January 7, 2018 – April Herron “Guided by Wonder”
Have your Christmas decorations been packed into boxes and put away? If so, you are not alone! 2018 has begun and we are moving forward. Meanwhile, some wise and wealthy travelers are transporting their boxes across a challenging landscape. They are carrying gifts they wish to present to a newborn king. Their journey, and their arrival at the humble dwelling where Mary and Joseph are caring for Jesus, help us to glimpse the full significance of Christ’s presence in the world. God is with us not just for a day or a season or a moment at the manger. God is with us for all time, here in the world for the salvation of all people.
Our scripture text this Sunday, January 7, is Matthew 2:1-12. April’s sermon title is “Guided by Wonder.” We will share together in holy communion as we start the new calendar year in faith, hope, and love.
January 14, 2018 – Jonathan Chute “Making an Entrance”
In this Sunday’s scripture John the Baptist appears in the wilderness of the Jordan. Mark calls this “the beginning of the gospel.” He doesn’t provide much background. Instead, he drops us into the middle of something already well under way. Just as suddenly Jesus appears on the scene and is baptized. Mark describes the event itself in simple terms. But it is full of drama. When Jesus comes up out of the water he sees the heavens torn apart. The Spirit descends on him in the form of a dove. Then a voice from heaven speaks and claims him as God’s beloved. The stage is set. Now the rest of the story can be told. The text for Jonathan’s sermon, “Making an Entrance,” is Mark 1:4-11.
January 21, 2018 – Jonathan Chute “Acting Swiftly”
On the third Sunday after the Epiphany, we explore the call of God as it comes to people who had something else in mind. Our first scripture comes from the book of Jonah. When he hears God’s voice, it tells him to bring a message of repentance to the people of Nineveh. He is reluctant to do so, because he fears that God is going to forgive them. He does not want them to repent. He wants God to destroy them instead.
In our gospel we watch as Jesus begins his ministry by the side of the Sea of Galilee. He calls two sets of brothers, all fishermen, to follow him. This is NOT what they had in mind either! It is hard to imagine how they could walk away from their lives and work so suddenly. But they leave their nets, leave their families, and follow. The texts for Jonathan’s sermon are Jonah 3:1-5 & 10, and Mark 1:14-20, and his title is “Acting Swiftly.”
January 28, 2018 – Jonathan Chute “Authorized”
This week’s gospel finds Jesus teaching in a local synagogue. While the content of what he said is not recorded, the impact of his words and his presence is dramatic. Both the people of the congregation, and even a demonic spirit, recognize the authority with which he speaks. It is not like anything they have heard before. The text for Jonathan’s sermon is Mark 1:21-28, and his title is “Authorized.”