October 2, 2016 – Jonathan Chute – “Over and Above”
In our gospel text Jesus tells the disciples a parable that lays out the different roles of master and servant. At the end of the day, Jesus says, when the work in the fields is done, the role of the servant is not over. The servant does not take the place of the master, sitting at the head of the table and being served. Nor does a servant receive a special bonus at the end of the day. Jesus says that when we have done our duty, that is all we have done. It is, or ought to be, enough. For those of us who live in a culture of reward and recognition, Jesus’ words come as something of a surprise. Jonathan’s sermon comes from Luke 17:5-10, and his title is “Over and Above”.
October 9, 2016 – April Herron – “Requesting, Returning, Rejoicing”
Luke 17:11-19 is the story of the ten lepers who ask Jesus for mercy and subsequently receive healing. Only one makes a point of coming back to say, “thank you.” Jesus commends this one for his faith. And here’s the shocking part of the story: the thankful man, the one who models exemplary faith, is a Samaritan. In other words, the very person we think could not possibly be commendable is the one who “gets it.” The Samaritan recognizes the source of help, and seeks to continue a relationship. April’s sermon title is, “Requesting, Returning, Rejoicing.”
October 16, 2016 – Laity Sunday
8:30 Sermon: sermon
10:00 Sermon: sermon
5:30 Sermon: sermon
This week is our annual Laity Sunday, when leaders from among the congregation take the lead in Sunday worship and our pastors step away from the pulpit for the day. John Nelson, Kathy Platnick and Charlie Banasky will each share their takes on one of the scripture readings for the day. John will be speaking at 8:30 a.m., Kathy at 10 a.m., and Charlie at 5:30 p.m.
John and Charlie will be reflecting on one of Paul’s letters to his friend, Timothy, encouraging him to remain faithful and true to the work they have shared. The early Church was still very much figuring itself out in those first years. How they would understand and follow the teachings of Jesus was an open question. The text for their sermons is 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5. John’s title is “Some Things Never Change”, and Charlie’s is “The Table Is Open”.
Kathy’s text is Luke 18:1-8, Jesus’ parable of the widow and the unjust judge. The setting is a courtroom, where Jesus tells his disciples about the need for persistence in prayer. The judge is something of an immovable object, caring not for people nor honoring God. The widow, who has been wronged, is an irresistible force. She keeps bringing and bringing her case before the judge till he can’t stand the sight of her. Kathy’s title is “Squeaky Wheels”.
8:30 Scripture: scripture
10:00 Scripture: scripture
5:30 Scripture: scriputre
October 23, 2016 – Martha Rowlett – “Listening to God”
This Sunday we welcome back the Rev. Dr. Martha Rowlett, our Senior Pastor from 1988-98. Under Martha’s leadership the congregation launched our Family Ministries and Parish Nursing programs, the Prayer Partners, and designed and built our wonderful, welcoming and beautiful sanctuary. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she remains active in church and community. Martha is the author of several books on prayer, and will be offering some of her current reflections on that subject, as well as on the life of the congregation she served so well.
She will be preaching from two texts, 1 Samuel 3:1-10 and Luke 1:26-28. Both are stories of God speaking to human beings, but more importantly, stories of two young people who listened when God spoke. God’s call came to the prophet, Samuel, when he was just a child. It was a difficult time in the history of God’s people. Yet God had not abandoned the people. In the darkness of early morning, a young boy heard God proclaiming a new word of hope.
The gospel text describes another occasion when God spoke in a time of great need, in this case to a young woman. The angel Gabriel announced that Mary had found favor with God. At first she did not understand what his words could mean, or where they might lead. So it is with many who hear God speaking. Martha’s sermon is “Listening to God”.
October 30, 2016 – Jonathan Chute – “Out on a Limb”
In our gospel for this Sunday Jesus encounters a most unlikely candidate for God’s kingdom. Zacchaeus is a chief tax collector, a leader among a despised group. The story takes place as Jesus passes through Jericho, where a large crowd has gathered. Zacchaeus wants to get a look at Jesus, but he is too short to see over the crowd. So he climbs a tree to get a better view. Jesus notices Zacchaeus up in the tree and tells him to come down. Then he invites himself over for dinner! Overcome with joy at the occasion, Zacchaeus promises to give up his old ways and to become a new and better person. At the home of this well-known sinner Jesus makes an announcement that will startle most of his hearers. The text for Jonathan’s sermon is Luke 19:1-10, and his title is “Out on a Limb”.