Blessings and Relationships – Sept. 24, 2017

Melissa preaches at Raleigh Mennonite ChurchMelissa preached from Genesis 27:1-29, 28:1-10, the story of Jacob stealing his father Isaac’s blessing from his twin brother Esau.

In this world there are the winners and losers. Those who have and those who are left behind. At the outset of the story, Jacob is out to be one of those who has, and his mother Rebekah is going to help make it happen.

Maybe the story of Jacob and Esau is a chance to see God’s sovereignty in a new way. God’s ability to move in the world can coexist with us being wrong. Maybe this story helps us to see that God’s sovereign work is not just to undo this wrong, but to undo us. Jacob then spends the rest of his life undoing what he’s done; returning the blessing he stole back to Esau. That’s how God works in world, setting things right.

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Held by Something Larger than Ourselves – Sept. 17, 2017

Rachel Taylor speaking April 19, 2015Rachel brought the message on a very tough scripture, Genesis 21:1-2; 22:1-14, about God commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. The point of the story of Abraham and Isaac is not to draw people in to worship a God who would do this, but rather to help people who are already in to stay in relationship with the one true God even when their world is turned upside down. This is the story of being in the habit of being in conversation with God even when things don’t make sense.  To illustrate her message, Rachel showed several pictures by famous artists depicting this story.


Tricked into Conversion – Aug. 13, 2017

Rachel preaching on August 13, 2017.Rachel spoke from Genesis 38, a passage not included in the lectionary readings and rarely included in sermons.  It’s a difficult passage for us, particularly to understand in our current age.

While Tamar’s actions seem strange to us, you could say she was engaging in nonviolent direct action. Tamar took risks, exposed wrongs, invited repentance, changed hearts and bore new life.

This story shows us that even when it seems we have no options, even when it seems that injustice and inaction will win, we are invited to find a way to subvert the system itself.

How have you been tricked into being more righteous?


The Trinity as Mystery – May 22, 2016

Melissa Florer-Bixler speaking at RMC May 22, 2016On this Trinity Sunday in the church calendar, our pastoral candidate Melissa Florer-Bixler spoke about the often erroneous or over-simplified explanations of the Trinity. She used the story from Genesis 18:1-15 of The Three visiting Abraham and Sarah as a way for us to delve into the mystery of the Trinity.  Melissa referred to Russian artist Andrei Rublev’s Trinity, which was projected during the message.

God shows up in human lives, finding us and surprising us, like a guest or a friend when we least expect it. We know God not by observing from the outside, but from participating from the inside of God’s life, being folded into God’s life. God is mysterious and ever opening us up to new possibilities, to new surprises.