March 4, 2018 – Jonathan Chute “Out of Business”
According to John’s gospel Jesus is barely into his ministry when he visits the temple in Jerusalem. There he sees the animals being bought and sold, and money being exchanged for the temple offering. He reacts with anger, driving out the animals and turning over the tables of the money changers. The temple, God’s house, has become a business. Something holy and beautiful has been corrupted. It was not the first time that people have taken something good and turned it to other purposes. Nor will it be the last. John 2:13-22 is the basis for Jonathan’s sermon, “Out of Business.”
March 11, 2018 – Jonathan Chute “Getting Involved”
The letter to the Ephesians was composed near the end of Paul’s life, possibly while he was imprisoned in Rome. It circulated widely among the churches of the day. The letter reminds us that new life in Christ is a gift of God’s grace. We do not earn or achieve our salvation. We receive it.
Our gospel text for Sunday contains John’s classic statement of the meaning of the incarnation. Jesus meets with Nicodemus, a leader of the Jewish community. He has questions for Jesus, whom he sees as a teacher come from God. But Jesus lets Nicodemus know that he is more than a teacher. He shares with him the purpose of his coming, which is to bring salvation to the world. Ephesians 2:1-10, and John 3:14-16 form the basis for Jonathan’s sermon, “Getting Involved.”
March 18, 2018 – Youth Sunday
This Sunday, March 18, is Youth Sunday! Young people of our congregation will be leading us in worship. Using the beloved prayer from Psalm 51, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me,” and in highlighting the hopeful promise from the prophet Jeremiah that God writes a covenant of steadfast faithfulness on the hearts of God’s people, the youth will ask the question, “What has God written on your heart?” As we worship, we will have opportunity both to hear God’s word of love for us and to offer encouragement to others.
March 25, 2018 – Jonathan Chute “Marginal Matters”
Palm Sunday launches the week at the very heart of the Christian year. On Sunday morning our worship opens with the waving of palm branches and the joyful procession of our children. Our gospel is told in a series of episodes from the last week of Jesus’ life. The excitement that burst forth when he entered the city is now past. Powerful leaders are moving to oppose him. In the face of threats, soon even his closest friends will falter. At Gethsemane, the disciples cannot keep awake while he prays. After the arrest, Peter denies even knowing who Jesus is. The trial is a sham. The crowd is easily manipulated. In the midst of the tragedy, it is easy to overlook a number of moments when God’s grace is at work where we least expect it. Mark’s telling of these events is the focus of Jonathan’s sermon, “Marginal Matters.”