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Easter Sermons

Sermon  April 5, 2015   Easter Sunrise  Mark 16: 1-8      Will We Live in Terror or in Life Giving Witness? Or  What does Easter Mean for Us?  By June Fothergill I understand the terror of the women.  Who wouldn’t be frightened at such strange and mysterious goings on?  We understand that feeling- when we get the call in the night and something terrible has happen to someone we love.  When we walk into the darkness and a not sure where to go. When we are asked to do something new that we are afraid we are ill equipped to do.  Julia Esquivel has a poem called “ Threatened with Resurrection”.   I have often wondered about  the title.  Can Resurrection be threatening?  Certainly, for it meant nothing would ever be the same again for those women,  and for us? Like the women in Mark’s story, I don’t understand the mystery of the empty tomb and the resurrection.  I don’t understand it in the same way I understand when I see seeds that I plant in the earth grow into plants  Or that  measurements show the atmosphere of our planet is getting warmer.  Yet,  I trust the reports of my ancestors in faith that somehow, they experienced Jesus till among them.   Although the women left in fear and didn’t tell anyone, somehow Mark’s gospel was written. Someone let go of their fear, found their courage and told the story.  I  wonder, in my own life, how do I let fear keep me from the witness to life and love God has given me? I don’t understand the mystery of the empty tomb and the resurrection but I do know in my heart that Jesus is not dead.  His Spirit of love and compassion, of justice and peacemaking, of gracious forgiveness and healing is still with us.   I have never seen him as a bodily vision but I have experienced his word, his warmth, his forgiveness, his healing, his guidance in my life.    I trust and know that his is a living Savior. I decided once to become a Hindu because I was curious about the inner sanctum of a famous Hindu temple in Madurai India.  They said that I had to be a Hindu to enter and so I asked what I needed to do to become a Hindu. It was  extremely easy. So I became a Hindu  and entered the temple with my offering basket.  Later on as I reflected upon that experience I realized that I was not  Hindu.  The ritual I had performed meant nothing to me.  I remembered then my baptism. I remembered Jesus and what he meant to me.  I...

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Palm Passion Sunday Sermon

Sermon  March 29, 2015  Palm/ Passion Sunday Mark 15: 25-39 Sermon:  Emptying Ones Self Only to be Filled with God  by Rev. June Fothergill We sit in astounded awe as Jesus completely empties himself on the cross. He has no status, no friends,  even it seems, no faith- Why O God have your forsaken me. He cries out and then he has no breath.  His life is poured out. Yet, in the face of this despair the man who looked straight at him, who saw him A gentile, a soldier, a stranger said in wonder “ Surely this is the Son of God.” The moment of complete emptying was a holy moment. The moment of deepest despair was a sacred time. The temple curtain was torn in two- something new was happening. God had entered our world in a new way. Hung with the deepest, most anguished human experience And tore it open- Created a channel for love/ unconditional/ gracefilled love to flow. There is a story, I think it is from China, an ancient tale, that I have adapted to help me understand this mystery of Jesus death, this strange and life giving way of emptying. Once there was a farmer who had a wonderful farm, fields of vegetables as far as one could see. In the center of the farm, near the river there was a large bamboo tree. Under that tree the farmer and his workers would rest and drink from the river in the shade of this wonderful tree.  The tree and the farmer were great friends and would converse together often.  The farmer loved the tree and the tree the farmer.  Then one day troubles came.   A drought scorched the earth and the river didn’t run as high and mighty. Then  a big storm came and knocked down the plants. It blew so hard that even the big bamboo with a cry of anquish, came crashing down.  After the story, the farmer ran to the great tree and knelt beside it.   He looked out over the devastation of the land, the wilted dry plants, the blown down stalks, the great bamboo, its branches twisted and its roots laid bare  and  his heart broke.  He cried for his ravaged land.  In his tears he realized that his heart and that of the bamboo were one.  He heard deep within the spirit of the bamboo whisper to him  “ Use me.”    The farmer looked up and realized that he could use the bamboo to bring water to his parched plants. He reverently split the big trunk and using its hollowed inside made a channel.  Placing one end in the river and...

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Easter Season Meditations

I invite you to enjoy these weekly meditations and also check out my Talk with Pastor post for reflections on Easter. I will be traveling to Chile in April and will be back for Mother’s Day.   Blessings, Pastor June Fothergill April 5 Mark 16:1–8 Alleluia! Christ is risen! But at the beginning of today’s Resurrection scripture, we meet Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome grieving the loss of their friend and teacher, and on their way to anoint Jesus’ body. They find an empty tomb and an angel who tells them Jesus has risen! Their lives are forever changed. What do we do with that life-altering news today? What is our role in the ongoing story of Jesus’ resurrection? This week, live out the Easter story by being a sign of new life for someone. Give an Easter basket to a homebound or elderly neighbour, offer a word or sign of hope to someone in despair, make a donation to a life-giving nonprofit organization, or invite someone to church. April 12 John 20:19–31 The story of Thomas is one we can probably all relate to – for how often do we want proof before we believe something? The important thing about Thomas’ story is that he doesn’t completely disengage from his faith. He wonders and questions, and then comes to believe after ecountering the resurrected Christ. Jesus says to the disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (verse 22), and as disciples today, we have the Holy Spirit with us as we share our wonderings and welcome them from others. This week, write down some of the wonderings or questions you have about faith. Share these with another person – maybe your pastor or a close friend of faith. April 19 Luke 24:36b–48 God’s presence among us can sometimes go unnoticed or even completely ignored. The disciples in this week’s focus scripture are “startled and terrified” and think they’ve seen a ghost, not the risen Christ. He shows them his wounds and asks for fish to eat. He is no longer a ghost, but their resurrected teacher and friend! In our everyday lives we are called to embrace this risen Christ and share God’s love with our communities. As Christ was transformed in the eyes of the disciples from ghost to friend, how are we called to transformation in our own lives? This week, at the end of each day, jot down the ways you’ve encountered God’s presence during the day. Say a quick prayer of thanksgiving for the many ways God reveals the hope and presence of the resurrected Christ to you in your daily life. April 26 John 10:11–18 In...

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