11/29/09 – John Kwan – “Looking to the Horizon”
Sermon – Looking to the Horizon
Luke 21: 25-36. This Sunday begins the season of Advent, a time of preparation and expectation for the coming Christ into the world. In this week’s gospel, we hear Jesus speak of signs of distress among the nations, the powers of the heavens being shaken, the roaring of the seas and waves, and a steady diet of fear and foreboding. This after Jesus told his disciples of the coming destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem. Where is the victory? Where is the celebration? Where is the peace and love? The disciples may be asking themselves these very questions. What they and we hear is not a pretty or encouraging picture. In fact, it is downright apocalyptic. And yet Jesus dares to speak of such a time as a time of redemption. How can the ending of a world as they know it be a time of hopeful redemption?
Scripture – Luke 21: 25-36
11/22/09 – Jonathan Chute – “The Early Rain”
Sermon – The Early Rain
Joel 2: 21-27. We often think of Thanksgiving as a celebration by and for the human family. But in our scripture for this Sunday we see that God’s promises of renewal and hope are for the whole creation. The prophet Joel speaks to the people of Israel after a time of drought, desperation and suffering, and tells them that good things are coming their way. God is sending the rain again, and soon the crops will be gathered in to harvest. But the good news is not only for the people. Joel tells even the soil to be glad, and the animals not to be afraid. The pastures shall be green, the trees and vines will bear fruit again. It is a reminder even in the most difficult of days that God is not finished with us, or with the earth, just yet.
Scripture – Joel 2: 21-27
11/15/09 – Jonathan Chute – “Don’t Panic”
Sermon – Don’t Panic
Mark 13: 1-8. This week’s gospel describes signs and warnings of the struggles which Jesus’ followers will face. A time of chaos and destruction is coming, Jesus says, and the disciples want to know when it will be. But Jesus reminds them that there is a more important concern to keep before them. Rather than worrying over events beyond their control, he encourages them not to be afraid – God is still in charge.
Scripture – Mark 13: 1-8
11/8/09 – Jonathan Chute – “Behind the Gift”
Sermon – Behind the Gift
Mark 12: 41-44. This week Jesus and the disciples are sitting outside the temple. They watch as the crowd place many large gifts into the treasury. But then Jesus notices a poor widow who puts in two small coins. It is an almost invisible act of generosity. But what is different about the widow’s gift is not the small size of the contribution, but the size of the spirit behind it. No one would have noticed her before, but now we can’t forget her.
Scripture – Mark 12: 41-44
All Saints Day
11/1/09 – Jonathan Chute – “All Things New”
Sermon – All Things New
Revelation 21:1-6a. This Sunday we remember and give thanks for the saints, those who have encouraged us in our own journeys with their examples of faith, hope and love. We know that they see even more clearly the grace of God that carried them through their lives, and we look to them to remind us of the kind of people we want to be.
In this week’s scripture we see a picture of the new heaven and new earth that God promises to the faithful in every age. It is a place and a time when the struggle and suffering of this present life will have passed away. It is a vision of community and compassion, the renewal of everything we have ever known. Our culture places a great value on what is new. At the same time, there are lots of things we wish would stay the same. In Revelation, God’s promise is the end of struggle and suffering. Death and grief, crying and pain will pass away. A new day is dawning.
Scripture – Revelation 21:1-6a