August 6, 2017 – Jonathan Chute “Limping for Joy”
This week our scripture tells of the dramatic encounter between Jacob and a stranger by the side of a desert stream. After nightfall a man attacks Jacob, and wrestles with him till morning. Throughout the night it seems that something more is going on. Is it a man who wrestles Jacob? An angel? God, in person? Jacob, who has been clutching and grabbing his whole life long, simply refuses to let go of his assailant no matter who it is. He pays for his tenacity, but is rewarded as well. The text for Jonathan’s sermon is Genesis 32:22-31, and his title is “Limping for Joy.”
August 13, 2017 – Jonathan Chute “Breaking the Chain”
This Sunday’s scripture tells the story of Joseph, the youngest son of his father, Jacob. Aside from having rather grandiose and self-serving dreams, his brothers can’t help but notice that Joseph is the apple of their father’s eye. His obvious favoritism causes much resentment and jealousy among them. They kidnap their brother and sell Joseph into slavery. They think they’re done with him. But Joseph ends up becoming a trusted servant and advisor in the house of the Pharaoh. A drought comes upon that part of the world, and Jacob and his sons become refugees, seeking relief from famine and hunger. When they get to Egypt, their brother recognizes them. Our text for the day captures the scene of a dramatic and tearful reunion. When Joseph shows himself to them, they cannot speak for their shock and fear. Rather than seek revenge on them for their mistreatment and abuse, Joseph forgives them. The text for Jonathan’s sermon is Genesis 45:1-15, “Breaking the Chain.”
August 20, 2017 – SSP Sunday Led by the Youth
This summer some 40 junior and senior high youth, and 14 adult counselors, took part in mission trips with Sierra Service Project and Seeds of Learning. They helped build a school in a village in Nicaragua. They improved homes of Native Americans in Chiloquin, Oregon and Tsaile, Arizona. They raised the funds to make this work possible, and you helped! This Sunday we get to hear back from them about their adventures in service and love.
Of course our mission is given to us by God. Our work in the world is informed by God’s holy scripture. We’ll take a brief pause after our long running Genesis series, and hear a rather different voice speaking from the First Letter of John. It’s a passage that guided this summer’s service project contributions. In it, John emphasizes God’s love for humanity and God’s desire that we show our love for God by loving one another. It’s an encouraging word to hear, and even more fun when we put it to work!
August 27, 2017 – Jonathan Chute “Sister Circle”
This Sunday we continue our journey through the early years of God’s people, as told in the book of Exodus. Until now, the story has been seen mostly through the eyes of the patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. But Exodus takes a rather different look at things. The ancient Hebrews have become enslaved in Egypt. The Pharaoh is afraid that there are too many of them, and they may rise up against their masters. He imposes even more ruthless conditions on them, and orders that all newborn Hebrew boys shall be killed. In the midst of this terror and threat, a baby is born and given the name Moses. At this key moment, a number of women demonstrate courage and hope defying the king’s orders. They are the only reason the child survives, and the story continues. The text for Jonathan’s sermon is Exodus 1:8-2:10, and his title is “Sister Circle.”