Worship Opportunities

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June 9/Third Sunday after Pentecost

Out of His Mind

Mark 3:20-35

When people heard Jesus preach, some concluded that he was “out of his mind.”  To be a disciple, a follower of Jesus, is to be given the grace to think about God, the world, and ourselves in a different way—the way of Christ.

June 16/Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

A New Creation

2 Corinthians 5:6-17

Barbara Brown Taylor speaks of that moment in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper when the minister holds up a whole loaf of bread as a reminder of the whole, perfect presence of God among God’s people.  But then that loaf is shattered, broken, torn, and the crumbs fall onto the table.  It is a reminder that our perfect wholeness, that peace for which we yearn, is not behind us but up ahead yet.  Wholeness is coming, but the broken loaf reminds us that it is coming not through what we’ll do but through what Jesus already did.  His brokenness is what will one day put our lives back together whole and complete, relationships and all.

June 30/Sixth Sunday after Pentecost


Mark 5:21-43

In his book, Turn My Mourning into Dancing, Henri J.M. Nouwen reminds us: “I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted; then I realized that the interruptions were my work.”

If Christianity is about anything, it’s about forgiveness.  Not forgiveness as merely an end in itself or a legal means of escaping punishment, but forgiveness as reconciliation and total restoration.  When Jesus teaches about forgiveness, he pushes us to the extreme, indicating that our practice of forgiveness should be unconditional.  But that kind of forgiveness is a tall order!  Can we always forgive?  Should be always forgive?  Does forgiveness simply enable evil?  Do we sacrifice justice when we forgive unconditionally?  Beginning Sunday, July 7, we will embark on an eight-week journey into the healing and liberating power of forgiveness.

July 7/Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

The Question of Forgiveness

Matthew 6:9-15

Whether we look to the Lord’s Prayer or Jesus’ death on the cross or his resurrection or the great creeds of the church, we are never far from the theme of forgiveness—for if Christianity isn’t about forgiveness, it’s about nothing at all. Our worship will include the celebration of Holy Communion.

July 14/Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

The 490 Principle

Matthew 18:21-35

When Peter suggests sevenfold forgiveness, he is being generous and going well beyond what most are willing to do.  Forgive the same person for the same offense seven times?  Who would dare ask any more of is.  And yet, Jesus does.  He calls us to push the boundaries of forgiveness far beyond all that seems reasonable.

July 21/Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Who’s Your Ali Agca?

Acts 7:54-60

On May 13, 1980, Mehmet Ali Agca approached Pope John Paul II as he traveled in an open motorcade through St. Peter’s Square in Rome and shot him four times before being apprehended.  Two years later, John Paul II would visit Ali Agca in prison and offer him forgiveness.  This invites a question: Who is our Ali Agca?  Given a similar situation, would we escalate the violence and perpetuate the cycle of revenge, either in action or attitude, or would we absorb the blow, forgive the perpetrator, and end the cycle of revenge?

July 28/Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

No Future Without Forgiveness

Genesis 50:15-21

The story of Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers comes at the very end of the Book of Genesis.  Here, when Jacob has died and Joseph has the upper hand, we find Joseph telling his brothers , “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people.”  Without forgiveness, the Bible doesn’t get past Genesis.  Without forgiveness there really is no future.

August 4/Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Forgiveness that Transcends Tragedy

Matthew 5:43-48

Only forgiveness has the capacity to rescue human society from the destructive vortex of violence and vengeance and provide us with a healing alternative.  Ultimately, it is the cross that liberates the imagination to discover how forgiveness transcends tragedy and how good triumphs over evil. Our worship will include the celebration of Holy Communion.

August 11/Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Forgiveness & Justice

Romans 12:17-21

A world bent on the justice of giving people “what they deserve” is a world that is endlessly cruel and marked by alienation, violence, and war.  The cross is where justice is reinterpreted by mercy in order to be redefined as reconciliation.  This alone is what God calls justice.

August 18/Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Putting an End to Hostility

Ephesians 2:13-22

In the hostile world of hate, war, and genocide, the cross appears.  The cross is God’s peace project designed to end the hostility and achieve reconciliation.  The cross not only achieves peace between God and the sinner but is also the place where God forms a new humanity.

August 25/Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Prince of Peace

Colossians 1:15-20

As we draw to the conclusion of our worship series on forgiveness, we find that it is Christ who is at the epicenter of our relationship with God and our relationships with one another.  As his disciples, we are called to accept the Prince of Peace who rejects the warhorse and chooses the donkey on Palm Sunday, the One whose crown was made of thorns, whose throne was an instrument of capital punishment, whose acclamation was scorn, and who calls his followers to take up the cross and follow him.