Sunday, February 21, 2016

Covenant Promise - Sermon for Lent 2 C

Genesis 15:1-11, 17-18

We worship a covenant-making God, and as Disciples of Christ we speak of the covenant relationship that binds congregations, regions, and the General Church to each other. Ronald Osborn was one of the leading figures in creating a restructured Disciples church, and he wrote: 
In religion, in marriage, and in the life of a nation, a covenant is a sacred bond sealed with an oath or vow of allegiance. In the community of Christians the pledge is called a sacrament. A Christian swears faithfulness to God. God promises faithfulness to the church. This two-way pledge is seen most clearly in the Christian covenant sacraments of baptism and communion. [Faith We Affirmp. 59]
When God called on Abram and Sarai to leave their homeland and head toward a strange land, God promised to make them to be a great nation that would bless the rest of creation (Genesis 12:1-3). Three chapters later, Abram is beginning to wonder whether God intends to fulfill that promise. He and Sarai are getting older, and they still don’t have that promised heir, which means that one of the employees is going to inherit.  

It’s clear that Abram is getting impatient with God, and is willing to argue with God if necessary! Isn’t it good news to know that it’s okay to argue with God? 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ancestral Immigrants -- Sermon for Lent 1C

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Lent is a season of reflection that begins on Ash Wednesday with words of confession, marked by ashes, and accompanied by a word of forgiveness. The journey continues with a word about how the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where he fasted and prayed and was tested for forty days (Luke 4:1-12). These forty days of Lent mirror the forty years that Israel wandered in the wilderness having their faith tested.

The reading from Deuteronomy 26 invites Israel to bring in an offering of Thanksgiving to celebrate the completion of the exodus from Egypt and the arrival in the Land of Promise. In words attributed to Moses, the people of God are directed to lay down their offerings and recite a confessional statement that begins with the words: “A wandering Aramean was my Ancestor.”   

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Chosen One -- Sermon for Transfiguration Sunday (Year C)

Mt McLoughlin
Luke 9:28-36

As the season of Epiphany comes to a close, we find ourselves standing on the Mount of Transfiguration, listening as God reaffirms the commission given to Jesus at his baptism. We go up the mountain to pray with Jesus and three of his disciples. With Peter, John, and James, we watch as Jesus prays. As he prays his face begins to radiate light, and his clothing becomes a dazzling white. In that moment the glory of God that is present within him is revealed. It is a blessing to be in this place at this moment, so that we can witness this revealing of God’s presence. Then, as we stand there in awe of what is happening, two figures from the past appear – Moses and Elijah. This is a moment to behold. It is the moment of Jesus’ transfiguration.