Sermons

Abiding Love

Rev. David Baak

Sermon    
Sunday, May 21, 2017

8:30 “Abiding Love” is the theme of this sixth Sunday of Easter and our exploration of Unanticipated Love. The gospel of John (14:21) assures us that we will know the mystery that “[the Spirit] abides in you and … [Jesus] in the Father, and you in me, and I in you” and from the apostle (Acts 17:28) that “in [God] we live and move and have our being.” Rev. David Baak, preaching.


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Unanticipated Love

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, May 14, 2017

Just a week ago, the session finalized its decision about a new position for adult faith formation. We will announce on Sunday the plan for filling this critical role in our seeking to be faithful in our generation to the call of God at Westminster.


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Unimaginable Grace

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, May 7, 2017

This is how Luke describes the earliest church: They would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God… My colleague, Erin Keys, writes: “When the first Christians made the choice to worship a God who came to us as a person in the world; a God who took something so basic and everyday like bread and made it holy; a God for whom the highest form of worship is to give away everything we have for the benefit of all, those first Christians chose to see all of life as sacred because they chose to worship a God who sees it that way, too.”


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Unexpected Love

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, April 30, 2017

Luke tells us that When Jesus was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. It is an amazing, unexpected gift that he is there, but then: Vanished from their sight? Oh. That’s disappointing. And yet… is that not the way that it is? This holy, holy gift is really present and really out of our hands…


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In the Walking

Rev. Jen Porter

Sermon    
Sunday, April 23, 2017

On Easter morning, Jesus told Mary "Do not hold on to me because I have not yet ascended to the Father." We walk by faith and not by sight, and we do not get to hold on to Jesus. Saint Augustine offers us this encouragement, that "it will be solved by walking." The way of spiritual growth comes not as we hold on to this day, but as we walk all the way through Easter.


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Living into Tomorrow

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon     Easter
Sunday, April 16, 2017

The theme for Eastertide will be Unanticipated Love. We begin on Easter with the gift of God’s love in the resurrection. After all the preparing of our ears and hearts throughout Lent, still what the gospel brings is beyond, graciously, miraculously, unanticipated-ly beyond our expectations and hopes. It is Unanticipated Love.


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Matthew’s Witness

Rev. Jen Porter

Sermon    
Thursday, April 13, 2017

As we gather on Maundy Thursday to celebrate the sacrament of communion, we listen to the witness of the gospel of Matthew. This witness of Jesus' final days lead us deeper still.

Humility and Humanity

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, April 9, 2017

Mary Oliver has a short poem that includes these lines: On the outskirts of Jerusalem the donkey waited. Not especially brave, or filled with understanding, he stood and waited. … Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient. I hope, finally, he felt brave. I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him, as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward. It is this line that has always captured me:… stepped, as he had to, forward. The poem brings me closer to Jesus’ own steps. In focusing on his silent resolve, I have felt encouragement for my own steps that simply must come, one after the other. I pray they may be for you as well.


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Bones and Breath

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, April 2, 2017

Israel felt that their being sent into exile meant that God’s will had been thwarted. It made no sense to them. They had dozens of ways to explain it. In Ezekiel, as soon as he is given the scroll with the word of hope and warning, he is told by God to eat the scroll [God is still willing this.], and Ezekiel goes mute. How is the Word to get out of his belly and into the ears of Israel!?!? It’s bizarre, but it points to a real problem that ends up with Israel in exile, feeling abandoned, dead in the water. However we got there, that is the problem that Ezekiel and we face. God said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”


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Once Upon a Parable

Sermon    
Sunday, March 26, 2017

God’s great story is filled with countless, timeless short stories. God’s big story uses these little stories to delight us, inspire us, and change us. God’s story is a message of hope in trouble, light in darkness, and love in rejection. It is a message of peace on earth and welcome to absolutely everyone.


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Suffering and Hope

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, March 19, 2017

We will consider closely the life of Jesus Christ and the struggles we have in following him. As we are invited to follow after Christ by denying our self, taking up a cross and following him, we might think that only a masochist, a fool, or a loser could embrace such a life… …or perhaps it would be one who understands that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.


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Trust and Leaving

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, March 12, 2017

This week, I have been deeply inspired by my colleague in the Moveable Feast, David Lewicki. He has drawn my attention to a deep irony in God’s call to us. The paradox is that trust, which is our orientation to God’s promises, which are full of new life, full of new possibilities, full of… well, promise—our trust, our leaning in to those promises also inevitably entails loss. We must leave in order to move ahead. In that is a deep truth. David says it this way: Faith is leaving, holding tenderly to the grief of leaving’s loss.


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Humanity and Humility

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jesus’s obedience is what the temptations in Matthew 4 reveal, not his trying to be God. The temptation that we share with Jesus is not to be human. Against that temptation, we seek to live on the side of obedience to God with the Holy Spirit keeping us company on our side, and hope to keep our presumption to be God on the other. It is a genuine temptation to cross the line.


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Ears to Hear

Rev. Chandler Stokes

Sermon    
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

This Wednesday, March 1st, is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent—the forty days of preparation for Easter. Our Lenten theme this year is: Ears to Hear: Preparing Our Hearts for Easter. We will explore the story of Moses on Mount Sinai in Exodus 24. After six days of silence, God finally speaks to Moses, evidently when he is finally ready to hear. How do we open our ears to our God? How can we maintain our attentiveness to our truly “other” God, who is paradoxically both so present and so elusive.


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Do Not Be Afraid

Rev. Jen Porter

Sermon    
Sunday, February 26, 2017

We have been talking about the map of the realm of God laid over the earth. In Matthew 17, this map shows us that we are not alone. There is Jesus, the one who brings together heaven and earth, the living link in between. With him, Moses and Elijah in the spirit. With him, the disciples. Jesus is the way between all the great witnesses of the faith and all here on earth. We are never alone.


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