12/27/09 – Jonathan Chute – “As Usual”
Sermon – As Usual
Luke 2: 41-52. This week’s gospel shows us the only picture we have of Jesus from his childhood. He and his parents have gone to Jerusalem for the Passover, but when they leave he stays behind in the temple, teaching and astounding the elders. It will not be the last time that Jesus amazes religious leaders, or confounds his family.
Scripture – Luke 2: 41-52
12/24/09 – Christmas Eve
Jonathan Chute – “Life, Interrupted”
Sermon – Life, Interrupted
Luke 2: 1-20. The gospel for Christmas Eve is (not surprisingly) the story of Jesus’ birth. The scene portrays a familiar and comforting manger scene of a loving mother and father surrounding their newborn baby, with animals and shepherds from the fields. It is such a heartwarming picture that we might overlook what it means to bring a child into the world in such circumstances. At the end of their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph were really just getting started.
Scripture – Luke 2: 1-20
12/20/09 – Jonathan Chute – “The Surprise Inside”
Sermon – The Surprise Inside
Luke 1: 39-47. In this week’s gospel two women, both pregnant, greet one another. Elizabeth, the older of the two, has been waiting and hoping for a child for years. For her it is the answer to prayer. Mary, her young cousin, is in a more complicated situation. Pregnancy outside of marriage was punishable by death. It may well not have been safe back in Nazareth, so she has journeyed far from home, to the hill country of Judea. It is easy to imagine that this is a stressful, difficult time for Mary, as she comes through the front door of the home. But at the sound of Mary’s voice the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy. There is warmth and compassion between the two women. But something even more important is going on than we can see.
Scripture – Luke 1: 39-47
12/13/09 – Jonathan Chute – “Everyday Hope”
Sermon – Everyday Hope
Luke 3: 7-18. In this week’s gospel John the Baptist addresses the crowds who came out to him for baptism. They have made a journey out to the desert. They know that they are among God’s chosen people. Even so, John doesn’t seem all that impressed with them. But he also says that if they really want to change, they can. John wasn’t easy on his listeners. But he gave the people the hope that they could make a new beginning in their lives. For this reason Luke tells us that John preached “good news to the people.”
Scripture – Luke 3: 7-18
12/06/09 – Jonathan Chute – “Starting Fresh”
Sermon – Starting Fresh
Luke 3: 1-6. This week’s gospel introduces us to John the Baptist, preaching repentance and forgiveness by the side of the Jordan river. It was a time of expectation and preparation for the people of Israel as well. From out in the wilderness John called them to make a new beginning. He knew that they were not ready for what God was getting ready to do. The time had come to clear away old habits and cherished hurts, and to make room the grace of God in their lives. Repentance is often seen as something negative – a reminder that we don’t always live up even to our own self-image. But John’s invitation opens the door to a new, more hopeful future.
Scripture – Luke 3: 1-6