7.14.19 Sermon - "Love is Our Plumb Line"

And so Jesus then tells the parable of radical love to bring this man back to his plumb line. This story is a story that many of us know well. Many of us know that there was severe animosity between Jews and Samaritans, and so for Jesus to say that a Samaritan was the one who stopped to help this man out would have been a blasphemous thing to say, a completely radical way of looking at things. And this is the new level for us to hold up to our posts, to make sure our fences are straight, to makes sure our lives are level and in alignment with God’s Way of Love. To make sure that our lives don’t look like the fence that I built in some poor woman’s backyard in north Seattle!

The question I think for us today is again, where is our plumb line? What is it that brings us back into balance? What is it that brings us back into alignment? …

Love does something different to us. Love is this new, yet ancient and always existing plumb line. Love is who we are. It’s who we are made to be because we are made in the image of the one who is love. Love is our plumb line. And it’s what we also have to offer the world. So may we do that in the best ways that we can.” - Rev. Jonathan Myers

Readings: Amos 7:7-17, Psalm 82, Colossians 1:1-14, Luke 10:25-37

7.7.19 Sermon - "Go With Integrity"

What matters is a harvest and kingdom of peace and of mercy. And the only way - at least in Jesus’s imagination - is for us to let go. And we let go, and what we find is God is as close as a loving mother holding her child to her breast, to provide sustenance and nourishment and comfort. That God is as close as a proud papa bouncing a toddler on his knee, causing laughter and squeals of delight. God is as close as a grain of wheat, ready to be plucked from the grassy blade, and ground into meal for bread that will satisfy the most desperate hunger. So let us like the seventy followers go, not depending on our own abilities and not worrying about ourselves or about others, but go with integrity, go with discipline, go with attention - paying attention - to where the harvest is ready. Knowing, that God holds us in the crook of her almighty arms.” - Rev. Jonathan Myers

Readings: Isaiah 66:10-14, Psalm 30, Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16, Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

6.19.19 Sermon - "Dwell in Wisdom and Truth"

This spirit of wisdom and truth that our writers have given us this morning are part of the trinity. And they show us how to live in those ways, that way we can look at the trinity and see how God dwells within themself. And we are invited into that very dwelling place so that we too can experience and know - truly know - that God dwells within us as well. God dwells within every human being. God dwells within all of creation - rivers, mountains, trees, plants for food and plants for beauty. Humans and animals, alike.

If you ever wonder whether or not you should pray for something for someone, if you ever wonder whether or not you should love someone, if you ever wonder how far should my forgiveness extend - the answer is within you. The spirit of truth and wisdom is within you. The answer lingers in this very community around you today. The answers are found in the dialog and the dance between the two. Ask for the trinity to reveal this wisdom and truth contained within you, and God - I believe - will surely receive the answer. And know that our God always errs on the side of grace, on the side of mercy, always errs on the side of love. That is a holy trinity that will never fail us. So may we all linger and dwell in wisdom and truth, just as the advocate - who is wisdom and truth - dwells within us.” - Rev. Jonathan Myers

Readings: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, Psalm 8, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15

6.9.19 Pentecost Sermon - "Life in the Spirit"

Life in the spirit, in this one day that we ultimately elevate and lift up the spirit, calls us to see Christ in all of creation. To see Christ in one another. To see Christ in the other. To see Christ maybe even in our enemy. To look at all the earth, to look at the rivers, the lakes, the mountains, the trees - even through the smoke of summer here in the Inland Northwest - and to see Christ. To see who God is in the midst of the world. Life in the spirit is about hearing God’s voice within us. It’s about hearing God’s voice in others around us. It is not about the things that we say or do necessarily. It’s about how we see, and how we listen. How we see God in the world and how we listen for God in the world will radically change, ultimately, the things that we do.

So may we be a spirit-filled people, a people who long and desire not for control, but to truly see. And to truly listen, and to let go of our control and allow the spirit to move within and around us.” - Rev. Jonathan Myers

Readings: Psalm 104:25-35,37, Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17,(25-27)

5.12.19 Sermon - "The Shepherd's Voice"

Widows in that time would have had really no way of making ends meet for themselves. Tabitha was doing the work of the kingdom by caring for the widows in her community. So it’s no accident that when Peter raises her from the dead, that is saying something about the way of life we are called into. A way of life that has more power than death. She loved her neighbor as herself. She knew that blessed were the poor, for they are the ones who inherit the kingdom of God. The word is really plain if we know the shepherd’s voice. And the word is also hidden in plain sight so that we have to truly listen for it. Do you hear that word?

In our desire for this whole faith thing to be easy - and trust me, I know, all of us want it to be easy - we want Jesus to speak plainly. But maybe, we are called to step back for a second, and to truly listen to the word - to the plain and simple word that Jesus did speak. The plain and simple word that is the hardest thing for us to live: love God, love others, love self. And as you hear that word again and again and again - because this preacher really only has one sermon it sometimes seems - may be all individually and collectively give birth to and foster a Way of Love that will transform our hearts and all that we touch. May we give life to that which is dead. May the valleys of death’s shadow open up into pathways of light and life.“ - Rev. Jonathan Myers

Readings: Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30

4.21.19 Easter Sermon - "Go and Seek Life!"

So today, this week, this 50 days of Easter that are upon us, maybe you can ask - where you do find resurrection life? Is it in a partnership, a relationship, a friendship? Is it in family? Is it in your church? Is it in volunteer time you put in? Is it in working in the garden? Wherever you find resurrection life, wherever your spirit comes to life, spend more time there. And where things seem to take you into the tomb, where your spirit seems to drop, where your heart sinks, spend less time there. And if you do, maybe you will find angels waiting there, saying, ‘Why are you looking for the living among the dead?’ Life is not here, it is somewhere else. Go and seek life. Christ, who is for our human flourishing, rose from the grave as an ultimate act of showing that life will always win.” - Rev. Jonathan Myers

Readings: Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 114, 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8, Luke 24:13-49

3.24.19 Sermon - "I Am Who I Am"

“The story is about God. The story is about God who sees the suffering of his people in Egypt. It’s about God who sees the oppressive regime of the Egyptian pharos. It’s about God who says enough is enough, I will relieve their suffering, I will free them, I will give them their own land. It’s about God who says my name is I Am. That means no matter where I am, I am present there.

I think it’s worth asking a problematic question: is it appropriate to introduce God in the story here? The people have been enslaved for how long? Couldn’t God have done something sooner? Did God have to wait for Moses to be wandering through the desert with his flock to intervene? I think these questions are real and troubling and should be grappled with, absolutely.

And yet, this is the same God who gives the fig tree another year. Because maybe, just maybe, God is hoping for humanity to figure it out on our own. Maybe God is just hoping that we have enough faith and enough trust in God’s Way of Love that we end up doing it the way God calls us to do it. So that God doesn’t need to intervene, so that God doesn’t need to show up in a burning bush and miraculously make something happen for us, and for others.

Because here’s the thing that’s true about God, that I believe is true about God - God is interested in one thing: flourishing. And people cannot flourish if they are enslaved, whether that is physically, or ideologically, or emotionally. God’s desire is for freedom and for a way of life that bears delicious and life giving fruit. And fruit cannot be produced if the soil of the tree is planted and not given the right kinds of support. Sometimes we need to dig around the tree and put new thoughts, and new ideas and new questions and new realities in place for the tree to be the fullest version of itself. Just put yourself in the place of the tree. Put St. Andrew’s as a church in the place of the tree. If we long for the same flourishing in ourselves and in others that God longs for, then we need to dig around in our lives. We need to dig around in our churches. We need to dig around in our schools. We need to dig around in our governments, in every area of life, and change the way we live, change the things that we hold most dear. Jesus is saying we need to let go of our ideologies and embrace love. Life is short and we have no guarantees in this life beyond what is hear and now. I am who I am. I am fully present. So repent, turn, even if it’s just ever so slightly towards the way of Christ. Love others more deeply, and fully, and let us be for the flourishing of ourselves and others.”

Readings; Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 63:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9

3.17.19 Sermon - "The Mother Hen's Work"

We were fortunate to have Rev. Katy Shedlock of Audubon Park United Methodist Church and Creators’ Table as our guest preacher this Sunday morning! Rev. Katy explored scriptural texts which compare God to a “mother hen” who "gathers her brood under her wings.”

“I waste a lot of time and energy worrying about the Herods of this world. They fill me with fear. They make me feel powerless and alone, and cynical about my ability to change anything that really matters, to make a difference. Jesus does not waste any time worrying about Herod, that fox!

Rev. Katy Shedlock of Audubon Park United Methodist Church and Creators’ Table

Rev. Katy Shedlock of Audubon Park United Methodist Church and Creators’ Table

… I ask how God? How can your promises of love and life abundant for all creation be true? And don’t give me some cute covenant ceremony, or some easy line about how the crucification magically fixes it all! I want something more real than that.

But isn’t it the biggest stretch of all to keep doing good in the face of evil? Isn’t it the biggest stretch of all to keep showing up in the body, day after day, week after week, year after year, to teach, to heal, the protect, to shelter, to love, to be the mother hen when you know the foxes are circling? Isn’t it the biggest stretch of all to get involved, to get your hands dirty, to be in relationship with broken, vulnerable human beings when you have no guarantees of the outcomes of your efforts? There is nothing glamorous about the hen’s work. No flashy demonstrations here, just showing up to love, even when it is inconvenient, even when it is unglamorous, even when it is dangerous, even when it might cost you your very life.

I think in particular with gratitude for the many people from this community who do the work of the mother hen on Wednesday nights down at the mission, showing up week after week after week, to sit, to eat, to love, even when it is unglamorous and inconvenient. That’s plenty real to me. That does my tired, weary, cynical heart good. I might even go so far as to say that brings me hope. Friends, may we be people who are too busy being mother hens to get distracted by the foxes. Yes, they are there. May we keep showing up to love anyway.”

Readings: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 13:31-35

3.4.19 Sermon - "Rest"

3.4.19 Sermon - "Rest"

“And it’s hard to listen when we just fill our lives with noise, with words, with work, with productivity.  So we create space and silence, space for rest, we create rest for just being. Being with God, being with one another. So as we continue on this Way of Love together as a community, may we consider the ways in which we need to rest. We need to just stop and to just be.”

2.24.19 Sermon - "Go!"

2.24.19 Sermon - "Go!"

“Jesus sends us beyond our circles of comfort to witness to the love and justice and truth of God with our lips and with our lives.  We go to listen with humility and join God in healing a hurting world.  We go to become the Beloved Community, a people reconciled in love with God and one with one another.  We go to create a world in which there are no enemies, only people that we can love and that can love us back.”

2.17.19 Sermon - “Bless”

2.17.19 Sermon - “Bless”

This Epiphany season, our sermons are focusing on how we as Christians can better understand the Way of Love, seven essential practices for a Christ-centered life. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, describes the Way of Love as a transformative, intentional commitment to follow Jesus in our daily lives. This week, Rev. Jonathan continued the series with a focus on the practice of blessing.