Focus: Disciples put on NEW clothes. This is an odd expression, but it makes sense in light of Colossians 3:12-17. We need to dress for the occasion. When you refuse to put on the clothes that God has laid out for you, you thumb your nose at the life that Christ has won for you. We are not speaking literally here, we are talking about following Christ. Sometimes, we want to do our own thing, go our own way, but there are consequences. When you accept an invitation to the party, put on the clothes Christ has given you. Don’t be a Jerk.
Function: There are some outfits that cause us to be uncomfortable, or rather, we like it when folks wear those outfits for us (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, etc.), but we don’t want to wear them for others, at least, not all the time, but there are consequences to accepting the invitation to God’s party and imagining that we can dress however we want to. Discipleship means clothing ourselves with Christ …
October 29, 2017
Text: Matthew 22:23-40
Title: “A Second is Like It …”
Focus: Disciples love … and this love, as the center of what Christ is about and God calls for all humanity, is our ticket to a full and complete humanity. This summary of the law is Jesus’ invitation into the good life, and the good life of discipleship is a three-legged stool … LOVE God, LOVE neighbor, LOVE self. Disciples are called to show compassion for themselves, and we don’t always do that, but if you can’t love yourself, how are you ever going to find it in your heart to love others and love God?
Function: What does it mean in our world today to love yourself? It is a modern phenomenon to judge everything by productivity. Why do we have to do that? This idea has wrought all sorts of judgment and harm for our souls. What if we judged everything through the lens of relationship? We might have less money, but would our lives be better? Jesus invites us into a different way of living or thinking about what it means to be human.
November 5, 2017
Text: Phyllis Palsma is preaching.
November 12, 2017
Text: Phyllis Palsma is preaching.
November 19, 2017
Text: Carole Shipman is preaching.
November 26, 2017
Texts: Matthew 25:31-46
Title: “Christ in Creation”
Focus: Disciples see Christ … everywhere. The obvious statement is seeing Christ in each other, but the key for Christianity with the incarnation is that we now see Christ everywhere, and people are an extension of creation. Disciples therefore look with Christ lenses.
Function: What does it mean to see the world through Christ lenses? In part it means looking at the world as Christ did, but it’s deeper than that, because at its core it means seeing Christ everywhere. This does not mean that a tree is Christ or a rock is Christ, but it does mean that that tree and rock are infused with the incarnation of Christ, the whole creation moans, because Christ aches to be revealed in full. When we start to treat the world and our neighbor with these lenses on, then we embrace our true discipleship.
December 3, 2017 Advent
First Sunday of Advent
Texts: Isaiah 64:1-9; Mark 13:24-37
Title: “When the Heavens were Torn and the Lord Came Down”
Focus: For this season of Advent, we want to explore the importance of the incarnation. What does it mean for us that the Son of God took on Flesh? The first thing is clear, heaven and earth are woven together. God invests God’s self in the creation and therefore completes what was started in the beginning … the Wind of the Spirit hovered over the waters, now the essence of God enters that which God created.
Function: This truth changes everything for us. It brings light into darkness. It transforms what we are called to do when addressing the world and each other, and it makes clear that God is on the side of creation, so we must be too. You cannot junk the world for a better alternative. This is our world, because God is invested in it.
December 10, 2017
Second Sunday of Advent
Texts: Isaiah 40:1-11; Mark 1:1-8
Title: “Prepare the Way of the Lord”
Focus: The incarnation means that God cares about what’s happening in our world. It is not just a “do your best, until you can escape to heaven” religion. God is invested in this world and what happens in this world. So the prophet says, “Comfort” speak comfort, for God is up to something new. God is bringing good news, and that news is: “Here is your God.” There will be a new power in store.
Function: Mark 1 is one of the most misunderstood texts in the Gospels, because we don’t get what, “The gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God” actually means. It is a direct response and call out of the power of empire. Jesus comes to undo the power of oppression. Prepare the way for this one who will undo the empire is an interesting idea for us. What does it mean to make a straight path? What does it mean to confess? What does it mean to be baptized by the Holy Spirit? This last question relates directly to incarnation and discipleship.