Sunday, March 27, 2016

Announcing the Good News -- Sermon for Easter

Acts 10:34-43

“I know that my Redeemer liveth.” These words from an old Gospel song define the meaning of Easter. They serve to remind us why we gather here this morning. In fact, this is why we gather every Sunday morning. We come to celebrate the Good News that Christ our Lord is risen from the Dead. So, with joyful hearts we can sing our alleluias! 

This Easter message is not without its challenges. It appears that the idea of resurrection has gone out of style, even among Christians. It doesn’t seem to fit our modern mind set. In fact, the whole idea of the afterlife is under close scrutiny. Nonetheless, the Resurrection continues to stand at the center of the Christian faith.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Open the Gates of Righteousness -- Palm Sunday Sermon

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”  Indeed, as Paul declared, this “is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).  Therefore, “open the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.” 

We love parades, especially parades that celebrate a hero’s return or a championship team. Today is Palm Sunday, which we mark with a parade of palms.  The children and choir enter the sanctuary waving palm branches, even as we sing to Jesus, declaring him to be “King of Kings, Lord of Lords.”

Sunday, March 13, 2016

It's a New Day, New Pathway -- Sermon for Lent 5C

Isaiah 43:16-21

Eight years ago this month Cheryl, Brett, and I came out to meet and greet the congregation. It was a most interesting trip that included picking out the home we now live in. Just so we would know what we were getting into, it snowed while we were here. Then on Sunday morning, in her sermon, Shirley suggested that it was time to let go of the ghost of Edgar Dewitt Jones. That name might not mean much to some, but for others it represents the heart of Central Woodward. Even long after his passing, this founding pastor has been revered. While I enjoy reading his sermons and letters, I would say that his ghost is haunting other places these days. Shirley’s point, of course, was that a new day was coming and it was time to let go of some of the past. 

Lent is a season of letting go. The stories we’ve been exploring as we’ve moved through Lent have spoken about wandering in the wilderness. We’ve heard stories about moving from one place to another. Last week we even heard a word about arrival. But now we’re back on the move. It seems as if that’s the way it is with the people of God. After all, our spiritual ancestor was a “wandering Aramean” (Deut. 26:5). When you’re a wanderer, you had better travel light. That means letting go of things. 

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Arrival in the Land -- Sermon for Lent 4C

Last stop in Wyoming - Journey East 2008

Joshua 5:9-12

If you’ve ever moved across the country, you know what it’s like to finally arrive at your new home. Even if your furniture and housewares are a few days behind you, it feels good to enter the new house and begin to settle in.  

We’ve made a few long distance moves as a family over the years, with the longest being the last one that brought us from Santa Barbara to Troy. It took a few days of travel to get here. We stayed in a few motels and of course ate at a variety of restaurants, including a few fast-food joints. We crossed deserts, rivers, mountains, and plains. When we arrived in Troy, we were welcomed with a good meal and a house that had been cleaned and prepared with food staples and paper goods. Yes, it was good to enter the house we would call our own.