April 2018

“Easter People/Angels”/ Rev. Rodger Allen/ Matthew 28: 5-8, 16-20;Romans 10:9-15/4-15-18

By |April 19th, 2018|Sermons|

  The two women who went to visit Jesus’ tomb that first Easter morning  are sometimes described as “the first evangelists.” Now they probably wouldn’t have thought of themselves as having a particular title like that, or being “the first” anything. They just had some really exciting news, so of course wanted to share it with their friends who would also be really excited about it: Verse 6 – “He is not here; he has been raised”; verse 8 – “they ran to tell the disciples.” Picture yourself in their situation: wouldn’t you also want to run and tell the other people that loved Jesus that “he is not dead, he is alive”? (since you wouldn’t have your smart phone back then). The Marys would have just considered themselves to be two people who wanted to share great news with their friends. […]

“Mark’s Jesus: 5. The Savior” Rev. Rodger Allen Selected verses from Mark 11, 12, 14, & 15; Psalm 118: 23-28; Isaiah 53: 3-6 3-25-18

By |April 11th, 2018|Sermons|

  For several weeks  we’ve been looking at the gospel-writer Mark’s description of Jesus; his impressions of Jesus as Teacher, as Healer, as Includer, as Reformer. Today we’re going to combine Mark’s description with that of an imaginary disciple, who we’ll name Isaac. Now Isaac, the way we’re imagining him, was not one of the twelve central disciples. He’s better described as one of the “fringe” disciples—with Jesus sometimes, but not at others; being interested, but not totally committed; still fence-sitting, in a way, as to whether he believes all this talk about Jesus being the Messiah. Isaac, we’re going to suppose, kept a diary, and today we’ll read excerpts from the Gospel of Mark, and excerpts from the imaginary fringe-disciple Isaac’s diary. […]

March 2018

“Mark’s Jesus: 4. The Reformer” Rev. Rodger Allen/Mk. 7:1-23; Isaiah 1:11-17; Amos 5:21-24/3-18-18

By |March 26th, 2018|Sermons|

It’s difficult,  at least for those of us who have looked into church history at all, to think of the word “reform” without thinking of the capital-R “Reformation,” that 16th-century movement initiated by Martin Luther and a few others which resulted in the birth of the Protestant Church. Many of you have heard the story: [...]

“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? […]

“Mark’s Jesus: 1. The Teacher” Rev. Rodger Allen/Mk. 1:9-15, 22; Mk. 4: 26-33, 2-25-18

By |March 8th, 2018|Sermons|

The name of the sermon series we begin today, and which will carry us through the rest of the season of Lent, is “Mark’s Jesus.” Mark apostrophe-s Jesus. Now this isn’t the type of apostrophe-s that denotes ownership, like Virginia’s car or Steve’s house or Mellie’s backpack. Mark doesn’t’ own Jesus. Neither is it the type of apostrophe-s  that implies creation, like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or Monet’s Water Lilies. Mark didn’t create Jesus. It’s not even the apostrophe-s that indicates a family relationship, like Jeff’s wife or Vicky’s daughters. Instead, this is an apostrophe-s that signifies a particular telling or version: this is Mark’s version of Jesus’ life, Mark’s biography of Jesus. Most of us have at least some experience with biographies, the story of real people’s lives. The TV show “Biography,” I heard, was for years the most popular program on its cable network, telling the story of a different person’s life every weeknight. People who become suddenly famous get featured in rush-to-market paperback biographies—we’ll probably see in stores soon the life stories of Olympians Chloe Kim or Mikaela Shiffrin. And we all, I’ll bet, some time in our school careers, had to do a book report on a biography: what did we learn about the life of Abraham Lincoln, or Thomas Edison, or Harriet Tubman. […]