LOVE

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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. […]

“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. […]

June 2019

“Souls Full of Troubles”/Psalm 88:1-5, 8-13/Luke 8:26-39/Rev. Rodger Allen/6-23-19 

By |June 25th, 2019|Sermons|

The man in the tombs was, most likely, afflicted with a mental illness. After Jesus’ healing, we are told in verse 35, the man is found sitting at the feet of Jesus, “clothed and in his right mind” – while before he had been unclothed and not in his right mind. He had had a mental illness; his brain had been sick. To borrow a phrase from our Psalm this morning, he had had a “soul full of troubles” – a troubled soul. […]

“For Fathers and More: The Bible on Raising Children”/Exodus 13: 3-6, 8-10, 14; Mark 10:13-16; Ephesians 6:1-4/Rev. Rodger Allen/6-16-19

By |June 18th, 2019|Sermons|

The statistics—the numbers—that you are about to hear are a little dated, but newer sources that I read this week say that little has changed in the past ten years, so I’m going to go ahead and run them by you: A father in Japan . . . spends an average time each day with his children. . . of 17 minutes. 17 minutes per day. “That statistic,” said the original article, “which is printed on government-sponsored posters aimed at getting men to do more at home, touched off a round of finger-pointing between the sexes in Japan. (Another poster has the caption) ‘A man who does not help in child-rearing cannot be called a father.’ ‘That is not true,’ responds Noboru Yamada, a banker and father of two children. ‘We just don’t have time.’ When his children were young, he continues, he changed a diaper . . . about every six months, and spent more than a few minutes a day with his kids ‘once every ten days or two weeks.’” And that’s OK, in his mind. I wonder what kind of Father’s Day gifts he’ll be getting today. […]

April 2019

“A Brief History of Time: 5. Tomorrow: New Life”/Ezekiel 37: 1-14; John 11:11-15, 17-20, 23-26, 34-45; Romans 8:6-11 (NJB)/Rev. Rodger Allen/4-14-19 

By |April 18th, 2019|Sermons|

Today’s sermon concludes our series called  “A Brief History of Time.” The title of the series, as explained before, was borrowed from Stephen Hawking’s book by that name, but while he looked at the physical history of the universe, things like big bang theories and expanding galaxies, we’ve looked at what can be called “salvation history” – a history of God’s relationship with humanity. For three weeks we looked at the Past: the creation of humanity at the beginning; humanity’s insistence on sinning, which became obvious very shortly after the beginning; and God’s act in the life and death of Jesus Christ to reconcile God and people, to bring us together, in spite of that sin. Last week’s topic was labelled “Today,” or the Present: How do we respond to God’s love? And today’s topic is labelled, very loosely, the Future, or “Tomorrow”: what will be the outcome of a relationship with God? […]