Melissa Florer-Bixler preaching at Raleigh Mennonite Feb. 18, 2018

A Conversation about Jesus’ Death – March 18, 2018

Melissa changed up the format a little this Sunday for her sermon. Speaking from John 19:1-16a about Jesus’ trial and condemnation to death, she provided an introduction then invited the congregation to help answer the age-old question, “Why did Jesus die?”  There have been multiple perspectives or understandings of why Jesus was crucified. We interpret scripture together in community.

In the Gospel of John we see that Jesus dies not for our sins but because of our sins. He refuses to protect himself from the world. Jesus is love, and the world kills him for it.

 

A Conversation about Jesus’ Death – March 18, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 23:58
 
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Melissa Florer-Bixler preaching at Raleigh Mennonite Feb. 18, 2018

The Banality of Evil – March 11, 2018

Before Melissa’s sermon, we listened to Billie Holiday’s rendition of the haunting song “Strange Fruit.”  The sermon was based on John 18:28-40, about Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate.

Crucifixions were a common thing during Roman rule. They served not so much as death penalties as they were a form of social control.  Bodies on crosses were strategically placed at crossroads to remind the people of the power of Rome to crush their dreams for freedom. In that way, they were more like the lynchings that took so many black men’s lives in the Jim Crow south than they were modern forms of capital punishment. “Every cross is a lynching tree, and every lynching tree is a cross,” wrote James Cone.  Jesus’ trial was like so many trials of black men during that era: a sham.

Pilate plays a pivotal role in the trial, even though he was just trying to find middle ground, going between the religious officials and Jesus. He was just trying to do his job. Something many of us try to do as we navigate our circumstances.

 

The Banality of Evil – March 11, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 12:21
 
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Rachel Taylor speaking at Raleigh Mennonite Jan. 1, 2017

The Fire of God’s Love – March 4, 2018

Rachel brought the sermon based on John 18:17-27, reflecting on the oft-told story of Peter denying he knew Jesus, his teacher.  Peter was later able to take the experience of his failure, look at it with God’s eyes, and use it to imagine something new.  She links the charcoal fire they were gathered around in this story, with the charcoal fire over the lake where Peter is redeemed by Jesus and told to “feed my sheep.”

This is the liturgical season for us to collectively face what we’re capable of, for us to examine the ways we are and who God is. For us to take an honest look at our failures. A time to gently, carefully and deliberately open up ourselves to God’s loving judgement, to God’s eyes,  so that God can bury all that is within us that keeps us from God.

The Fire of God’s Love – March 4, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 10:32
 
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Melissa Florer-Bixler preaching at Raleigh Mennonite Feb. 18, 2018

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” – Feb. 18, 2018

John 11:1-44 – The Death of Lazarus

Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, a time for prayer as we anticipate with sorrow Jesus’ death. This year Ash Wednesday was marked by the death of 17 students and teachers at the High School in Parkland, Fl. The Ash Wednesday cross contains ashes representing death. Melissa reminds us that the same oil is used to mark us as Christians when we are baptized. The scripture recounts Lazarus’ death and resurrection. A resurrection that allows us to believe in a new world where we are safe in God’s light. A world where we no longer fear death.

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” – Feb. 18, 2018
Raleigh Mennonite Church Sermons

 
 
00:00 / 14:46
 
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