Walking Toward Suffering – March 29, 2020

On our third online worship service during the COVID-19 pandemic, Melissa had some technical challenges so presented her message without notes. The scripture was from John 11, the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead.

When Mary and Martha tell Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died,” Jesus doesn’t attempt to give them a philosophical answer or placate them with false hope. Instead, Jesus weeps.

Suffering is a Nothing. It’s a none reason, a nonsense. It’s not something that we can ever make sense of. The only answer to suffering is love. The only way through it is love.

After getting the full text of her message back during sharing time, Melissa read us the last paragraph of her prepared sermon:

“There is immense suffering ahead of us, still. I do not want to deceive you by offering false hope or platitudes. But I also know this – there is great love ahead, love so immense that it will take your breath away.”

Walking Toward Suffering – March 29, 2020

 
 
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Melissa preaching via Zoom

The Inability to See – March 22, 2020

We all met from our homes via Zoom as the second week apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Melissa preached from John 9:1-41.

This is a time of anxiety and fear, but it’s also a time for us to sift through our own lives and for us to think about what it will be like to put things back together. What new thing is God doing among us? Listen for it in unexpected places or from unexpected people.

The Inability to See – March 22, 2020

 
 
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Melissa preaching at Fletcher to a Zoom audience

Good News at the Margins – March 15, 2020

On this first Sunday we streamed our service rather than meet in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Melissa preached from John 4:5-42. A small group met at Fletcher to lead worship.

“These are unusual and difficult times. But these are opportunities for us to both be and to receive good news. To let our lives be hope, and to listen to where we have new ways to encounter God’s work.”

Good News at the Margins – March 15, 2020

 
 
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Ronda preaching at RMC on March 8, 2020

He Visited Me – March 8, 2020

John 3:1-17

We had the honor of having Ronda Singletary bring the message this morning. Ronda was recently released from the women’s prison and shared her powerful testimony, including poetry that she wrote.

The recording starts with Sus Long leading the congregation in the song written by and for the women she has worked with, “God of Every Daughter.” Ronda joins her for “His Eye is on the Sparrow” before Ronda brings her message. It closes with Ronda reciting “Reality.”

“Though I walk through the valley of sexual abuse, mental wounds and prison walls, I no longer fear evil.”


Ronda and Sus lead the congregation in a song, with Sus playing guitar.

He Visited Me – March 8, 2020

 
 
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Ryan Paige preaching at RMC on March 1, 2020

Temptations – March 1, 2020

Matthew 4:1-11

The temptations Jesus encountered shows Jesus was the Messiah. The most god-like thing to do in that moment was to not be godlike and while Jesus had the power to be godlike he chose not to.

What would you do in the moment of temptation if you were in Jesus’ position and had Jesus’ power? The history of Christianity shows that when the church grabs power it usually does pretty deplorable things with it. We’ve used it to oppress people, to discriminate, to support bigotry and racism. It’s not a good track record…

You are God’s child, in whom God is well-pleased. What are the temptations you’re facing? Know that you have a Messiah who has been there, who can sustain you as you walk through it.

Temptations – March 1, 2020

 
 
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Melissa Florer-Bixler preaching at RMC service Feb. 2, 2020

People v. Rome – then and now – Feb. 23, 2020

Scripture
Isaiah 25:6-9
Revelation 19:5-10

The secular world enslaves people, in Roman times literally and today through harsh work environments, low wages, unaffordable health care and debt. In Revelation God provokes us to see greed and the hoarding of wealth and align with the poor.

People v. Rome – then and now – Feb. 23, 2020
A Year at the Table

 
 
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Dr. Malinda Berry preaching at RMC on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020

One Mennonite’s Perspective on Living into Communion – Feb. 16, 2020

Luke 22:14-23

Our guest preacher this Sunday was Dr. Malinda Berry. This was part of the weekend she spent with us teaching on our Mennonite theology of Communion and how we might create a robust and living theology of table as a local community.

Communion helps us connect with each other. Malinda drew in part from an essay she wrote for the 30th anniversary edition of Living More with Less about the five life standards the author Doris Janzen Longacre had written outlining what an Anabaptist lifestyle might care about or view as central when we live in the affluence of North America. Do justice, learn from the world community, nurture people, cherish the natural order, and non-conform freely.

Malinda closed by providing us several “What ifs” for us to reflect upon as a congregation.

One Mennonite’s Perspective on Living into Communion – Feb. 16, 2020
A Year at the Table

 
 
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Melissa Florer-Bixler preaching at RMC service Feb. 2, 2020

Bread as Life – Feb. 9, 2020

John 6:25-40, I Corinthians 11:23-26, 12:12, 24-27

Melissa continued the series on communion, focusing today on the role of bread. How bread comes to be is significant, from the grains to the yeast that acts as leavening. In many ways, we are bread.

How do we break ourselves open to be made whole?
How do we find ourselves crushed, in order to be joined into God’s bread of life?

Bread as Life – Feb. 9, 2020
A Year at the Table

 
 
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Melissa preaches at Fletcher Academy on Feb. 2, 2020, the first Sunday RMC met there.

Last Supper – Feb. 2, 2020

Matthew 26:17-30

On this first Sunday that we held worship at Fletcher Academy, Melissa recounts the story of the Last Supper, Jesus having Passover with his friends. The account in Matthew spends more time talking about the betrayal by Judas than it does about breaking of the bread and sharing the cup.

When we come together for communion, we stand in a circle, full of our betrayals, all of our failures, and they’re already awash in the death of Jesus. His life is in the blood.

Last Supper – Feb. 2, 2020
A Year at the Table

 
 
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Rachel Taylor preaching at RMC January 19, 2020

What is this Passover Feast? – Jan. 19, 2020

Exodus 12:3-13 and Mark 14:12-25

Our biblical example of communion stems from Jesus sharing the Passover meal with his disciples.

Rachel reflects on how the church’s communion practice, particularly in white-dominant congregations, can deepen rather than heal racial divisions in the church as it did in the past when white slave owners required those they had enslaved to participate in the practice. It’s too easy to proclaim a false unity; saying “Peace, peace,” where there is no peace.

We must understand how this gift of communion has been damaged in the past, then we can do a better job of honoring it as we continue our walks of faith.

What is this Passover Feast? – Jan. 19, 2020
A Year at the Table

 
 
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Melissa preaching at RMC on Oct. 27, 2019

Remembrance of baptism – Jan. 12, 2020

Matthew 3:3-17

NOTE: There were electronic issues during the recording which caused interference in the audio. It gets progressively worse toward the end of the recording, but it’s a good sermon, so if you can persevere, it’s worth it!

Baptism is a little death. At the same time, all of life is baptism.

There is no point at which you will know enough, or have enough faith, or get enough information, to pass the test for entering this community through baptism. There is no test! It’s already completed.

Baptism won’t initiate a perfect life. In fact, you might get more confused or have more questions.

Remembrance of baptism – Jan. 12, 2020

 
 
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Stan Wilson preaching at RMC on Jan. 5, 2020

Not Belonging – Jan. 5, 2020

John 1, Matthew 2:1-12

Stan Wilson provided the sermon this morning. Drawing from Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, Stan says to be true to our Christian vocation, we need to “not belong.” For the church to not belong, we need to be part of a community that is called to embrace the wholeness and fullness of Christ. We are strangers in an inhumane world. Christians have a calling to not belong in this nation, or any nation, if the lines are drawn to privilege certain ethnic identities, or if the state exists to prop up corporate power against human beings, or to imprison and not restore offenders of the law.

It is life giving to learn where you don’t belong.

Not Belonging – Jan. 5, 2020

 
 
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Melissa preaching at RMC on Oct. 27, 2019

Adoption – Dec. 22, 2019

Isaiah 7:10-16, Matthew 1:18-25

Even though Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father, Jesus becomes a part of Joseph’s story; the inheritor and adopted child of the whole line of God’s promises. Our story as Christians is also one of adoption. We were destined for adoption as God’s children through Jesus Christ.

Adoption – Dec. 22, 2019
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
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Melissa preaching at RMC on August 18, 2019

Revolutionary Magnificat – Dec. 15, 2019

Isaiah 35:1-10 & Luke 1:46-55

When women in the Bible have something to say, it often comes out as a song. Mary’s song, recounted in Luke 1, is revolutionary. God is on the side of the dispossessed and Mary sings of the revolution taking place through God’s world-toppling love.

Melissa’s message was preceded by a video recitation of the Magnificat read by RMC women with Sweet Honey in the Rock’s “We are the One’s” in the background and powerful images of revolutionary women.

Revolutionary Magnificat – Dec. 15, 2019
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
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