In the second message in the series on Jesus’ life as told in Matthew, we come to Jesus’ baptism. Melissa provides a fresh perspective on this age-old story and invites those of us who have been baptized to reflect back on what it means. Matthew 3:1-17
Melissa preached from Matthew 1:17-25, the story of an incredibly creative act of God. The doctrine of the virgin birth becomes, as Karl Barth says, “The guard at the door of the mystery of Christmas.”
Melissa provided a Christmas Eve sermon. Our lives, as Jesus’
Rachel tells the story of William Kamkwamba, a boy in Malawi whose family faced starvation due to extreme drought. Ultimately a story of resilience and hope, along with creativity and ingenuity, what makes this an Advent story is because of the faithfulness and trust in the midst of incredible adversity. We may be longing for food, for shelter, or for clarity or friendship, or for justice or a sense of God’s nearness. The Magnificat is a prophetic word for God’s hungry people. Luke 1:46b-55, Micah 5:2-5a.
We are being called out of enmity over and over again and into friendship with God. We are now called friends because of God’s love for us. It’s this same love we are to show our enemies. Luke 3:1-14
Melissa spoke from Jeremiah 33:14-16 and Luke 21-25-36. Look around; the time is now. Stand up! Raise your heads. Don’t hide, don’t run away, don’t weep and gnash your teeth. Don’t numb yourself against this world, shutting it out with whatever distractions you can find. During this time of Advent, take hope. Hope is a posture of your body; the way your body acts in the world. Hope is unraveling itself among us as Jesus continues to come into the world.
In the 37 times that Jesus describes the reign of God in the Gospels, not once is the kingdom of God like a kingdom of earth. Each time, Jesus tells them stories. Over and over again he roots the liberation of God in ordinary life, in what happens around us, not in throne rooms with princes and crowns but in baking bread and sowing seeds.
Doug Luginbill, Central District Conference minister, joined us this Sunday to ordain Melissa and install Rachel. This recording includes the ordination and installation, as well as Doug’s sermon from the lectionary reading of Isaiah 36:14; 13-20; 37:1-7; 2:1-4. Together pastors and congregations clarify the vision to which God is calling them. They discern the gifts of the congregation, identify where God is at work, and join the journey.
This service was also webcast and is available on YouTube.
An oft-quoted verse, Micah 6:8, framed the message introduced by Melissa and shared by Shannon and Deb. Shannon focuses on the meaning of kindness and Deb talks about what it means to walk humbly.
Melissa spoke from 2 Samuel 11:1-5, 26-27, 12:1-9 and Psalm 51. David makes a tragic and terrible decision and the results are heinous. When we see or hear of acts like this, we seek a confession from the wrongdoer, though David doesn’t come clean until he’s confronted by Nathan.
Once we let the truth out, it’s no longer ours alone. When we confess publicly, it makes us dependent upon one another. What kind of a community do we need to be that we are able to confess into it, where we can nurture a truth about our lives instead of pretending and walking around like everyone’s okay?
Telling and rewriting the story of Joshua from Joshua 24:1-15, Melissa shared about her experiences of visiting border communities in Arizona and Mexico to learn more about the current immigration situation.
Angel brought the message on this World Communion Sunday. The lectionary reading was from Exodus 19:3-7, 20:1-17. How do the Ten Commandments speak to us today?
Melissa brought the message from Exodus 14 about Moses and the Israelites being delivered out of the land of the Egyptians and crossing the sea.
Today’s lesson from Genesis 39:1-23 about Joseph and Potiphar’s wife was particularly salient given the week’s current events. Melissa asks, “How is the empire we can’t help but be a part of controlling our lives? Where is our allegiance?” As Ta-Nehisi Coates has said, “You are called to struggle, not because it assures you victory but because it assures you an honorable and sane life.”
The service was also live-streamed and the video is available on RMC’s YouTube channel.