The Language of Crackle, Fire…and Silence – Oct. 1, 2017

Joy leading worship on Oct. 8, 2017Joy’s message reflected–or shed light on–Moses’ experience with the burning bush from Exodus 2:23-25, 3:1-15, 4:10-17.

Moses observes the burning bush curiously rather fearfully. Little does he know that fire and smoke will follow Moses for the rest of his life.

Most of us won’t encounter a burning bush, but we do encounter little flickers that remind us that God is with us. God’s light breaks into our lives, often in unexpected ways.

Download

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.

Download

 

 

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.

Download 

Take Up Your Cross – Sept. 3, 2017

Melissa preaches on Sunday, April 9, 2017Melissa spoke today from Matthew 16:21-28 and Romans 12:9-21.  In the Roman empire, the cross was the public warning against dissent. A symbol of the human ability to crush revolution. Today, the cross of Jesus Christ is the black hood of Abu Ghraib, it’s the gun that killed Trayvon Martin, it’s every lethal cocktail used in capital punishment, it’s every lynching tree in the North Carolina woods, it is every cage for bail-held prisoners.

We don’t need icons of paint or wood; we don’t need depictions of Jesus on a cross.  We have one another. We have living icons. Bodies shouldering crosses everyday, showing us that we are strong enough, that the world cannot crush us,  and even if it does, that we will rise again.

Download | Transcript

Why do we Worship? – Aug. 27, 2017

Melissa Florer-BixlerUsing Romans 12:1-8 as her text, Melissa talks about why we worship. Worship is for us. Worship is always about God, but it’s not something that God needs. We’re here to celebrate; to celebrate the life we have through Jesus.

Worship is not something you do and leave behind. You take it with you wherever you go. Worship is done in community. We come here–among other reasons–to discover how to like each other, even with our bizarre particularities!

 

Download | Transcript

 

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?

Download