Jesus Christ calls us to be a joyful community that celebrates God's love, transforms lives, and is a force for justice in the world.

Sermons on Faith

Welcome Like a Child

I’ve always wondered about this ending phrase, “welcome as a child.” Jesus says “whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.” Another version says “whoever does not receive God’s kingdom like a little child.” What does that mean?

There’s power in a name

In our dominant American culture, names tend to say more about our family ties or what our parents found pleasant-sounding around the time of our birth. But in other cultures, names say something about one’s character and destiny. This is especially the case in the cultures of the Bible.

Have it your way

Looking back over our personal histories, how many of our lives have changed because of those moments when we followed the tug of the Spirit and took the riskier, less convenient, or more truthful route? It’s often in the opposite direction of having it our usual way that was Jesus said comes into full view: “The kingdom of God has come near.”

Reclaiming Mary – Favor

As someone who was young, poor, and illiterate, Mary was not among the affluent or at the center of power, but lived in a village in the backwaters of the Roman Empire. This is who God honors—the least, the marginalized, the vulnerable. This is where God locates God’s self.

Reclaiming Mary – Yes

If we need to reclaim anything in Mary’s story—if we can reclaim anything in a story that is not ours in the first place, but the story of a young, poor woman living in occupied territory long ago—if we can reclaim anything for Mary and for ourselves it is the freedom of her yes, the courage in her yes.

Risky Business

Of course it’s deeply a part of our human nature to be risk-averse. But security is not at the heart of the kingdom, Jesus says. To follow him sometimes entails taking a step outside of our comfort zones or risking life, resources, or reputation for what is right.

Thoughts and Prayers

Many of our political leaders these days find themselves as empty-handed as the foolish bridesmaids and as stubborn as Amos’ people. They wait passively for God to sort out problems to which their actions and inactions have contributed. When tragedy strikes, they’re quick to offer “thoughts and prayers,” but slow to do anything constructive.

Always Reforming

Another strength of this Reformation legacy is the notion of reform itself. There’s a Latin saying in church circles that expresses this; in English it’s “the church reformed, always reforming according to the Word of God.” We update our beliefs, in other words, with the help of the Spirit.

The Stories We Tell

While they were in captivity in a foreign land, this is the story the Jewish people told about their history. Passover was foundational to their identity. This is how they were to remember the fundamental nature of who they were—God’s own people, a freed people. The Passover story prompts us to think about the various stories we tell.