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Sermons from Main Branch

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Let There Be Peace

God is about to visit, to break upon us sending an infant who will bring more experiences of salvation and that peace than we ever imagined. And I have never been more ready than now. I am ready for relationships to heal and flourish with love. I am ready for people to not fear what’s beyond their front door. I’m ready for peace so that families don’t have to seek safe places. They can live in peace at home, their home. I’m ready for peace so that all people can have a readily available meal and a bed to go home to each night. I’m ready for violence to end and life to live on. I’m ready for peace. I’m ready for shalom. I’m ready for salvation. I think we all are.

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Cheerful? Or Courageous?

God has faith in us. God has faith in you. Of course, God does. God is the one who made you, after all, and to quote one of my favorite seminary professors, “God never once made junk.” Of course, God has faith in you, faith enough to send his son Jesus Christ, who will be brought down just like the temple he speaks of in today’s reading, in order that he might rise up again, in order that we might rise up with him. In us, God has been sowing seeds of resurrection and redemption from the very beginning. That is the way God made us to be. So, let courage be our harvest. God has done the hardest work; our job now is to trust it. So, let us be properly-inclined and already-persuaded. God loves a courageous giver. And God loves you. Doesn’t that make you feel…almost…cheerful?

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Sowing and Reaping

Friends, it is indeed Stewardship season here at MAPC. And, we do indeed need your financial contributions. But, more than that, Jesus needs your life. Your whole life. Because, here’s the thing. I can’t tell you how much money to give. Because only you know what you have and what you need. For now, all I can tell you is this: give Jesus your life, your whole life, and everything else will follow.

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For All the Saints

When ancient listeners would hear the story of Naomi, and hear that Ruth clings to her, they would immediately hear God’s voice saying, “It is not good for a human to be alone.” At its deepest core, the creation story does not lift marriage up above all other forms of relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth. What it does is remind us that from the very beginning, God intended for us—God designed us!—to belong to one another. Creation is not complete until we are together. When we forget that, then everything goes to pieces. Rev. Tom Currie, a remarkable theologian and a retired Dean of Union Presbyterian Seminary, says, “Our greatest heresy is thinking that we could, by separating ourselves from one another, be better off, or be more faithful, or more unified.”

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James and John: No Cheap Pity

We seek glory, certain that we can pay for it with our own blood, sweat, and tears, certain that we deserve it. But we can never deserve it. Jesus is the only one, the representative, the true human, the true God, the one who gave us life and gave his life for us, the one who was born to us so that we could be born of his Spirit. The places on either side of Jesus in his glory went to the criminals on the crosses. Jesus’ glory is in his saving love, poured out for us on the cross. Since Jesus Christ experienced our pain, he is worthy of our trust. And like James and John, we are baptized with his baptism and drink the cup of his blood. These are proclamations and participations in the death and resurrection of Christ our Lord, who has loved us so abundantly that we can be part of his body, we can put our faith and trust in his love, we can put our hope in his saving death and our joy in the promise of resurrection.

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