Recent Sermon Snippets

"God's good grace and love is for each and every one of us. John (the Baptist) proclaims a new reality and you and I and all people are part of that reality! That is why we are gathered today.. . to celebrate that new reality which declares that all people shall see the salvation of God ... that God's Word comes to whomever God chooses that we can learn from old and young and share the bounteous gifts that all of us have to offer!"

Pastor Jim, December 6

"Each one of us is at the same time sinner and saint ... chaff and wheat. If we try to manage life on our own, we will be encumbered by the sin of greed, despair, and hopelessness, that keep us turned in on ourselves. But, with the chaff burned away John promises that by the Holy Spirit and Baptism .all creation will unfold as new wheat like wheat that is gathered, freed from husks of sinfulness and greed ... and gathered into the people of God where all are fed and housed and cared and God is always praised ... in good times and bad. ... Jesus the Christ comes to make these changes in our lives out of love. He comes with the Holy Spirit and with fire and baptizes us into a new life as forgiven and freed people who love and serve others, not because we have to but because, through Christ, you and I are able to."

Pastor Jim, December 13

"Mary was a victim of gossip ... she is anyone who has ever felt pushed to the sidelines and still worked to do God's will. Mary led a life of many ups and downs. Her son was born and angels sang but power brokers seethed and conspired to kill her baby. Mary had to flee and become a refugee in a foreign land ... Her child grew and began his mission and left her behind. At the cross, her way barred by the soldiers, Mary is every parent who has ever had to watch their adult child suffer but must keep their distance and watch and suffer in silence. Finally, Mary cradles the body of her only son in her arms and sobs uncontrollably and there she is once more: every parent who has ever lost a child ... Mary is, every person who, though unblessed in many ways in this life has remained faithful ... We venerate Mary as the first among the apostles, not because she was great in this life, but rather because she was the handmaid of the Lord, travelled the lowly path and now all generations call her blessed. As we are among those who called Mary blessed may we someday receive that blessing ourselves."

Pastor Judy, December 20th

"If you are looking for a New Year's resolution consider pledging three acts of kindness a day, at least some of them to people you know. If you would like to see this congregation beome even warmer, a more welcoming group, a deeper, stronger community, vow to practice some of your kindness here. Every week seek out someone and show them a gesture of kindness. The wonderful thing about kindness is that it is contagious. Research shows that showing kindness also reliably increases our levels of positive emotion ... kindness sows seeds that can only bear good fruit."

Pastor Judy, December 27

"The star (of Bethlehem) gives us insight into the meaning of discipleship and calls all who are baptized to declare and do the Truth that is Christ Jesus. It reveals to us that indeed there is Hope ... that in this world of terror, fear and darkness ... there is a light ... one sent from God who cannot be overcome ... Christ Jesus our Lord

And the star calls us into unity that in the presence of Christ Jesus we may worship God as a body - as One no matter who we are or where we come from. For the star beckons us to follow it as it beckoned the wise men to come and worship the Christ-child the true sovereign of us all.

So arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you this day and always!"

Pastor Jim, January 3

"When parents have not been involved in the community of faith before presenting a child for baptism, we welcome them into our community. We want them to experience the richness of belonging here, and the support and strength that this community that we, have to offer and it's pretty terrific. One of the promises parents of young children presenting their children for baptism make before God, the gathered community and their children is that they will be responsible to see that the child they present will be nurtured in the faith and life of the Christian community. An adult experience of that faith and life is part of making sure that they give informed consent when they make that promise.

Because baptism is also a community celebration by which we're all enriched, and in which we all make the promise to do all in our power to support and uphold the newly baptized person in their life in Christ, it is appropriate that people recognize the person being baptized.

We celebrate baptisms on a Sunday morning: so that the whole community is present to take part in the initiation, and to welcome the new member ... and so we can pray for the newly baptized as he or she begins the Christian journey."

Pastor Judy, January 10