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This Sunday, we will visit the story of the upper room.  How Jesus responds and shows leadership is surprising to the disciples but is a clue to us about what might be required of us during this time.  Together we will see what response this invites of us as we move forward in the next few days and weeks. 

Scripture: Luke 22: 7-23 & John 13: 1-2a, 4-17

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As we continue Finding our Way to Jerusalem with Jesus, we this week encounter Jesus’ interaction with the money changers in the temple.   This interaction is about Jesus confronting a system of economics and privilege .  The religious authorities of Jesus day had been cooped by the Roman empire and Jesus, as one who identified with the poor and marginalized, ends up giving voice to that population in this excerpt from the passion story.  Together we will look at the parallels for today.

Scripture: Mark 11: 15- 19

Link to video shown during sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K5fbQ1-zps&fbclid=IwAR1D0gYVLvT-ZDqzh88UkKMH3uri8af5yhSKR4Yl5awPIW_qLxyAVCYv-B8

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This is the first Sunday of Lent and our beginning of a new theme of FINDING OUR WAY TO JERUSALEM WITH JESUS. Throughout this theme we will hear the stories often saved for Holy Week (see my article in Tidelines about why) and a few others often overlooked.  This Sunday we begin with the entrance into Jerusalem and the Palm Sunday story, and while this story is familiar to many, the story that follows in Mark is not, which is the cursing of the fig tree.  Together these form the beginning of a narrative that the Gospel of Mark is beginning to weave about who Jesus was and what following him might entail. The highs of Palms Sunday get mixed in with the funny expletive from Jesus regarding a fig tree that has no fruit. It seems to me that this is all part of the building anxiety that Jesus is encountering in himself that he is not always able to put words to or that the disciples were unable to see. Join me as we unpack this story and many others during the season of Lent.

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Scripture: Mark 11: 1-4

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As we come to the end of our lost and found series, we will look this week at both the Lost treasure and lost pearl parables that Jesus tells in Matthew’s gospel.  The short pithy nature of these parables is part of what forms the opinion of scholars that they are authentic to the historical Jesus.   That being said,  they are also a bit enigmatic which is both a blessing and a curse.   The good news is that they invite us in to conversation, reflection and challenge to walk a different path that enriches our life and the life of others.  

 

Scripture: Matthew 13: 44-46

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#MoreThanJustSundays

In the second week of our lost and found theme, we will encounter the story of the woman and her lost coin.  Like our story last week, the woman is eager to find what is lost.  We will work to uncover the secrets of this parable without falling into the trap of allegorizing.  This parable immediately follows last weeks parable in Luke and is part of a three parable cycle which ends with the prodigal son.

 

Scripture: Luke 15: 8-10

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As we begin the month of February, we enter into a new sermon series: The Lost and Found Parables. Each week we will focus on a different parable and see how it is that these enigmatic aphorism’s point us to larger truths about the unfolding realm of God. One of the greatest mistakes often made with the parables is to allegorize them and that has been the temptation of many including the Gospel writers themselves.  We will seek to find the lost meanings and recover the radical nature of the parables themselves. This week we begin with the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Come find out about the various layers of this story.

Scripture: Luke 15: 1-7, & Matthew 18: 1-5, 10-14

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This is the last Sunday of January and the last Sunday with our story about Cana Wine.  Last Sunday, Margaret reminded us of weddings and the context of community and the places that Jesus and the disciples are left to work things out.  This week, I’m gonna focus on Jesus and his discernment about himself through the lens of this story.  John’s gospel is quite different in the way he deals with Jesus coming to terms with his call and identity and this story our introduction to that .  It fall right on the heals of the story of his baptism by John but in this Gospel,  there is no dessert scene.   Instead it’s a wedding!   Now that’s a contrast for sure and not an accidental one.  Together we will push at what it means to separate the message from the messenger and how the church has often messed that up. 

Scripture: John 2: 1-12

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Last Sunday we began a three week series looking at the story from John’s Gospel of Jesus at the wedding in Cana. We stepped outside the literal interpretation of Jesus as a ‘miracle worker’ who turned water into wine and reflected on how Jesus was always intent to point to all the potentialities beyond a narrow, individualized sense of religion and self.

This week we will look at this story from the perspective of what it means for Jesus and the other characters to be part and parcel of the larger community---with a whole host of expectations, joys, dilemmas and opportunities. As we reflect on the gifts which flow outward as ‘Cana Wine’ is shared with intention and joy, we will also have the opportunity to name how Jesus is calling us to embrace his radical vision of being grounded in community.  Margaret will be preaching this week so that I can let my voice recover a bit more and have some Sunday respite in my head and thinking as well.   I will still be around on Sunday to share in other aspects of the service and to interact with you all.

As we make our way into 2020, we begin with a new story - Jesus at the wedding in Cana. John uses this story as sign and symbol of what is to come and to identify Jesus himself as the sign we are waiting for. Miracle stories are challenging things because they induce concepts of magic for us and that is hot what they are about. They are also not about changing the natural laws of science and the world and bending them to suit the context. Instead they are meant to represent something larger than themselves. So often we get caught on the literal understanding of the story that we miss the message and the meaning that has the potential to change us.... and that is what is always at the core of the gospel. 

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