Matthew 21: 23-32
How do we know what we know? How are we so sure of our own values, and our faith? "Who gave YOU this authority?!?" is the sermon title and it comes from the words of the Temple Authorities who are challenging Jesus for his teachings at the Temple in Jerusalem in our text from Matthew 21. And in typical Jesus-fashion, rather than respond to their question with an answer, he responds with another question, about what they all believe about the authority of John the Baptist. They refuse to answer, and so he stumps them with another lesson about sinners-turned-saved. The conversation between Jesus and the Temple leaders is instructional for us today, as we seek to make sense of a confusing time in our nation's deep political and theological differences.
Please join us in worship on Sunday as we explore the question of how we define truth and identify God's authority on earth. Also, sadly (at least for me!) this will be my last sermon at FCC, as I am moving on. My final Sunday will be next Sunday October 8th. See the article below for more info.
- Rev. Andy Schwiebert
On October 8th our text in worship is a parable about "wicked" tenants who betray their landlord's trust by trying to keep the land and its produce for themselves instead of returning the correct portion to the landowner. In a sermon entitled "The Meaning of Church" we will consider how much of church life and ministry is for us - and how much is the purpose for our gathering to care for those outside the church? We all come to worship and meetings with needs and concerns - and we all have benefitted from the care and compassion we find at church. Thank God for listening ears, caring hearts, and others of faith who are willing to share of their time and resources! Yet it seems at every turn in Scripture there is a story about sharing and serving - offering our "harvest" to those in need and using our own time and money to provide something that another person in our family or community may desperately need. Come and join us as we work out the "math" of what it means to be a person of faith with a God who treasures compassion!
-Rev. John H Pomeroy
Matthew 18: 21-35
This Sunday we celebrate Just Peace Sunday in our denomination, an intentional focus on why our faith calls us to care about and act on issues of justice and peace in our communities. Our story from the Gospel shows two slaveholders - one who forgives a debt and another who ruthlessly pursues a debt - and compares God to the harsh slaveholder unless we ourselves find a way to forgive others. In a sermon entitled "Is Someone In Your Way?" we will consider how our faith calls us to look at both our friends and strangers as the person of Jesus - members of the Body of Christ. How often we consider others obstacles to what we need or want - whether we are in line for our food at the grocery store, waiting for an organ donation, waiting to hear about a job or arguing with an insurance company to cover a life changing medication. Instead, this text asks us to look at others as part and parcel of our own salvation! It is a sometimes challenging and overwhelming thought - that each person in our lives - from partner or spouse to store clerk - is a part of showing to us what God is like and our treatment of that person shows our commitment to having a relationship with God! Come join us at 10AM this Sunday in the Chapel for worship!
-Rev. John H. Pomeroy
What do you do when someone in the community or workplace does or says something that is offensive or hurtful to you? If we are honest with ourselves, the natural tendency is to complain about it to your spouse, or a close friend, or maybe a mutual friend of the person in question, either as a way to "gather allies" or just lash out at the person.
In Matthew 18 we read about Jesus teaching a counter-cultural way which does not involve lashing out as a first step. In other parables and lessons, Jesus calls us to some wildly difficult tasks-- love your enemies?! sell all your possessions and give to the poor?! forgive seven times seventy times?!? But in Matthew 18, he actually offers a VERY practical path to interpersonal conflict resolution. AND YET, it's still a challenge to follow this path! This Sunday we'll reflect on this text as a road map for conflict resolution.
Rev. Andy Schwiebert
Exodus 3: 1-15
Our text in worship this Sunday is the story of Moses learning about how he is to confront the Pharaoh and lead the Israelites after God captures his attention with a burning bush! Moses is surprised, confused, and daunted by what God asks him to say to the Pharaoh and to the Israelites - he clearly feels ill equipped to work with God in this famous story of call and liberation! Often we are stressed and worried about those things that are "on fire" in our lives, those urgent, annoying but compelling needs that draw us to try changes that we are afraid and reluctant to try. In a reflection entitled "Buckle Up" we will consider how we might be enriched and nurtured by such a challenge in our lives and in our faith, despite the unfamiliarity, the potential risk and the ongoing fear and worry! Come join us to reflect on this text in our air-conditioned Chapel at 10AM this Sunday!
-- Rev. John H Pomeroy
Bible Reading Romans 12:1-13
We have a beautiful scripture reading this Sunday for a wonderful end-of-Summer worship! We hear about what a life in Christ looks like - how we are to live in a manner that is "holy and acceptable to God." It involves NOT being conformed to this world, but being transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect. What inspiring words for us to hear so many many years after they were first written down. We will use them as our guide as we bless Amara Luz Kauilani Mark-Schwiebert in worship and we will hear the piano music from both Emily and Julia Hughes. In addition we will hear the music of Connie Washburn on piano and the gifts of Gerald Washburn, our tenor soloist! It will be a magical morning. Kevin Cordova-Brookey will be our liturgist. YOU are invited!
- Rev. Marlene Wagner Pomeroy
Help From Unlikely Places
The story of the Canaanite woman is painful to listen to - the idea that the person who reveals to us a loving, compassionate God sounding anything but loving and compassionate! The writers here in Matthew are demonstrating the special connection between Jesus and the Jewish community - and the human tendency of Jesus and others to understand their purpose in life and their God in a singular way. Have you ever learned something important from a comment that someone made to you that was so direct or hurtful that you backed up? At times in our life, as well as our faith, we can be confronted with challenges that we are not prepared for - but that does not make the challenge any less important or truthful! In a sermon entitled "Help From Unlikely Places", we will consider how to acknowledge and receive help that comes from places and persons we may least expect! Come join us for worship in the Chapel at 10AM!
Connie Washburn is away this week and we have Sage McLeish as our guest musician covering for Connie, along with vocalist Kim Mendez-McLeish.
--Rev. John H. Pomeroy
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
This week we hear the beginning of the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. The 17 year old favorite son of his father... who inspires murderous jealousy from his 11 older brothers. Joseph is the dreamer whose life takes interesting twists and turns. It's a compelling tale that is as old as time. We will explore this story and also discover how God uses even the most dysfunctional of families to bring about new life in the world! Join us in our lovely chapel for music and prayers and preaching this Sunday. Vocalists Megan Alle and Cami Brown will provide varied styles of music this Sunday. Hope to see you at 10 a.m.
Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
This Sunday we will reflect on Matthew 14: 13-21 and the theme will be "thin places... and open-heart transformation". As we further explore Borg's Heart of Christianity we will spend time with
the Celtic concept of "thin places". These are moments/spaces where God is shining through into this world in clear ways-- when the two levels of reality meet and our hearts are transformed and opened up to God and to one another, as Jesus' heart is when he sees the sick in the crowd, in need of healing.
-Rev. Andy Schwiebert
Exodus 16:1-8, 13-16
"Where Are We Going?"
We will continue our exploration of Marcus Borg's book The Heart of Christianity this Sunday. I will be exploring the concept of the Kingdom of God from chapter 7 of the book. The text I will be using is from the Exodus story of the early Israelites wandering in the wilderness and looking to one another and to their God for guidance. The Israelites are afraid, hungry and very very weary of not knowing about their future - something all of us can relate to at different times in our lives! Join us on Sunday as we explore these themes and how to be people of faith during these times.
-Rev. John H. Pomeroy