March 5, 2017 – April Herron “An Eye-Opening Experience”
On the first Sunday of the season of Lent we remember how Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and faced temptation. As a voice whispers in his ear about the desirability of immediate gratification, central position, and splendid possessions, we can’t help but be reminded of an earlier temptation story. Adam and Eve, the prototype humans, also were approached by that crafty creature who always seems bent on trying to get people to ignore or disbelieve God’s guidance. Perhaps the contrasting outcome of the two stories can help us prepare for our own times of trial. The scripture texts are Genesis 2:15-17 combined with 3:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11. April’s sermon title is, “An Eye-Opening Experience.”
March 12, 2017 – Jonathan Chute “For Free”
Letter to the Romans the Apostle Paul tries to express perhaps the central truth of our faith. He uses the example of Abraham, one of the most well-known figures of the Old Testament, to show that salvation is a gift from God, and not our own doing. We would like to think that God loves us at least partly because we are lovable. We do our best to live up to God’s hopes, and we hope God notices. But Paul wants us to remember that grace comes to us when we have done nothing to earn it. We do not deserve God’s blessing. It is ours, not because of who we are but because of who God is. It’s a gift, from a loving and generous God. The text for Jonathan’s
sermon, “For Free,” is Romans 4:1-5, and 13-18.
March 19, 2017 – Jonathan Chute “By the Well”
Our gospel for this coming Sunday includes the longest conversation between Jesus and anyone in the New Testament. It takes place at the well outside the city of Sychar, a Samaritan village. Wells were the center of life in that part of the world. They brought people together in a land where water was scarce. This day, at noon, a woman comes to draw water as she likely did each day. But the conversation between them moves quickly from the ordinary water that quenches our thirst, to the “living water” of grace Jesus offers. He seems to know all about her, even though they have just met. His openness and honesty with the woman has a remarkable effect on her. She goes back into the city with a new understanding of herself, and a question she can’t quite answer – “he can’t be the Messiah, can he?” The text for Jonathan’s sermon is John 4:5-30, and his title is “By the Well.” It’s just three days before World Water Day, March 22, 2017. Jesus was (of course) “well” ahead of his time….