Jesus

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October 2019

“One Gave Thanks”/Luke 17: 11-19, Psalm 107: 1-3, 15/Rev. Rodger Allen/10-27-19  

By |October 31st, 2019|Sermons|

By this time in Jesus’ ministry, the time of his final journey to Jerusalem, he was well-known as a teacher and a healer throughout the countryside around Jerusalem and Galilee. By this time, it would come as no surprise when he was recognized and approached by those wanting help. In this story, the ones wanting help are ten people suffering from a bad skin disease, ten whom we have come to know as “lepers.” Lepers, as you may know, may have been the most feared and rejected members of Middle Eastern society. Some people thought their disease was a punishment sent by God because they were bad people; others thought the condition was terribly contagious. It turns out both were wrong. Whatever the reason, they were outcasts, “untouchables,” given up as permanently lost and virtually dead. If we were to describe them in the “Upstairs Downstairs” terms of last month’s sermon, we would have to put them in the lowest basement. […]

Is Your God Too Small?/Psalm 68: 4-10, 19-20, 34-35; Jeremiah 32:27; Colossians 1:15-20/Jeanette Levellie/10.13.19

By |October 14th, 2019|Sermons|

Have you ever said, “Impossible!” about a situation in your life or someone you love? I’m ashamed to admit it, but I said that to God back in 1993. A church in West Virginia had hired my husband, Kevin, to be their pastor. Two conflicts arose as soon as Kevin agreed to accept their offer. We couldn’t sell our house in LA. And our son, 13 at the time, became very depressed about leaving his friends and moving across the country where he didn’t know anyone. I was worried that he might harm himself. […]

“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. […]

August 2019

“Oh, NO! Another ‘Difficult Teaching'”/Luke 12:49-56; Jeremiah 20:7-13/Rev. Rodger Allen/8-25-19

By |August 27th, 2019|Sermons|

Some of you may remember a Sunday morning when we considered the subject of hard-to understand things that Jesus sometimes said. The setting then was this: Jesus had just said to a crowd: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” The disciples, in a masterful piece of understatement, responded, “this teaching . . . is difficult.” But they also went on to say, as Jesus asked if it was so difficult that it would make them turn away, “But where else would we go? YOU are the Holy One of God.” The disciples, we went on to see, had a choice between staying with Jesus and trying to understand the teachings which seemed so difficult, or giving up on Jesus, preferring simplicity, someone else’s easy answers, to the Messiah. They had to decide which they were most dedicated to: simplicity, or Jesus Christ. And they chose Christ; they voted to stay and wrestle with the difficult teachings rather than insist that everything be easy. After all, no one ever promised, to them or us, that all the teachings of the Bible were going to be easy to understand. Sometimes we have to struggle a bit. […]

July 2019

“Hosea: God Finds a Way”/Hosea 1:2-3; 4: 1-3; 6: 4-6/I Tim. 1:12-14; Luke 15: 1-10/Rev. Rodger Allen7-28-19

By |July 31st, 2019|Sermons|

Laurie has two sisters.  One of them, Beth, lives in Pittsburgh, and we see her when we do our twice-a-year “Pennsylvania loops” to visit both of our families. The other, Debbi, lives in Massachusetts with her family. We have often visited them at Thanksgiving – a New England Thanksgiving. When we visit Debbi, we often spend one day in Boston, joining many tourists who visit many tourist attractions there. And one of the still-popular tourist attractions, even though the TV show has only been available in reruns for many years now, is the bar that’s shown on the opening of “Cheers.” Yes, there is a bar called “Cheers” in Boston, just off Beacon Hill – but tourists need to be warned of something before they go there: while the outside of the bar is exactly the same as you see on the opening credits of the TV show, the interior, I’m afraid, was something just created for the show. The real Cheers looks nothing like that inside. The real Cheers, in fact, is more of a restaurant than a bar, with lots of booths and little rooms. I think it even has ferns in it, and regular fans of the show know that Norm and Cliff just hate ferns in a bar. […]