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

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.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

These Four Horsemen and the destruction they unleash aren’t signs of the things to come to come as much as signs of what has always been and what currently is… The saints robed in white are the faithful who have endured the Four Horsemen and emerged victorious. They didn’t participate in the destruction, but they endured it.

Adopted Children

You. Are. Loved. You are treasured by the One who peppers the sky with stars. This Parent doesn’t love us abstractly, but specifically; individually, but also as part of a wider human family. And here’s the thing: God doesn’t have to, but God chose to, a long time ago.

“Praise the Lord!”

Sometimes we crave the grounding of a hallelujah—and this is the key—not to escape our problems or to wash our hands of our responsibility to live as God’s loving, generous, justice-seeking people, but to remember our place in the world. We need to praise so that we can remember who we are, whose we are, and what is within and outside of our control.

“How long?”

Not only are the psalms of lament raw and intimate in their honesty, but it’s significant that they made it into the Psalter, the official prayerbook/hymnal of Jerusalem’s Temple, and later into the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. They’re meant to be read and heard. They’re meant to be prayed. Lament is an old practice from a culture a world away, but it’s supposed to become ours, too.

“I will fear no evil”

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” I’m convinced that’s the word we need to hear this morning. We need to hear it on a personal level and we definitely need to hear it on a social level. It’s worth reflecting on where (or in whom) we put our trust because we live in especially anxious times.

Look up, look down, all around

The Ascension is probably one of the most important holidays on the church calendar, yet also the most overlooked.. If we can push past our scientific qualms for a minute—not ignore them, but suspend them for a bit to look at the meaning of the story—there’s profound truth here.

Growing Pains

The point is that what we see here in this frantic and tense episode from Jesus’ life is true for all our lives. We belong to God, each of us individually and all of us together. That’s the core truth of Baptism: as children of God of whatever age, God is at work in all of our lives, even we can’t see or feel or know it. God is with us in the growing pains of faith, working out God’s good purposes.

Tell the Story

One way to do evangelism is to tell the wider story of Scripture in a way that is personally meaningful to us. That’s the key: it has to be authentic to us and true to our lives if it is to be compelling to other people. It’s not trying to warp other people into a version of ourselves. It’s not converting people to our way of thinking. It’s invitational. Testifying to God’s presence in our life helps other people name it in theirs.

Courage: where does it come from?

St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church – The Rev. Bart Smith The Third Sunday of Easter (April 30, 2017) Acts 6:1-15, 7:51-60 – “Courage: where does it come from?” About that time, while the number of disciples continued to increase, a complaint arose. Greek-speaking disciples accused the Aramaic-speaking disciples because their widows were being overlooked in the daily food service. The Twelve [apostles] called…