June 2, 2019 – Jonathan Chute “Free!”
This week’s scripture tells the continuing story of liberation and healing that takes place as the followers of Jesus go out into the wider world. Paul and Silas arrive in Philippi, a city in the northeastern part of Greece. A young woman is following and bothering them, a slave whose fortune telling makes her owners a good deal of money. Seemingly out of annoyance Paul frees her from the spirit that has held her captive. But he ends up in jail when her owners complain to the authorities. From there the story takes another twist. During the night an earthquake shakes the prison and frees the captives inside. But the story of liberation isn’t finished yet. There are still others who yearn for the freedom of new life in Christ. The text for Jonathan’s sermon, “Free!”, is Acts 16:16-34, for those who wish to read ahead.
June 9, 2019 – Jonathan Chute “Hearing Assistance”
This Sunday is Pentecost, often called “the birthday of the church.” Our scripture describes the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, fifty days after Easter. They are in Jerusalem for a harvest festival, along with Jews from around the known world. As the Spirit descends on them as tongues of fire the disciples begin to speak, and those who are gathered hear them in their own native languages. Whether the miracle was in the speaking or in the hearing is hard to tell. Either way, God demonstrates an interest in creating community across all kinds of lines. It is a picture of inclusion that will both encourage and confound the church for about the next twenty centuries. The text for Jonathan’s sermon, “Hearing Assistance,” is Acts 2:1-18.