June 7, 2009

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Isaiah 6:1-8 Psalm 29 Mark 3:13-19 There are many stories in the scriptures about Jesus sending out his followers to do ministry in his name. Our Gospel text today is one of these stories that give us insight into our mission as Jesus’ followers today. One of the interesting things about this text is that it lists the names of the people who were sent, and it gives them a new title. Most of the time, Jesus’ friends were called “disciples”. You probably remember that “disciple” comes from a Greek word meaning “one who follows and learns”. In fact, today’s passage begins with Jesus inviting some of his “disciples” to go up on a mountain with him. And then he chooses twelve of them to receive a new title and a new task. The new title he gives these twelve is “apostle” — from another Greek word meaning “one who is sent”. And the only other thing in the passage, besides the listing of the apostles’ names, is a sentence about the work Jesus was sending them out to do. He sent them out “to preach and to force out demons”. When I study a passage like this one, I usually start wondering about what those apostles were feeling as Jesus’ sent them out to preach and to force out demons. Did they feel like they were ready to do it? Had they figured out what they would say to the people when they … Read more »

June 10, 2012

2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:1 Mark 3:31-35 Summarizing today’s Gospel reading, one commentator writes that Mark 3:20-35 tells of Jesus’ homecoming after he called his first disciples, and the reception he received. People had begun to talk about Jesus and were spreading some rumors and tales, including that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebul. Jesus’ own family wants to bring him home and stop this “madness,” this “nonsense,” of Jesus’ ministry and healing and preaching, but Jesus declares that Satan cannot cast out Satan; therefore Jesus, who is doing good works, cannot be possessed by a demon, for what he is doing is the complete opposite of what demonic forces would do. Demonic forces would destroy, bring pain and anguish and despair; Jesus brings restoration, healing, joy and hope. When Jesus’ family calls out to him and the crowd informs Jesus of this, Jesus reminds them that whoever does the will of God is Jesus’ family– for we are all children of God, we are all Christ’s brothers and sisters, when we do the work of God, bringing healing, hope and restoration to the world by sharing God’s love. Whoever does the will of God is Jesus’ family. His family is not determined by blood lines or marriage certificates. All those who do the will of God are Jesus’ sisters and brothers. Most of us know that family is not always defined by who is technically related to us. I remember learning years ago from one of our Cameroonian church members … Read more »

June 16, 2013

Genesis 13:1-18 Psalm 133 1 Timothy 5:1-4 Mark 3:31-35 “A Blessing to Others” In Presbyterian and United and perhaps some other Churches as well, it is common to celebrate “Christian Family Sunday” on Mothers’ Day. This year, I thought we could do it on Fathers’ Day instead – equally appropriate, and the same day as our Family Worship service and church picnic. As I thought about “Christian Family Sunday” I started thinking about what makes a Christian family distinct from any other family. Is it just the fact that Christian families come to church on Sundays? Or is it religious activities that take place in the home? Reading bible stories, saying grace before dinner, or perhaps having a practice of bedtime prayers? Is it the determination of Christian families to care for one another and to forgive one another when we find ourselves in conflict and hurting each other? Don’t other families find ways to forgive and mend their relationships too? I came across a resource of “Christian Family Sunday” that encouraged looking at biblical families. Some of these families, like Ruth and Naomi for example, might give us some good examples of what it means to be faithful to one another as families, to sacrifice our own needs for the sake of the most vulnerable, and to stick together through challenges. Other biblical families, of course, might give us some good examples of how NOT to deal with our families. Jacob’s constant trickery and lies for example, don’t make … Read more »