Faith for the Ice Age

SUNDAY, JULY 26, 2020 – Pastor Steve Clark preaching

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For this Sunday, READ Ezra 3:10-13 and REFLECT: After several generations in exile in Babylon, most of the people of Israel have returned to their beloved homeland and their capital city of Jerusalem. Under the prodding and guidance of Ezra, they begin rebuilding the temple which had been completely destroyed by the Babylonians. In this text, the people gather to celebrate the completion of the new temple’s foundation. The crowd’s reaction is mixed: some celebrate in joy at this new beginning (v. 11) , while others weep in grief as they remember what they have lost (v. 12). In the midst of what is currently going on in your life and in the world, what new beginnings are happening that are worth celebrating? What is being lost that causes you to grieve? Where are you seeing God’s work of “rebuilding” going on? How can you be part of it?

Comparing goats and sheep

SUNDAY, JULY 19, 2020 –

Rev. Kathie S. Pownall preaching

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For this Sunday, READ Matthew 25:31-46 [The Message translation if you can]. Consider if you are “baahing or bleating” – goat/sheep comparison. This parable summarizes the point of Jesus’ ministries and is quite important for us to receive and consider mindfully. Administer justice? How do we do that? What issues in our world require our attention paid to “justice”? 
IDEA: Consider the words that others say and whether you keep silent or if you say something. The sermon will contain two stories upon which to reflect. Imagining and helping create a society where justice and mercy meet and enrich each other may be the hardest, most essential, and at times the most uncomfortable work we are called to by the Gospel of Jesus.

Finding a Bigger Story

Sunday July 5, 2020 – Pastor Steve Clark preaching – “Finding a Bigger Story”

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For this Sunday, READ John 4:1-29 and REFLECT: In this probably-familiar story, there is a lot of back-and-forth conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Imagine yourself there, listening in to the conversation. What question(s) would you have for Jesus? How do you think he would answer? Jesus apparently knows more about the woman than she has been willing to reveal (vs. 17-18). No explanation is given in the text for the woman’s marriage history, but various backstories have been offered over the years. Some depict her as a woman of loose morals; some depict her as victim of male oppression. What do you think is her story – and why? How does your understanding of her story affect your understanding of what Jesus is doing in this conversation?

Settle Down … and Sing

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Sunday June 28, 2020

Pastor Steve Clark preaching

READ Jeremiah 29:1-14 and REFLECT: This text tells about a letter the prophet sends to the community of Israelites now living in the foreign city of Babylon, taken there as captives when the Babylonians defeated Israel and turned Israel into a vassal state. Imagine what it feels like to be a virtual prisoner in the empire that has defeated your own country. What are you feeling and thinking? What are you dreaming about and hoping for? How are you feeling about your Babylonian neighbors? What is your reaction to the prophet’s claim that God is telling you to stop pushing back against your situation, to just settle down, settle in, and make yourself at home? How does that fit with what you have believed about God? 

The Centurion

Sunday June 21, 2020 – Rev. Steve Clark preaching

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For this Sunday, READ Acts 10 and REFLECT: What questions or thoughts do you have after reading this story? What similarities do you see in the story with the story of Saul’s conversion we read last Sunday (Acts 9:1-20)? What differences do you notice? Have you ever had an experience of being led by God to speak with someone about something in their life or in yours? What was that like?

Restored

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Sunday June 14, 2020

Pastor Steve Clark preaching

   For this Sunday, READ Acts 9:1-20 and REFLECT: What details in this story catch your attention and make you want to know more? Imagine you had a chance to talk to Saul a couple weeks after his experience on the road to Damascus. What question(s) would you ask him? What about Ananias; what more would you want to learn from him about his experience? At two later points in the book of Acts, Saul (now named Paul) will tell in his own words the story of his encounter on the Damascus road; each time he will tell it a little differently. If you were to tell your story of an encounter you had with God, what would you say?
   FROM THE ARTIST: In this image, a halo hovers around the hand of Ananias, nodding to the sacred courage required to melt the hatred of his oppressor with intimacy and connection. Scales pour out of Saul’s eyes, purging him, cleansing him, igniting him with a new and particular mission: to pour out God’s grace wherever humans try to limit it.” — Lisa Gwynn Garrity

When plans fall apart

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Sunday June 7, 2020

Pastor Steve Clark preaching

THIS SUNDAY, JUNE 7, is a Communion Sunday. If you would like to participate in celebrating the sacrament, have your bread/cracker/cookie/? and juice/wine/water/? ready when you begin the video and join the service. We also receive the offering for the Deacons’ Fund the first Sunday of each month. Your contributions provide immediate assistance to individuals in our community in financial crisis. Please prayerfully consider a donation.
   READ Luke 19:1-10 and REFLECT: I wonder what Zacchaeus had heard that made him so eager to “see who Jesus was” (v.3)? Imagine yourself as Zacchaeus in the tree, and Jesus stops, looks up directly at you and calls you by name. What are you thinking or feeling at that moment? The original language of v.8 leaves open the possibility that Zacchaeus was either making a new promise in response to Jesus’ welcome – OR he was describing how he was already handling his wealth. What difference do these two options make to the story for you? 

Pentecost

Day of Pentecost
Sunday, May 31
Pastor Steve Clark preaching

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For this Sunday, READ Acts 1:1-14 and 2:41-47. Then REFLECT: What stands out for you in either of these passages? What questions do you have? Imagine yourself as one of the disciples hearing Jesus’ words in 1:4-8. What question(s) would you want to ask him, or what would you want to say? What do you think it means to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (1:5) or to have “the Holy Spirit . . . come upon you”? Have you had any experience that you could describe using either of those phrases?

7th Sunday of Easter

Sunday May 24 – Steve Clark Preaching

For THIS SUNDAY, MAY 24 – READ Exodus 5:1-2; 7:8-23. Then REFLECT: These texts are two scenes from a much longer story about the Lord using Moses and Aaron in the work of liberating the Israelites from slavery under the Pharaoh of Egypt. What details in these texts stand out for you and/or raise questions for you? In light of our current theme of “Unraveled,” whose plans or assumptions are coming unraveled in these texts? In these recent weeks how have your own plans or intentions come unraveled – and how have you responded?

6th Sunday of Easter

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Sunday May 17, 2020 – Steve Clark preaching

READ Matthew 14:22-33 and REFLECT: Why do you think Jesus made the disciples “go on ahead” without him? How might you have felt about that if you were one of the disciples? What kind of reasons can you think of for Peter’s request of Jesus in v28? Can you imagine yourself making such a request? What might it mean for you today to “get out of the boat” and climb into rough, wind-whipped water?