March 6, 2016

Joshua 5:9-12 Psalm 32 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 “Everything Has Become New!” We have some great scripture readings today, for this fourth Sunday in Lent, on the theme of reconciliation. As a season in which we are invited to prayer, confession, and returning to God, these are wonderful readings. In Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son, we are reminded that no matter what our history, no matter how many poor decisions we have made, no matter how irresponsible we have been, no matter how far we have run from God, God welcomes us home. God runs to us, embraces us, and treats us like precious children once again. Psalm 32 also encourages us to come back to God when we have strayed. It points out the peace and joy that we can experience when we are forgiven, noting the gnawing guilt and shame we often feel before we admit our mistakes, and the relief that comes from being honest and getting things off our chest. In his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul explains that God does not count our sins against us, but freely invites us to be reconciled through Christ. Paul himself has experienced the joy of being forgiven, turning his life away from persecuting Christians towards a new mission of bringing the good news of Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike. And now God has given him a ministry of reconciliation – encouraging others to turn to God as well, and to experience … Read more »

June 17, 2012

1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13 2 Corinthians 5:6-17 Mark 4:26-34 GOOD NEWS for our Children: Jesus liked to tell stories to help people to understand his teachings. One very important topic that Jesus wanted to teach everyone about was the “kingdom of God.”Do you know about the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God is the time and place where everyone knows God, and everyone loves God, and everyone is kind and loving towards each other. One day, when Jesus was teaching a bunch of people he told a little story to help them to understand what the kingdom of God is like. He said, “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. You know how small a mustard seed is? It’s really tiny! The kingdom of God is like a tiny mustard seed. When you plant it in the ground, it grows up and becomes much, much bigger. It becomes a big shrub. It grows branches and leaves, and birds come and make nests in its shade. Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a seed… It starts small. Maybe it starts with one person doing a good deed. And then someone else joins in. And then some others come along, and they all get going together doing one small good thing after another until they have done something really wonderful! What kinds of wonderful things do you think we could do if we all helped a little bit and we worked together? Could we build … Read more »

Mission Awareness Sunday – May 15, 2011

The following sermon was preached at St. Andrew’s by Dineke Kraay for Mission Awareness Sunday. She adapted it from a sermon written by the Rev. Heather Jones. “Ambassadors and Assignments” (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ You may wonder why I began the sermon with this particular greeting. This phrase is not mine. My father, who was a minister in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, always began his sermons by saying: Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ. And I think that we all know, deep down in our hearts, that this is what we really and truly are. But, how did we become Christ’s beloved congregation? When Jesus was on earth, he called twelve people to be his disciples. They stayed with him during the years of his public ministry. Before Jesus went up to be with God, he commanded his disciples to spread the Good News, he had taught them, saying: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the earth. (Matthew 28:18-20b.) The disciples directed their mission efforts first to their fellow Jews. Gradually, they began to reach out to the Jewish communities outside their own country. However, they did not seem … Read more »

March 14, 2010

Psalm 32 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 The big churchy word that I didn’t use with the children this morning is RECONCILIATION – but that is the over-arching theme in the scripture readings today. Reconciliation with God is longed for by the psalmist. It is celebrated in Luke’s parable. And in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, reconciliation is the word of the day! Paul writes to the Church at Corinth, proclaiming the good news that God has reconciled us to himself through Christ. And he goes on to tell them that God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. And so, this sermon will be something of an exploration of the word “reconciliation” and what it might mean for us, both as something that God has done for us, and something that God is inviting us to do for others. Within the practices of the Roman Catholic Church, reconciliation is the official name of one of the seven sacraments. It is seen as something that Jesus did, and something that he instructed his followers to keep on doing in the same way. You may know about this sacrament simply by the name “confession” – when a person confesses their sins to a priest, and the priest offers absolution – an assurance of God’s forgiveness offered freely to the one who confesses their sin and turns back to God. “Reconciliation” is the name of the sacrament, in which God acts to reconcile the person to God, to restore relationship, and … Read more »