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sermon Lent 1 Feb. 22, 2015

Sermon    February 22, 2015 “River of Life” Mark 1: 9-15 by Rev. June Fothergill Have you had a wilderness time in your life?  Have you found God in that wilderness?   Not too long ago I went through a severe personal and professional trial.     I felt confused, hurt, guilty, frightened and very, very sad.  I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to me.  So I went to the river to pray.  The river was near my home and I had made a habit of going there to pray and explore but during that period, how I needed the river!  It was where I could express all my emotions without anyone to judge. It was where I could plead and lament and be quiet before God.  Its flow reminded me of a greater flow of life and love than my small self and that I was loved and part of something bigger than myself.  The river was my holy place to come to grips with my sin and my belovedness, my need to forgive and be forgiven.   It was my wilderness. I find it moving that Jesus was driven by the Spirit – the very spirit that had just said- “you are my beloved” into the wilderness.   There Mark tells us cryptically- he was tempted by Satan.  Mark doesn’t tell us the specifics – which Luke and Matthew fill in with their later additions to the story.  No Mark leaves it open for each of us to imagine that wilderness struggle.  To go there ourselves.  And to know that whatever our wilderness temptations- Jesus knows. Jesus went through it too.  Mark invites us to be with Jesus in the wilderness and to know Jesus is with us in our wilderness times. What happens in the wilderness and what can be the outcomes? 1. Temptations When Mark speaks of temptations in the wilderness, no doubt his first hearers would have thought of the wanderings and temptations of the Hebrew people in the wilderness after their release from slavery. They struggled to truly trust God. They complained and set up an idol, they worried and horded.  Yet, through it all, God kept covenant with them, did not leave them. When I was driven at the river to deal with my internal wilderness,  I wrestled with temptations to retaliate, for I felt attacked, to lie and defend myself, or even to give up. Some of the tears that flowed were of self pity and anger.  Yet, that time gave me a chance to look deep for what I really valued and how I wanted to act not based upon my temptations and fears but my faith. In the...

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Lent Scriptures

Lent is the six weeks before Easter.  Our theme for Lent this year is Bridges and Rivers of Compassion This Lent, we look to God’s creation to help us find our way on our spiritual journey.  We seek God’s presence to help us grow in compassion.  God’s spirit is the flowing waters of the river of life touching us all.  Bridges allow us to connect with compassion to folks on all sides of the river. This Lent as we connect with scripture and with God’s creation, may we find ways to also connect with others in new and compassionate ways. February 22    Genesis 9: 8-17  Noah Psalm 25: 1-10 1 Peter 3: 18-22 Mark 1: 9-15 March 1  Genesis 17:1-7;15-16  covenant with Abraham Psalm 22: 23-31 Romans 4: 13-25 Mark 8: 31-38 Peter’s confession/ discipleship  March 8 Exodus 20: 1-17  ten commandments Psalm 19 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25 John 2: 13-22  Jesus cleansing temple  March 15 Numbers 21:4-9  bronze serpent/ healing Psalm 107: 1-3,17-22  healing of God Ephesians 2: 1-10 John 3: 14-21   God so loved world/ like Moses ( above) March 22 Jeremiah 31: 31-34 Psalm 51: 1-12 or Psalm 119: 9-16 Hebrews 5: 5-10 March 29   Palm/ Passion Sunday Mark 11: 1-11 Palms Mark 14:1-15:47 Psalm 31: 9-16 Holy Week Maundy Thursday Meal and Ceremony  6:00 p.m. Good Friday prayer vigil  7 p.m- 3:00 p.m. Done a home April 5   Easter John 20: 1-18 Psalm 118:1-2,14-24 Acts 10:...

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Sermon 2-1-2015

Sermon Feb. 1, 2015    Mark 1: 21-28     “Freedom from Jesus” by June Fothergill A couple weeks ago I shared with you a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon in which the little six year old Calvin declares,” Happiness is not enough for me, I demand euphoria!”   What a vision he had for himself!   But then Bill Watterson adds another cartoon, Calvin is smiling and says, “ Here I am happy and content.”   His smile fades, “but not euphoric” the worry lines grow, “So now I’m no longer content. I’m unhappy, my day is ruined.”  He walks away, “I need to stop thinking while I’m ahead.” That’s the trouble with dreams, visions and expectations.  They can make us discontented, uncomfortable.  If my dream is for all the children in the world to have housing, food and a good education- I am sad to hear that many children in Oregon are food insecure.   If I have dreams for my kids, I worry when they don’t come home as planned.    I may want my church to grow but then it can be scary when things change because of lots on new people.      Dreams and visions are exciting and energizing and they can be scary too. Jesus has just come into his home territory of Galilee with an amazing message- the Kingdom of God is drawing near!   He asks some fishermen to follow him and they do. Then they go to the main synagogue or Jewish church and Jesus begins to teach the people there. Imagine being in that crowd of worshippers that day!   This humble man, virtually unknown until now, is sharing about God’s word in a way that is filled with insight and confidence.  Jesus teaches with an authority that amazes all there. The scribes are surprised and concerned, They are the ones who normally teach the people. They can read and have been trained to interpret the biblical text but this man is different, his words seem to come from a light shining inside.   Everyone wonders- What is this? What’s happening here? Then a man stands up and disrupts the whole meeting by yelling out, agitated and fearful- “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”   The man starts to approach Jesus, the people draw back and the younger men of the synagogue begin to rise to throw out this disruptive fellow. Then Jesus looks at the man says in rebuke- “Be silent. And come out of him!” The man convulses and cries out as some strange presence comes out of him.   Then the crowd in the synagogue really...

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Sermon 2-8-2015

Sermon- “ The Healing Ministry of Christ”  by  Rev. June Fothergill Mark 1: 29-39 A very dignified pastor was visiting a lady in a nursing home who was confined to a wheel chair.  As he stood to leave, the lady asked him to have a word of prayer. He gently took her hand and prayed that God would be with her to bring comfort strength and healing. When he finished praying her face began to glow. She said softly, “Pastor would you help me to my feet?”  Not knowing what else to do he helped her up.  At first she took a few uncertain steps. Then she began to jump up and down, and then to dance and shout and cry with happiness until the whole nursing home was aroused. After she was quieted, the solemn pastor hurried out to his car, closed the door, grabbed hold of the steering wheel   and prayed this little prayer, “Lord don’t you ever do that to me again!”  (p. 31 An Encyclopedia of Humor) I laugh because I know sometimes God works in unexpected way with unexpected people.   Healing is one of those areas of ministry.  Especially today we often don’t expect prayer to have quite such quick and dramatic results!  Yet, why not? Certainly, Jesus is a healer.  There is no doubt about it for anyone who reads the gospel accounts. Providing healing to those with illnesses and problems that kept them from a full life was one way he embodied the kingdom of God.  He also empowered his followers to heal others too and they continued to do so after his death and resurrection.   The ministry of healing thus is an important part of our Christian witness. We have done it down through the ages by opening hospitals and clinics, working to eradicate diseases like malaria and praying for one another and offering anointing with oil.  If someone is in the hospital, we like to know so we can visit and pray with that person.  We like to offer condolences and help in times of grief and loss.  We send cards and pray for those with health issues.   And today we will offer a time for folks to come forward to receive or offer prayers and anointing for healing. We do this because we want to continue Jesus ministry of healing to a hurting world.  We do it trusting that Christ’s Holy Spirit will move through our humble acts of caring and prayer to bring healing and hope to people.   We realize that healing is a gift of God’s spirit not our own doing. Yet, even so there is a mystery to God’s healing that...

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Talk with Pastor

      June 8, 2015 The picture above was taken in  Valpariaso, Chile.  It is of my husband Jim and a beautiful rose we received from a lady in one of the neighborhoods.  This neighborhood is located on a hillside and several years ago the city established an outdoor museum there. They invited several mural artists to paint murals on the walls and stairways of the hillside.  It was great fun to walk around the neighborhood and discover all the murals. Yet, at one point we got a little lost and wondered which direction to go.   This woman was cutting roses in her garden and stopped to talk with us about her garden and the neighborhood.  She told us how the murals had improved her neighborhood and gave us the directions we sought. Then she handed us one of her huge beautiful roses!   I will never forget her for her gesture of generosity to stranger.  We carried it around all day enjoying it’s  fragrance and passed it on to another person.     April 1, 2015 I have been thinking about learning curves.  I just obtained a smart phone and I ‘m afraid    that it’s smarter than me.  It is a learning curve, to figure out how to use it and what it can do.  I  find that learning curves can give me anxiety.  I fear that I won’t be able to learn as much as I  need to as quickly as I need to.  Yet, learning curves are also exciting.  It is fun to master a new  skill ( downloading a picture) or  figuring out something new.   So, when I am patient, I can enjoy the learning and let go of some of the anxiety.  Is our faith the same?  Certainly there was a learning curve for the disciples about the resurrection of Jesus.  They were witnesses to it, but it took them some time to really understand what it meant.  In fact, we who are disciples today are still learning.  The disciples were troubles, confused and afraid when they saw the empty tomb. They were astounded when they saw Jesus alive.  They needed reassurance, they needed time to process, they needed the gentle,powerful work of God’s  Spirit to learn.   So I invite you to take time with the stories of Easter.   Be patient and let the reality of risen Jesus life in your life emerge.   March 12, 2015 I just returned from a walk by the river in the sunshine.  I saw a friend who lives outside and we discussed the current problems in our country between police and some parts of the communities...

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