January 13, 2008

Isaiah 42:1-9 Psalm 29Acts 10:34-43Matthew 3:13-17 I grew up, and went to church school, and sang in the choir, and listened to sermons, in a church whose sanctuary looks very much like this one at St. Andrew’s. Although my home church was a little wider and a little shorter, it shared the same basic architecture as this worship space. It included rows of wooden pews, facing straight towards the front, a long central aisle, and a balcony at the back. The front section, traditionally referred to as the chancel, included a pulpit on one side for preaching, a lectern on the other for readings, prayers, and announcements. The area reserved for the choir included two sets of pews facing towards each other with the Communion Table in between. And like here at St. Andrew’s, we usually only had a choir large enough to fill one side. The architecture varies a little bit these days, both in Presbyterian and other Christian churches, but one thing that is almost universally communicated by the way we set up our worship spaces is that something is going on at the front, and the people are watching it. You’re all looking this way — often you’re looking at me! — because I’m supposed to be doing something, or saying something, and you’re all here to watch it, or hear it. Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m not complaining about the responsibility that I’ve taken on in responding to the call to preach the Word and … Read more »

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 »