June 27, 2017 by jmar198013
We often invite people to join us in prayer when we’re hurt, scared, or confused. But how often do we invite our friends to join us in prayers of thanksgiving, as a community, when our prayers have been answered? Psalm 30 affirms the prayer of lament, but also making our personal joy a time for community praise and celebration. This way, it helps us both to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.
June 22, 2017 by jmar198013
The Psalms not only give us new language to speak to God with; they give us new and colorful ways to describe God, imagine God, and experience God. This leads to deeper and richer conversations with God. Psalm 23 imagines God as both a shepherd guiding us through scary places; and a host who wines and dines us in his own home. Other psalms portray God as a warrior, food and drink, and even a mother with a nursing baby at her breast. When we learn to imagine and speak to God with these metaphors, we learn God’s faithfulness to meet all our needs.
June 14, 2017 by jmar198013
In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King said “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” That’s the burning sentiment behind the prayer that asks: How long?
June 6, 2017 by jmar198013
Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray, and he taught them a prayer popularly known as the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11.1-4). The Psalms also teach us to pray. What happens when you allow the Lord’s Prayer and one of the Psalms to have a conversation with each other? In this sermon, we find that Psalm 100 illuminates the Lord’s Prayer; and the Lord’s prayer does the same for Psalm 100.
May 31, 2017 by jmar198013
In Acts 2, Peter told those who were baptized at Pentecost they would “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” We see that this gift didn’t show up primarily in the form of speaking in tongues and other flashy miracles, but in the Spirit creating a family out of a bunch of strangers.
May 25, 2017 by jmar198013
John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah, sang a song just after he was born that saw what God was about to do through John and especially Jesus as a fulfillment to the promises made to their ancestor Abraham long before. In Galatians 3, Paul likewise sees what God had done through Christ as a new chapter in the story God began in Abraham. Through these readings, we learn to read scripture as a story of God’s faithfulness to his people and the world. And God’s faithfulness empowers us–like Abraham–to move forward in faith, going where God leads, to be a blessing to the world.
May 19, 2017 by jmar198013
Paul read, interpreted, and applied the scriptures filtered through the story of Jesus and his own experience as a sinner who received mercy. That may be the most valid Christian hermeneutic there is.