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.