Bible

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October 2019

“On Mustard, Mulberry, and Meanwhiles”/ Luke 17: 5-10; Amos 5:6-7, 10-15/ Rev. Rodger Allen/ 9-29-19

By |October 1st, 2019|Sermons|

Long before the current very-popular “Downton Abbey” movie, and long before the “Downton Abbey” TV show, PBS showed a different TV series with some things in common with “Downton”; it was called “Upstairs Downstairs.” The title refers to the two groups of people who live in an early 20th-century British household – the gentlemen and ladies who own the house and are part of England’s upper class are the “Upstairs” folks, and their servants are the “Downstairs” folks, because that’s where their living quarters are. The series covered many years in England’s history, and included such major events as the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, and the 1929 Stock Market crash, but the episodes which were the most interesting were not the ones about those historic events, but those which had to do with certain characters who occasionally appeared in the household. Every once in a while, someone would arrive who couldn’t be easily categorized as either an “upstairs” person or a “downstairs” person, and didn’t really fit in with either group – for example, a so-called “commoner” dating one of the upstairs people, or a businessperson making a good living, but without the “proper” background to admit them to the “upstairs” category. […]

September 2019

“Side Tracks”/Zechariah 7:1-10; Luke 20: 27-38/Rev. Rodger Allen/9.22-19

By |September 23rd, 2019|Sermons|

At the back of our Old Testament is a collection of books often called “the minor prophets.” “Minor” not because the messages of those pages are any less important than the messages of the other pages of the Bible, but because they are short books. Compared to Isaiah’s sixty-six chapters or Jeremiah’s fifty-two, some of these books are only one or two chapters long. They have names like Obadiah, and Zephaniah, and Habakkuk, whom we looked at two Sundays ago. The Lectionary, that list of recommended Scripture passages for our worship services, only steers us to the minor prophets for one brief period in its three years’ worth of readings. That period is late Summer and early Fall, of “Year 3” – and that is now. So today we’re going to take advantage of this short Lectionary window of opportunity to look at part of the book by the minor prophet Zechariah. […]

August 2019

“Ezekiel: The Case of the Disappearing Grapes”/Ezekiel 1:1-3; 2:1-4, 7; 18: 1-9, 20, 25-29/Rev. Rodger Allen/8-11-19

By |August 13th, 2019|Sermons|

Seminaries, the graduate schools which train people for ministry, have a different look to them these days than they used to. The majority of the students today are not 22- or 23-year-olds who have come straight from college, but instead fall into the category called “second-career” – they have left some other occupation in their mid-20’s, mid-30’s, or mid-40’s, and enrolled  in a 3 or 4 year program to train for a new career in ministry. They are people like me, and Laurie. Phil was one of those second-career seminarians. Phil had been a banker; he had gone to business school and then worked his way up through the ranks to a middle-management position in a respected bank. But Phil had gradually recognized that he was being called by God out of the banking industry and into the ministry, and he quit his job, sold his house, and moved to a small efficiency apartment on the seminary campus to begin three years of classes – three years of hard work with little or no income; three years which, at best, would result in his starting his career over again at the ground floor; three years, though, which would leave him doing what God had called him to do. […]

July 2019

“Surprised by Joy”/II Kings 4:8-17; Luke 11:1-13/Rev. Rodger Allen/7-21-19

By |July 23rd, 2019|Sermons|

We believe, as Christians, in God’s wonderful gift of grace:  that God offers us, as a gift, out of love for us, the chance to know God and God’s will in this life, through this life, and the opportunity to be with God forever, in eternal life, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God had done this, for us. And we also believe that, in grateful response to what God has done for us, we Christians should try to live our lives the way God wants us to; it is our way of saying “thank you” for God’s wonderful gift. We do, in gratitude, particular things that are pleasing to God, and that help us become the kind of people God wants us to be. Like: […]

“Shall We Kill Them Now, Lord?”/Luke 9:51-62; Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:5-6; 61:1/Rev. Rodger Allen/6-30-19

By |July 2nd, 2019|Sermons|

Our Gospel passage today is not an especially famous one, but as we shall see, it is a key passage for Luke, in the development of his account of Jesus’ life. We’ll look at the passage in three parts this morning, and you may want to keep it in front of you; we won’t be going, however, exactly in the order of the verses. The first of the three sections is a short one, consisting only of the first verse: “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” The phrase “set his face” attracts our attention, as it is not one we usually use in our everyday speech. Set the table, yes; set your hair, maybe; “set the stage” – but not “set his face.” Yet it is a phrase that makes sense, once we visualize it. To “set” is to place or put; to set one’s face, then, would be to place it pointed toward a certain direction. To set one’s face to go to Jerusalem, then, would mean to face Jerusalem, to look toward the destination of Jerusalem. Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem: he faced the direction he had decided to go next. […]