Fall 2020

September 6 /14th Sunday after Pentecost

In Washington Irving’s old story, Rip Van Winkle falls asleep in the Catskills as a faithful subject of King George only to wake up years later, shocked to discover his beard was a foot long and that America was a free democracy; he had slept through the Revolution!  What, then, might Paul’s admonition to the Romans (13:8-14) to wake up mean for us?  What might we be sleepwalking through? Our message will be A Great Awakening.

September 13/15th Sunday after Pentecost

In Romans 14:1-12, we find specific and ultimately liberating instructions to not pass judgment on others.  Social psychologists suggest that human beings typically size one another up within the first seven seconds of meeting someone.  The apostle Paul understood that we need constant reminders that judging others is not our job.  As author Robertson Davies goes so far to say, “It is part of God’s mercy that we do not have to undertake that heavy part of his work, even when the judgment concerns ourselves.” Our message will be Beyond the First Seven Seconds.

September 20/16th Sunday after Pentecost

The parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) is not about equity or the proper disbursement of wages but about a gracious and undeserved gift.  Jesus’ shocking story reminds us that God’s generosity often violates our own sense of right and wrong, our sense of how things would be if we ran the world. The message will be Enough Is Enough!

September 27/17th Sunday after Pentecost

The parable of the two brothers found in Matthew 21:23-32 serves as a reminder that even when we say that we are going to work in the vineyard but, instead of harvesting the grapes, we often spend our time rearranging the stones along the path.  Our message will be It’s All About the Follow Through.

October 4/World Communion Sunday

Two years before his death, Francis of Assisi prayed intently at La Verna: “My Lord Jesus Christ, two graces I ask before I die.  One is that I might feel the pain you felt in the hour of your great passion.  The second is that I might be filled with the love that drove you to undergo such suffering for us sinners.”  Would we ever dare to pray such a prayer?  In his letter to the church at Philippi, the apostle Paul suggests we might consider it. Our message, Full Court Press, will come from Philippians 3:4-14.

October 11/19th Sunday after Pentecost

It is intriguing that Paul dictates out loud, with the emperor’s Praetorian guard listening through the bars, that God’s peace will “keep” your hearts: the Greek word means to “guard.”  Paul is in prison, guarded by men with weapons—which is how Caesar guaranteed his much bragged upon Pax Romana.  But who’s really free, and who isn’t?  In God’s hidden script, it’s the armed soldiers, and the emperor himself, who are not free but are in chains, while Paul is free as a bird, protected from them by the peace of God. Our message, Whatever…, will come from Philippians 4:1-9.

October 18/20th Sunday after Pentecost

Moses’ request to see God’s glory in Exodus 33:12-23 might remind us of John 14 where Philip asks Jesus, “Show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”   Jesus then did show all of them God’s glory—by being crucified.  The great reformer Martin Luther suggested that in the cross, God showed us all the glory of God we could bear, calling it “God’s hidden backside.” Our message will be Moses Must Be from Missouri!

October 25/21st Sunday after Pentecost

Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet wrote a song that Tanya Tucker took to the top of the country charts in 1988.  The lyrics seem to strike at the heart of Jesus’ imperative to love God and one another found in Matthew 22:34-46.  “How much do I owe you?” said the man to his Lord.  For giving me this day and every day that’s gone before.  Shall I build a temple, shall I make a sacrifice?  Tell me Lord and I will pay the price.”  And the Lord said: “I won’t take less than your love, sweet love.” Our message will be The Heart of the Matter.

November 1/All Saints Day

All Saints (November 1 or the first Sunday in November) is a day of remembrance for the saints, with the New Testament meaning of all Christian people of every time and place.  We celebrate the communion of saints as we remember the dead, both of the Church universal and of our local church.  Join us for worship as we ponder the promise of living in world where sorrow will be extinct, and tears will no longer fall. Our message, No More Tears, will come from Revelation 7:9-17.

November 8/23rd Sunday after Pentecost

The point of Jesus parable of the ten bridesmaids in Matthew 25:1-13 is living expectantly and hopefully.  Our ultimate hope rests on our trust that the God who created the world will continue the process of creation until the project is complete, and will continue to redeem and save the world by coming into it with love and grace in Jesus Christ. Our message will be The Waiting Is the Hardest Part.

November 15/24th Sunday after Pentecost

In Jesus’ story about the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), we discover that the greatest risk of all is not to risk anything, not to care deeply or profoundly enough about anything to invest deeply, to give your heart away and in the process risk everything. Our message will be Buried Treasure.

November 22/Reign of Christ Sunday

As we ponder the prayer found in Ephesians 1:15-23, theologian Christopher Lasch offers a thoughtful distinction between enduring hope and hollow optimism: “Hope doesn’t demand progress; it demands justice, a conviction that wrongs will be made right, …  Hope appears absurd to those who lack it.  We can see why hope serves us better than optimism.  Not that it prevents us from expecting the worst; the worst is what the hopeful are prepared for.  A blind faith that things will somehow work out for the best furnishes a poor substitute for the disposition to see things through even when they don’t.” Our message will be They’re Calling for Reign.