Sermons

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You Think You Know What I Need

Tony Johnson

April 28, 2019
Text: John 12: 3, 8

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hsir. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 8 “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

As I reflect on these verses of John's Gospel, I see that Mary made a profound action of love and generosity. Not only did she use a pint of the most expensive perfume, she also poured it on the feet of Jesus and wiped them with her hair. In the midst of an important dinner when everyone was being served by Martha, Mary stepped away from the table and went over where Jesus was reclining and met his needs.

Re-Membering Resurrection

Marcia Harrington

April 21, 2019 Easter

Texts:
     Luke: 24:1-12
     Isaiah 65; 17-25
     Psalm 118:1-2; 14-24
     Luke 24: 1-12   1 Corinthians: 15:19-26

On this Easter morning, I think it appropriate to start with verse 24 of this day’s psalm. 

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.  (Psalm 118: 24)

It is both a privilege and a challenge to give a teaching on Easter, likely the most important and significant celebration in our liturgical year.  It is a celebration that for me claims the incredible courage of Jesus in living out how he understood, how he taught and how he lived out the Shema (shuh-mah), the Jewish declaration of faith found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9: 

Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might.

Suffering and Hope

Ann Barnet

April 7, 2019    

Texts:  
Psalm 126
Isaiah 43:16-21
John 12: 1-8
Philippians 3: 4b - 14

 I would not attempt this teaching if we were not in reach of Easter and its promise of resurrection; I ‘m planning to talk about suffering, not a subject most of us want to dwell on.

  Each of us is unavoidably confronted with both personal suffering and a world of suffering. How can we deal with it? We are sorely tempted to turn away – it’s too much. We act cheerful even if it means putting on a false front. Some of us use painkillers like alcohol or the opioids that end up killing 47,000 Americans each year. Some people latch on to cults or religions that soothe– as you know religion has been called “the opiate of the people.”  And the real purpose of much of the bloated consumerism of our times is to deaden feelings of pain and suffering. It’s only natural to avoid as much pain and suffering as we can - to eat, drink, and be merry, and buy stuff.

Hope in the Darkness

David Hilfiker

March 31, 2019

Texts:
     Jer 25:3-11
     Ps 137:1-6
     Luke 13:1-9

     Marja and I recently received a fund-raising letter from an environmental organization we support.  On the front of the envelope they had printed: “Join us today to put an end to global climate change.”  Well, they are good organization but I have some news for them I have some news for them.  Whether we joined your organization or not, whatever we do, whatever you do, whatever anyone else does, we’re not going to put an end to climate change.

Beloved Beloved Beloved

Patty Wudel

March 24, 2019

Over the years, some of you might have heard me say that I have little faith of my own—what faith I do have is mostly borrowed—from David Hilfiker and Fred Taylor, from Harold Vines and Mike Hopkins, Stephanie Harding, and from the residents and staff at Joseph’s House for so many years.  I also borrow faith from African American writers and activists: Sweet Honey’s Bernice Reagon, a young womanist theologian and anti-racism activist, Christena Cleveland, Reverend William Barber; and I borrow faith from the people I know and have known at L’Arche.

Then, not long ago I came across a reflection by Rabbi Abraham Heschel that got my heart’s attention.  Here it is:

Faith is an endless pilgrimage of the heart.  Audacious longing, burning songs, daring thoughts, an impulse overwhelming the heart, usurping the mind - these are all a drive towards serving the Divine who rings our hearts like a bell. 

My understanding of faith has been too narrow because surely the Divine has rung my heart like a bell!   Surely my heart has been overwhelmed again and again, all these years at Joseph’s House.

Belonging, Risk-Taking and Freedom

Alfonso Sasieta

March 10, 2019

Texts:

Good morning friends and family, I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be surrounded by you on the day of Santiago’s baptism. I’d like to begin with a prayer.

——————

Holy Spirit, comforting Spirit,
happy are they who turn to you
over and over again!

And when we entrust to you,
even without words,
our lives and those of others,
our longings find a Gospel response.[1]
 

Amen.

Path to God, Love of Enemies, Spirit Body in our Earthly Body

Carol Bullard-Bates

February 24, 2019:

Psalm 37

Psalm 37 explains for us a path to being with and following God:

We are not to fret because of the wicked.
We are to trust in the Lord and do good.
We are to commit our way to the Lord, trust in him and watch for God’s actions.
We are to be still before the Lord and wait patiently for God.
We are to refrain from anger and forsake wrath.

We are not to fret or worry about the wicked?  I don’t know about you, but I have been doing a lot of fretting since our President and his followers have been a part of our government.  The psalmist says that fretting only leads to evil.  One thing it does is waste time,

  • time we have that is precious,
  • time we could be acting against the decisions that are separating us from each other,
  • time we could be doing retreats for the Samaritans at the border like Connie and Jesse,
  • time we could be enjoying each other and supporting each other in the fight for justice,
  • time we could be fleshing out our call we are hearing from God,
  • time we could be asking God for help in healing ourselves and others. 

The Borderlands, in the Desert and the Inner Life

Connnie Ridgway

Feb 17, 2019 
Texts:
     Jeremiah 17:5-10
     Psalm 1
     Luke 6:17-26

SONG (traditional)

I’m just a poor wayfarin’ Stranger, traveling thru this world of woe
But there’s no sickness, no toil or danger
In that bright world to which I go.
I’m going there to see my mother, I’m going there no more to roam
I’m only going over Jordan, I’m only going over home.

I know dark clouds will gather round me,
I know my way is rough & steep
But beauteous fields lie just beyond me,
Where souls redeemed their vigil keep.
I’m going there to see my savior, to sing her praises evermore.
I’m only going over Jordan, I’m only going over home.

A few weeks ago I went with my friend and partner Jesse to Sahuarita, a town south of Tucson AZ, to be a part of “Common Ground on the Border,” a 3-day event that introduced people to migrant issues on the border, as well as celebrating the music and arts of the border lands. 

Making a Home in the Wilderness

Kip Dooley

February 3, 2019

Texts:
     Jeremiah 1: 4-10
     Psalm 71: 1-6
     Luke 4: 21-30
     1 Corinthians: 1-13

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts together be acceptable inour sight, oh God our rock, redeemer, and friend.

A little over eight years ago, something very unusual and unexpected happened to me. I, 21 year-old lifelong skeptic, walked into an evangelical megachurch in Cape Town, South Africa, and had a very sudden and cathartic spiritual awakening.

This experience has become a touchstone for me. It's an experience I cherish and go back to often in my own mind. Many of us have a few singular experiences in life where we really felt God's love and everything became suddenly clear. But these moments of grace, where God reveals himself to us in an unmistakably clear way, are very rare. What I really want to talk about today is what 8th Day has made possible for me: which is to turn a moment of faith into a journey of faith. Moments of revelation are wonderful and important; but what is just as important, if not more so, is what we do after that moment of revelation.

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