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Sermons

11th Sunday after Pentecost

Lectionary 18 • August 5, 2018 • Pastor Mark Price

Apparently not satisfied by Jesus’ feeding of thousands, some who were there press him for a sign of his power; perhaps it is daily manna they want. As always in John’s gospel when people want a sign, Jesus offers himself. He is the bread come from heaven to give life to the world. He calls us to come to him and believe in him, and through that relationship to know the one who sent him.

9th Sunday after Pentecost

July 22 sermon 2018 • July 22, 2018 • Pastor Nelson H. Rabell-González

Mark’s gospel makes clear how great was the press of the crowd, with its countless needs to be met, on Jesus and his disciples. Yet in today’s gospel Jesus advises his disciples to get away and rest, to take care of themselves. Sometimes we think that when others are in great need we shouldn't think of ourselves at all; but Jesus also honors the caregivers’ need. We are sent from Christ’s table to care for others and for ourselves.

7th Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday, July 8, 2018 • July 8, 2018 • Pastor Nelson H. Rabell-González

Jesus does great deeds of power and gives his disciples authority over demons. Yet none of this power is unilateral; it all must be received by faith. Jesus asks his disciples to go out without money or supplies, so that they will be dependent on how others receive them. When we are sent from the assembly to witness and to heal, we are asked to be vulnerable, to be dependent on the reception of others. The Spirit always operates in the between: between Jesus and his Abba, between Jesus and us, between you and me, between us and those to whom we are sent.

5th Sunday of Pentecost

John the Baptist Sunday • June 24, 2018 • Pastor Mark Price

Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation! Now we are in the storm, the boat almost swamped; but Jesus is here now, and when we call him he will calm the storm. Even the wind and waves listen to him as they would to their creator. We also listen to him and are called to believe in the power of God’s word in him, a power greater than all that we fear.

2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Lectionary 9 • June 3, 2018 • Pastor Nelson H. Rabell-González

Deuteronomy makes clear that sabbath-keeping is meant for the welfare of all. God delivered the Israelites out of slavery, so they should not ever work anyone else seven days a week. Even slaves should be able to rest; even resident aliens. Yet human beings can turn even the most liberating religious practice into a life-destroying rule. Jesus does not reject sabbath-keeping, but defends its original life-enhancing meaning. Our worship and our religious way of life are to lead to the hungry being fed and the sick being healed.

Easter 7 Sermon 2018

7th Sunday of Easter • May 13, 2018 • Pastor Mark Price

The gospel for Easter’s seventh Sunday is always taken from the long prayer Jesus prays for his followers in John’s gospel on the night before his death, and always includes Jesus’ desire that his followers will be one as he and the Father are one. This oneness is not mere doctrinal agreement or institutional unity, but mutual abiding, interpenetrating life, mutual love and joy. This oneness is the work of the Spirit whom we have received but also await. Come, Holy Spirit!

Easter 6 Sermon 2018

6th Sunday of Easter • May 6, 2018 • Pastor Nelson H. Rabell-González

This Sunday’s image of the life the risen Christ shares with us is the image of friendship. We are called to serve others as Jesus came to serve; but for John’s gospel, the image of servanthood is too hierarchical, too distant, to capture the essence of life with Christ. Friendship captures the love, the joy, the deep mutuality of the relationship into which Christ invites us. The Greeks believed that true friends are willing to die for each other. This is the mutual love of Christian community commanded by Christ and enabled by the Spirit.

Easter 4 Sermon 2018

Good Shepherd Sunday • April 22, 2018 • Pastor Mark Price

The image of the Good Shepherd shows us how the risen Christ brings us to life. It is the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep, one of mutual knowledge and love, that gives the shepherd authority. The shepherd’s willingness to lay down his life for the sheep shows his love. First John illustrates what it means to lay down our lives for one another by the example of sharing our wealth with any sister or brother in need.

Easter 3 Sermon 2018

3rd Sunday of Easter • April 15, 2018 • Pastor Nelson H. Rabell-González

The gospel for the third Sunday of Easter is always one in which the risen Christ shares food with the disciples, meals that are the Easter template for the meal we share each Lord’s day. In today’s gospel, Jesus both shares the disciples’ food and shows them the meaning of his suffering, death, and resurrection through the scriptures: the two main elements of our Sunday worship.

2nd Sunday of Easter Sermon 2018

Easter 2 Sermon • April 8, 2018 • Pastor Nelson H. Rabell-González

The Easter season is a week of weeks, seven Sundays when we play in the mystery of Christ’s presence, mostly through the glorious Gospel of John. Today we gather with the disciples on the first Easter, and Jesus breathes the Spirit on us. With Thomas we ask for a sign, and Jesus offers us his wounded self in the broken bread. From frightened individuals we are transformed into a community of open doors, peace, forgiveness, and material sharing such that no one among us is in need.

Easter Sunday Sermon

Easter Sunday 2018 • April 1, 2018 • Pastor Nelson H. Rabell-González

This year may be the one in which John’s resurrection account is likely to be chosen over Mark’s, perhaps because Mark’s gospel ends so abruptly, with astonishment and fear rather than joyful proclamation. Yet Mark may speak to our experience more directly than the other gospels. Corinthians and Acts fill out the story by telling of appearances of the risen Christ. Peter says we “ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” And so do we, in a foretaste of the mountaintop feast where death will be no more.

Lent 3 Sermon 2018

Third Sunday of Lent • March 4, 2018 • Pastor Nelson H. Rabell-González

The third covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the central one of Israel’s history: the gift of the law to those God freed from slavery. The ten commandments are one of the chief parts of Luther’s catechism, a core piece of baptismal instruction. They begin with the statement that because God alone has freed us from the powers that oppressed us, we are to let nothing else claim first place in our lives. When Jesus throws the merchants out of the temple, he is defending the worship of God alone and rejecting the ways commerce and profit-making can become our gods.

2nd Sunday of Lent 2018

Lent 2 • February 25, 2018 • Pastor Mark Price

The second covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the one made with Abraham and Sarah: God’s promise to make them the ancestors of many, with whom God will remain in everlasting covenant. Paul says this promise comes to all who share Abraham’s faith in the God who brings life into being where there was no life. We receive this baptismal promise of resurrection life in faith. Sarah and Abraham receive new names as a sign of the covenant, and we too get new identities in baptism, as we put on Christ.

1st Sunday of Lent 2018

Sunday, February 18, 2018 • February 18, 2018 • Pastor Mark Price

On Ash Wednesday the church began its journey toward baptismal immersion in the death and resurrection of Christ. This year, the Sundays in Lent lead us to focus on five covenants God makes in the Hebrew Scriptures and to use them as lenses through which to view baptism. First Peter connects the way God saved Noah’s family in the flood with the way God saves us through the water of baptism. The baptismal covenant is made with us individually, but the new life we are given in baptism is for the sake of the whole world.

Transfiguration Sunday Sermon 2018

Sunday, February 11, 2018 • February 11, 2018 • Pastor Mark Price

The Sundays after Epiphany began with Jesus’ baptism and end with three disciples’ vision of his transfiguration. In Mark’s story of Jesus’ baptism, apparently only Jesus sees the Spirit descending and hears the words from heaven. But now Jesus’ three closest friends hear the same words naming him God’s beloved son. As believers, Paul writes, we are enabled to see the God-light in Jesus’ face, because the same God who created light in the first place has shone in our hearts to give us that vision. The light of God’s glory in Jesus has enlightened us through baptism and shines in us also for others to see.

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