Melissa works at clearing up misconceptions we often have and reconciling some of our notions of the sacrificial system of the Old Testament and Jesus’ life and crucifixion. We were forgiven long before we knew we needed forgiving.
Zinith Barbee provided the sermon this morning, intertwining stories of Wyatt Earp and cowboys, with Jesus, his family, and Pharisees. At the end of the four gospels, we don’t get the OK Corral, we get Golgotha. Jesus is not the new Sheriff in town, he’s the new light and life.
Hans brought the message to us this morning with his typical good humor.
We don’t always hear God speaking to us. The Bible shows many different ways God is revealed to and works through God’s people. Sometimes God speaks immediately upon request, but not often.
We need to be mindful, paying attention, and open to messages even when those messages may not be what we want to hear.
Hope seen through Arethra Franklin, the Holy Spirit, and our own congregation.
Our guest speaker this Sunday was Meghan Florian. Her message of hope shared of the power of planting and seeing gardens come to fruition, even in times of difficulty and depression. Sometimes what we sow, only with time will others harvest. What seeds of joy and hope are we planting today, as we uproot injustice and sow peace? What might grow if we remain faithful to God’s call?
This Sunday the service used the music of Patty Griffin to tell stories of a God who is present in the messiness of life. What does the Gospel of Jesus Christ have to say to those with their backs against the wall? The scriptures tell us the answer: God is there with her back against the wall, right beside them, and right beside us.
Rachel draws from Trevor Noah’s memoir Born a Crime to recount the power of understanding many languages. Pentecost calls us to welcome others, to be changed, to be vulnerable, to learn new languages.
“The promise of Pentecost is that we are being made into a people, speaking many languages, to praise God and yet understand each other. ”
RMC has been part of an interfaith group that spends time at the NC women’s prison, celebrating birthdays and sharing times of worship.
Prisons are created to get people out of the way. They did in the day of Paul and Silas, and they do so today. As Willy Jennings has said, prisons are never about criminals; they’re about societies. They’re a tool for control and containment.
To believe in Jesus is to be set free, just as the jailer was from the jail and the prisoner from the prison.
While the passage is specifically about whether male Gentiles who followed the Way of Jesus needed to be circumcised, Melissa explains this really speaks to the broader decision-making process within the early church. We think we have difficulty coming to a consensus as a church; this was a much more volatile issue!
Note: there was some occasional static during parts of the recording. A few brief sections where it was particularly bad were removed as a result, while some was left in. Our apologies.
Melissa’s retelling of the story of Saul on the road to Damascus brings a fresh perspective. Experiencing Jesus changes us. God is no longer a set of propositions, no longer a belief system that needs to be defended by logic. Instead, faith is seen in how our life is lived.
On this Sunday after Easter, we celebrate “Holy Humor.”
We’re called to laugh. Laughter is not an escape. It’s not a weapon. It’s not something to be hoarded. Laughter is something we’re called to nurture. It’s something we’re called to grow in. Laughter is a way to celebrate God’s reign now, and in the future.
Melissa tells us there were two very different realities that Sunday morning, three days after Jesus had been crucified. The contrast between the Jewish women and the Roman soldiers at the grave couldn’t have been greater.
The Easter story is a story of grace. It’s a reordering of life. We’re encouraged to let ourselves be loved by God and to love God in return.
It’s Palm Sunday. The day we celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem as the King of Peace. But Jerusalem is a powder keg at Passover, and Jesus tosses in a match. It’s not unlike the unrest during the Civil Rights movement, when activists carried out a series of non-violent direct actions, pushing against the norms and upsetting those in power. The gospel of Jesus Christ will not make you nice or orderly; it will make you a very poor citizen to the way things have always been. Especially during this Holy Week, what are you willing to be left undone, to make space for resurrection?
Johnny Cash plays heavily in Melissa’s sermon today. In fact, the service included listening to one of his songs that talks about today’s parable of God’s judgment, separating the sheep from the goats.
When I hear Johnny saying God’s going to cut you down, or Jesus preaching the story that might make our eyes a little bit wider, I hear a warning, a red flashing siren from people who know how bad life can be when you are drowning in self-deception, in your ignorance of your neighbor’s suffering, or our desire to look out for ourselves even if it means that you run other people down.
And to be forgiven for hurting people we love? That’s where eternal life starts. To let that forgiveness send you out to discover people who are lost and alone. That is the very center of God’s reign.