helping

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October 2018

“Old Testament Women of the Bible: Esther”/9/30/18/Esther 1:1-4, 7:1-20, 9:20a, 21, 22; James 5:13-16, 19-20/Rev. Laurie Williams

By |October 1st, 2018|Sermons|

          As most of you know, my past three sermons are a part of a series about Old Testament women.  To this point, I have been rescuing them from the bad rap they have received by some biblical scholars and commentators down through the ages.  We have heard of Eve, Sarah and Hagar, and Tamar.  Today I will jump way ahead in scripture and talk about Esther as it is also in the Revised Common Lectionary for this Sunday.           While there are no known documents of a historical nature concerning Esther, she is very important to the Jewish faith story and consequently our faith too.  This story tells of the salvation of the Jewish people, residing as refugees in Persia, from certain death.  The King in the story is Ahasuerus.  His Persian name was thought to be Xerxes who reigned from 479 to 465 B.C.  […]

July 2018

“Women of the Old Testament: Eve, the Easer of Loneliness”/7/22/18/Scripture: Genesis 1-2:2 selected verses/by Rev. Laurie Williams

By |July 23rd, 2018|Sermons|

          Like Rodger, I too am doing a series.  For many of the weeks of the next few months, when I preach, I will talk about a different Old Testament woman based on the book by Lynn Japinga entitled “Preaching the Women of the Old Testament”. The following true story was in the newspaper, The Irish Times, from July 21, 2018.  The author of the story explains:  “I’m a 44-year-old professional woman, very happily married with two lovely children. Lucky, eh?  (Still) I never thought I would feel the kind of loneliness that makes my heart ache.  But I do.  I’m originally from Ireland.  I moved to Wales twenty years ago for work, met my husband (who is also Irish) and settled into life there. I had a large group of female friends acquired through baby play groups, school and work.  […]

“Grace Is Not In Vain”/7/15/18/Scripture: 2 Cor. 5:11-6:2; Isaiah 11:1-2, 6-10/by Rev. Laurie Williams

By |July 18th, 2018|Sermons|

           A lawyer, newly relocated to a village, went duck hunting on his property.  He shot a duck and it fell not on his property but on his farmer neighbor’s property, specifically in his garden.  The lawyer started to climb the fence between their two properties and the farmer came over to his garden and picked up the dead duck saying, “No, no, the duck is no longer yours because it fell onto my property.”  The lawyer incredulously stated, “Do you know who I am?  I’m a lawyer and I’ll sue you.”  To which the farmer calmly replied, “You are new to this village and we settle disputes with the three-kick rule.  The one who has the complaint gets on the ground and is kicked first and if that one can then stand, he kicks the other and that goes on until one can’t stand.  In this case, if it is you standing, you will get this duck back.”  So the lawyer lies down on the ground and the farmer gives him three quick kicks in the leg, side, and shoulder. The lawyer then stands up and exclaims, “ok, now it is your turn.”  And the farmer states, “That’s ok, you can have the duck!”  […]

June 2018

“So, Who Really Cares” 6/3/18 Scripture: Jn 4:5-26, 28-30; Mk 2:23-3:6 by Rev. Laurie Williams

By |June 5th, 2018|Sermons|

          A couple weeks ago, I watched a speech for seminary graduates online by Rev. Dr. Jonathan L Walton who is “an acclaimed author, social ethicist and religious scholar.  He is the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals” and a minister at Harvard University.  He was giving sermon to the 2018 graduates of Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.  I got my first master’s degree there at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education which is now part of Union Seminary, so I am interested in what happens there.  I scribbled down notes while he was speaking so that I could share some of it with you.  The title of his message to those graduating was “Who Cares” and he used the John 4 passage, much of which Rodger and I read to you, about Jesus in Samaria and the women at the well.  [Whoever created these stain glass windows found this story important too as it is gorgeously memorialized here in our sanctuary.]   […]

March 2018

“Mark’s Jesus: 2. The Healer” Rev. Rodger Allen/ Mk. 2: 1-12; Mark 5: 21-42, 3-4-18

By |March 8th, 2018|Sermons|

              Today we continue our Lenten worship series on the various roles of Jesus, as presented in the Gospel of Mark: What does Jesus do in his ministry? What does he consider most important? Last Sunday we looked at “Jesus the Teacher,” discovering that teaching was one of Jesus’ first priorities, and discussing what his teachings were, to whom he delivered them, and how. In future weeks we’ll consider such themes as “Jesus the Reformer,” and “Savior,” and “Victor.” And today we consider Jesus the Healer. There are many healings in the Gospel of Mark; what does he wish us to learn from them? Why does he present them? Why does he present the ones he does, and not others? What do they mean? […]