Our Values

Our Values

Sermon on Philippians 4:8-9 for May 28, 2017, Memorial Day Weekend, Easter 7A

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

The text from Philippians tells us to think about things that are: 

“true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent praiseworthy”

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 8.19.21 PMSo, on this Memorial Day weekend here in the USA, I want to do just that: think about those kinds of things.  I was speaking with one of our member this past week, and together we were reflecting about her recently departed husband and their mutual passion for our veterans.  In their home are numerous tokens of appreciation from the Veteran’s Home for their work. 

That conversation and this weekend got me thinking about the values that are stated and lived-out, in practice, in the military.  They are honorable and commendable, excellent and worthy of praise, as Philippians say, so they are well worth thinking about.  In fact they are helpful to consider by us, as a church.   

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A Beautiful Faith

Sermon on Isaiah 66:12-13; John 14:1-14 for Easter 5 A, Mothers Day, May 14, 2017

Isaiah 66:12-13

For thus says the Lord:
I will extend prosperity to her like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm,
and dandled on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

John 14:1-14

[Jesus said:] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

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The Sunday of Mother’s Day in America is always complicated. Many of us came from stable families in which our mothers raised us with love and care. Others did not have that experience. Some women here are mothers, and others are not, for a variety of reasons, some quite painful. Some of us have lost our mothers recently. Some mothers have lost children, which makes this day complicated.

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Following the Shepherd Out

Following the Shepherd Out

Sermon on John 10:1-10 and Acts 2:42-47 for Easter 4A, May 7, 2017

Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

John 10:1-10

Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 1.41.47 PMIn Greek mythology, the God Hermes, son of Zeus, is considered the god of transitions and boundaries. He moves between the worlds of the gods and mortals as a messenger. Sometimes he is depicted with winged sandals or a winged cap. You may have seen him in the FTD florists icon.

Hermes is also shown carrying a ram draped around his shoulders, in preparation for sacrifice. Early Christians took that image and with a few changes, made it into the image of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, carrying a sheep. Continue reading “Following the Shepherd Out”