This week's sermon...from Luke 5:1-11.
What does a faithful response to an encounter with Christ look like? When Simon recognized Jesus as God's divine agent, as a holy one through whom God was at work, he abandoned everything in order to follow after him. He didn't take the miraculous catch of fish as a sign of divine blessing; he walked away from it, taking it as a sign that he needed a change! May we, too, have the courage to drop everything and follow.
This week's sermon...from Luke 5:1-11.
I wonder what would happen if Jesus showed up at First Covenant today? What would he say if we gave him the microphone? Would we like what he had to say? Or would he push the bounds of our comfort zone, stretching us...maybe even challenging our accepted "orthodoxy"?
When Jesus showed up in Nazareth, he made the good, respectable, religious folks pretty uncomfortable. Maybe we need to be discomforted too...even us good, respectable, Christian folk who show up at church each Sunday!
This week's sermon...from Luke 4:14-30.
John the Baptist isn't just the opening act for Jesus, the guy who gets the crowd warmed up for the main show. And his ministry isn't just a formulaic answer about how things "needed" to happen. Rather, John was a sign that the irruption of God into human history was about to happen. He gave voice to the stirrings and rumblings of the Spirit as God began to move. And so he called for repentance, transformation, and social justice as a means to preparation for the inbreaking of God into creation. Are we ready? Do we heed the signs of what God is doing among us?
This week's sermon...from Luke 3:1-22.
Simeon hits the nail on the head: Jesus brings about both the rising and the falling of many. This is because Jesus' message is one of leveling and reversal; in Christ, God is upsetting the comfortable status quo that gives some privilege, power, and advantage. While this is disorienting to those of us who (on a global scale) sit on the top of the heap, ultimately God is seeking to give us a new orientation: the orientation of God's Kingdom.
The question for us: which side will we be on? Will we be like those who rejected, resisted, or just missed the light of Christ because it was uncomfortable? Or will we be like Simeon and Anna who waited patiently for God to bring about something, and when it finally showed up, they recognized it...as unexpected as it was?
This week's sermon...from Luke 2:21-38.
Not all disorientations are bad, but they are still disorienting. Sometimes disorientation is simply the growing pain that we must go through in order to become who God created us to be. Sometimes it comes from letting go of the things we cling to in order to step into what God wants to bring about in and through us. Sometimes it comes from starting something new and stepping into the unknown. Sometimes we need to get disoriented, knocked off our present course, because God has a New Orientation to show us...something even better in store that, in our tunnel vision, we can’t currently see. So we allow God to disrupt our lives?
This week's sermon...from Luke 1:26-38.
Death is disorienting. But there are worse things than dying. Not all life is true living; not all death is true dying. When we live in fear, in isolation, in anger and resentment, in the pursuit of wealth or power...this is no life at all. The goal of human life, what we were created for, is not just biological functioning, a heart beat or brain activity; we were created for abundant life, life to the fullest, an eternal kind of life. When we live like that, we can in turn die well. This is God's New Orientation.
This week's sermon...from Luke 8:42-48.
The article referenced in the sermon can be found at: covenantcompanion.com/2018/11/02/diagnosis-cancer/
Life doesn't always pan out the way we expect it to or think it should. We all begin from a place of orientation, with hopes and dreams for our lives. But when those dreams fade or the hopes never materialize, it's disorienting, and the Church hasn't always been a place where it's safe to talk about the hard things. Christian faith isn't just about triumph and victory; it also sits quietly with those who are in places of darkness and difficulty. Let's make space for all the stories, even those that don't quickly and easily resolve.
This week's sermon...from Luke 1.
Hurricanes. Wildfires. Floods. War. Famine. Displacement. Nuclear escalation. Sometimes it feels like the world is riding on a knife-edge of chaos and destruction...like the world is going to hell in a handbasket. We try to protect ourselves. We try to insulate ourselves. But the turmoil is real. And it's disorienting. And there's no easy, satisfying answer to the problem.
But when all hell is breaking loose, when the wicked prosper, when we see corruption in the highest offices in the land, when injustice seems to have the day, and disaster strikes near to us...still those who are God's People, those who will be marked out as righteous, are those who remain faithful to God's Way of peace, love, justice, and mercy, as they wait for the Lord.
This week's sermon...from Habakkuk.
The whole of Christian faith could be understood as a movement through disorientation and into new orientation. We experience this in big and small ways in our own lives. But most of all we see this movement in the story of Jesus Christ himself as we move through the disorientation of the cross to the new orientation of the resurrection. Nobody saw this thing coming! It doesn’t make sense! It’s foolishness and a stumbling block! Unless we have been given a new orientation…God’s orientation.
This week's sermon...from Philippians 2:5-11.
Sooner or later, times of "disorientation" come for us all...times of turmoil, loss, chaos, brokenness, hardship. Christian faithfulness is not about pretending that everything is fine or that we like everything that happens to us; faithfulness is shown in how we move through the darkness and disorientation to find new life, hope, light, and rebirth on the other side.
This week's sermon...from Psalms 16, 137, and 30.
(We didn't catch the first several minutes of the sermon on the recording. Sorry!)