world finally carry the day.

Up, Up, and...Out

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Audio Video Genesis 11:1-9

Humans come together in a great city and dream of a tower that reaches to the heavens—a clear symbol of human ambition. But when our ambitions send us skyward, the people around us tend to disappear. God sees what humans are doing and scatters them, frustrating their high aspirations. Instead of reaching up, God wants us reaching out, extending compassion to the people around us, whoever they may be.