April 5, 2020 – Jonathan Chute “From a Distance”
Palm Sunday launches the week at the heart of the Christian year. What we now call Holy Week began with the waving of palm branches and a triumphal celebration. But in the days that followed the story took a number of twists and turns. Some of his followers betrayed and deserted him. The crowds which had welcomed him with hope and wonder just days before now mock and rage. The story is told a series of readings from the last days of his life. As the week’s events unfold, it is hard to tell who is really closest to Jesus. The text for Jonathan’s sermon, “From a Distance,” is found in Matthew 26 and 27.
The story of this week gathers Christians around the world in grace and hope. Wherever you may be, may the grace of God, the peace of Christ, and the hope of the Holy Spirit be with you through these days.
April 12, 2020 – Jonathan Chute “Shaking”
Easter celebrates that God’s grace and love overcome the forces of sin and death. Even in the midst of our present distress we sing “Alleluia!” and dare to hope in the truth of this good news.
Early on the morning of the resurrection two women come to the tomb, where the body of Jesus had been laid just days before. Why they are there is not exactly clear as Matthew tells the story, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The earth shakes, and when they arrive they find an angel sitting at the entrance to the tomb. He tells them that Christ has been raised from the dead and will meet his friends again in Galilee. They hear this good news, but don’t quite understand it. They leave the tomb quickly, “with fear and great joy.” Matthew 28:1-10 provides our text for Jonathan’s sermon this Easter Sunday, “Shaking.”
April 19, 2020 – April Herron “Raised Up”
Easter is more than a day. It is a season; a new creation; a continually repeated celebration.
After God raised Jesus from the dead, the followers of Jesus began to learn what their lives would be like going forward. Over time, they discovered that they would be personally transformed by God’s power for life. Ultimately, they came to understand that they were the ones who would continue to spread the word of God’s love and grace in the world. The scripture text for April 19, 2020, from Acts 2:14 and 22-32, is an excerpt from a public explanation by Peter of God’s on-going activity in the world. The disciples have become witnesses who testify to the resurrection. April’s sermon title is, “Raised Up.” The Word for Children will be based upon John 20:24-19.
April 26, 2020 – Jonathan Chute “Companions”
Our gospel takes place on the afternoon and evening of Easter, as two of the disciples are walking down the road, not far from Jerusalem. They encounter a stranger who joins them on the way. He talks with them about the events of the past week, opening their eyes to the scriptures. They invite him to join them for the night and he agrees. But at the supper table something unexpected happens. As the stranger takes, blesses and breaks the bread, the two disciples see that it is the risen Christ who has been with them all along. Luke 24:13-35 is the text for Jonathan’s sermon, “Companions.”