Sermons

Sermon: Stones in the River

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, November 5, 2017

Last week I talked about how we, as a congregation, have offered and can offer glimpses of that Promised Land. This week, I want to talk about how certain individuals do. Barbara Brown Taylor once talking about going to libraries as a child and how she was drawn to “biographies because [she] was a child and needed lives to grow into.”


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Sermon: We Don’t Get There

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, October 29, 2017

The story is that none of those who escaped Egypt eventually crossed over into the Promised Land—none of them. It was the next generation who finally made it. We are those who have inherited this promise of deliverance from and destiny in the heart of God. What does the fact that that first generation did not cross over mean for us as the inheritors of the promise?


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Sermon: God’s Elusive Presence

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, October 22, 2017

So, if God must remain elusive, how then with our words, our human language, our very limited ability to speak, how do we maintain God’s transcendence and not reduce God to our ideas about God? How do we avoid the very easy way that words about become idolatrous and end up trapping God in our words? Well, that is one of the reasons that we very intentionally use more than one gender for God. We really can limit God’s ability to touch us, if we get overly limited in our speech. What will we newly receive from God, if we remember that God is portrayed as Mother as well as Father? What love might be waiting for us in the heart of that elusive God?


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Sermon: While We Are Down the Mountain

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, October 15, 2017

Walter Brueggemann says that the Israelites choose “an available, produced God [over] the sovereign one who is not immediately available and who is not made with human hands.” Israel “cannot tolerate the risk of faith (exemplified by the absence of Moses), so it incessantly seeks to reduce that risk by domesticating God to manageable proportion.” And we have the same temptation. Nevertheless, we carry on the legacy of those who, like the early Christians, the abolitionists, and those who supported ordination for women and LGBTQ+ folks, have chosen to reject idols and follow that living, liberating God.


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Sermon: We Walk in Freedom

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, October 8, 2017

This week we will sing, Jesus Loves Me, to open the service. As our third graders receive their Bibles, we want them to know that they already know something about what it says: Jesus loves me. And this is a song they already know. And every week, we offer a summary of the law. We remember that when Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he didn’t recite the Ten. He reminded us of the law of love.


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Sermon: Even When We Don’t Like It

Rev. Jen Porter

Sermon    
Sunday, October 1, 2017

Israel quickly moves from celebration at their deliverance across the Red Sea to quickly complaining at the fate of their lives in the wilderness. As we listen to the story of Jonah, this theme echoes clearly again. God delivers him to safety, and he too quickly moves from gratitude to anger. This is our story of human relationship and connection.


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Sermon: We Walk in the Wilderness

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, September 24, 2017

I know that, when we are in touch with the amazing, persistent love of God, we are made glad. We become joyful. We celebrate. An old teacher of mine used to say that Israel had two ways of being—off the land (in the wilderness or in exile) and on the land (in the Promised Land). When they were off the land, he said, they celebrated. All the feasts were wilderness feasts. When they were on the land…, he said, …they worried. And I have to confess that I can go for long periods of time when I’m far better at worry than I am at celebration. Join us as we seek the source of celebration.


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Sermon: Into the Water and Out

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, September 17, 2017

Maybe the grace that gets us through our crossing of our Red Seas should be held the way Maya Angelou lays out her sense of grace: We, unaccustomed to courage, exiles from delight live coiled in shells of loneliness until love leaves its high holy temple and comes into our sight to liberate us to life.


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Sermon: The Call

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, September 10, 2017

We will be talking about “connection” this fall—our connection to God, to our neighbors, and to our truest selves. This Sunday a poem by Mark Halliday will help us experience that collateral blessings in taking hold of God’s hand. Why the HG Is Holy The Holy Ghost was browsing in his or her library one day in the future, unaccountably bored, oddly querulous, vaguely wanting something that would be quietly unfamiliar. “It doesn't have to be great,” said the Holy Ghost with the faintest note of exasperation in his or her voice, “just so long as it has its own special character.” Gliding along the billion shelves, incredibly graceful despite his or her mood. Then the deft and lovely hand of the Holy Ghost lit on a slim volume of poetry - it was your book. It was your book. The first poem caused the Holy Ghost to frown; ah, but not with disdain, rather with curiosity! The second poem brought a brightening of divine eyes. And the page was turned as if by a pensive breeze. Maybe it happened after your death, but so what? It happened. “I'm taking this back to my perfect desk,” said the HG. “This is really something.”


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Sermon: The Full Charge

Rev. David Baak

Sermon    
Sunday, September 3, 2017

Romans 12 takes our “unity in Christ for the common good” and encourages us to use a whole range of practices to demonstrate how and where and with whom: twenty four declarations to help us "practice our way into believing.” It is a stunning list that will be familiar to many. Let’s call it “The Full Charge.” Join us for this service of communion on this holiday weekend at 10:00a in the sanctuary, Rev. David Baak, preaching.


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Sermon: The Full Charge

Sermon    
Sunday, August 27, 2017

Romans 12 takes our “unity in Christ for the common good” and encourages us to use a whole range of practices to demonstrate how and where and with whom: twenty four declarations to help us "practice our way into believing.” It is a stunning list that will be familiar to many. Let’s call it “The Full Charge.” Join us for this service of communion on this holiday weekend at 10:00a in the sanctuary, Rev. David Baak, preaching. Music: Alan Exoo and Janlee Richter


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Sermon: One Spirit-One Sky

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, August 27, 2017

In this passage, Paul also says: no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. It's a very important line in Scripture--and a very intriguing line. It also lies at the center of how Presbyterians have long understood membership in the Body of Christ. Come and join us as we explore this unexpected and radical word!


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Sermon: Good Morning

Sermon    
Sunday, August 20, 2017

Maya Angelou's poem, "On the Pulse of the Morning” concludes with images of humans greeting each hopefully with the words, 'good morning.' In this day of fiery rhetoric internationally and racial conflicts at home, wouldn't it be awesome if people could somehow recognize our common humanity and authentically wish each other well? This is the essential question of the sermon. Our Guest Preacher is the Rev. Paul Timothy Roberts, Sr., President of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia.


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Sermon: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Kyle Nolan

Sermon    
Sunday, August 13, 2017

“It’s uh known fact, Pheoby, you got tuh go there tuh know there. Yo’ papa and yo’ mama and nobody else can’t tell yuh and show yuh. Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.” The spirituality of Zora Neale Hurston’s master work, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a spirituality of encounter: encounter with a wild life and a wild God. Join us as we gather to explore what it means to call ourselves disciples of such a God. Kyle Nolan preaching.


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Sermon: Enough Right Here

Sermon    
Sunday, August 6, 2017

There are two passages from the lectionary that lead us to think about God’s abundance: Isaiah 55 that invites us to come buy wine and milk without money and without price, and Matthew 14 that describes Jesus’ feeding the 5,000. In the latter text, when Jesus asks the disciples to feed the multitudes they say, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” Isn’t that the way it seems: all we see is a few fish; how is that supposed to address the need? Wendell Berry says, “Sight blinds us.” That’s a word worth unpacking. Join us Sunday, as we seek to look with our other eyes.

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