Tag Archives: religion

  1. Fulfilling Isaiah (Acts 8.26-39) [sermon 5-7-2017]

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    May 6, 2017 by jmar198013

    The work of the church is to continue what God and Jesus and Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch began. To “take up the cause of all the black sheep,” the ones who have been considered unclean and excluded from God’s people. To bring them to the Good News of God’s salvation—that God has heard them crying out in their shame and humiliation. That they are not strangers to God. That God knows and loves all his children. That Jesus has borne their shame and rejection in his cross. That in the incarnation, death, resurrection, and glorification of Christ, Father God has “embraced the company of the lowest.” Our work as the church is to keep fulfilling Isaiah 56 through the Good News of Isaiah 53. We need to know who the foreigners and eunuchs of our time are to do this. I believe we are wise enough to know this.

    Because the bottom line is, God has embraced the church in our shame and uncleanness through the waters of baptism. And Jesus’ word to us is the same as it ever was: Do unto others as I have done for you.

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  2. Sight to the blind (Luke 18.31 – 19.10) [sermon 4-2-2017]

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    March 31, 2017 by jmar198013

    In Luke 18.31-19.10, the meaning of Jesus’ word is hidden from his disciples. A blind man begs for sight. A tiny tax collector named Zacchaeus climbs a tree to see Jesus through a crowd. There’s all sorts of reasons people can’t see. But Jesus cures not only the blindness of the eyes, but of the heart and spirit.

  3. Setting the Sabbath free (Luke 6.1-16) [Sermon 1-29-2017]

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    January 27, 2017 by jmar198013

    The Sabbath was meant for the release, rest, and healing of those who had been slaves. But what happens when a law that was meant to give comfort to former slaves morphs into another form of bondage? How can it be a day of rest and release if you’re so worried about doing it wrong, you can’t really celebrate it? Those Pharisees would have people become slaves to the Sabbath. Jesus came to set people free. And he came to set the Sabbath free. So it could serve humanity, the way God meant it to.

  4. An agenda for ministry (Luke 4.14-30) [Sermon 01-15-2017]

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    January 13, 2017 by jmar198013

    Jesus told his neighbors, in no uncertain terms, that God didn’t intend for Jubilee to be proclaimed only to them. Jesus had come to preach the Good News of God’s salvation to all the poor folk. To heal all the blind folk. To proclaim forgiveness and release to all the captives. Yes, even the tax collectors and Samaritans and … even the Romans. God had sent him to proclaim Jubilee to everyone. Even their enemies. And that’s what got them mad enough to throw Jesus off a cliff. Because there’s this human tendency to think blessing is a zero-sum game. Good news for somebody has to mean bad news for somebody else. There can’t be a “year of the Lord’s favor” without a corresponding “day of vengeance for our God.” Jesus came to show us it doesn’t really have to be that way.

  5. John baptizes Jesus (Luke 3.1-22; Ps. 51.6-17) [Sermon 01-08-2017]

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    January 6, 2017 by jmar198013

    Luke has recorded for us the precise moment when Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach good news to the poor. It was right after he was plunged into the same waters as the poor, the prisoners, the blind, the oppressed, and those who cried out for God’s favor. In other words, people just like you and me.

    He didn’t save us from on high.

    He got right down in that dirty, muddy water with us.

  6. Welcoming God’s salvation (Luke 2.21-38; Psalm 131) [sermon 01-01-2017]

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    December 30, 2016 by jmar198013

    Like Simeon, each of us can reach out for Jesus, and rejoice before God: “my eyes have seen your salvation.” And God’s salvation is a wide-open welcome that reaches down into our depths.

  7. Peace among those whom he favors (Luke 2.8-20) [Christmas sermon 2016]

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    December 23, 2016 by jmar198013

    One of the many ways the scriptures serve us is by training us how to see what’s going on around us. To wait on God. To look for God at work in unexpected places. To find the holy in what might seem insignificant. To be able to recognize what God is doing in and through other people. Maybe especially people who often get overlooked. The story of Christmas does all that for us.

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