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Jesus in Nazareth Sermons

Sermon   January 31 , 2016    Luke 4: 16-30    Jesus in Nazareth  by Rev. June Fothergill I think of the poignant words of Rodney King caught in the chaos of a riot in LA.  “Why can’t we just all get along?”    Whenever I see people in conflict, especially on the edge of violence, my heart cries out the same thing.  I look to Jesus to be a source of peace and calm in the storms of life.    Yet, I remember one time during a bible study of the gospel of Luke, it hit me- Jesus engaged in conflict all the time!   He never resorted to violence other than disrupting the temple market place but conflict was a regular part of his life.   What this taught me is that as his disciple, I need to learn to deal better with conflict and resistance.   This touches my deep need to be accepted and liked.   I realize that sometimes following Jesus faithfully can mean putting that need at risk.  Today’s story shows Jesus experiencing the pain of rejection by his own home town folks.   In fact Jesus himself told his disciples- take up your cross and follow me.   Being faithful to Jesus and his way can be risky! Luke’s version of Jesus first experience of rejection in his hometown gives us a story for our reflection.   The first part of the story we looked at last week.  Jesus has presented a challenging vision- a mission to bring justice and freedom from blindness and oppression, to bring the day of jubilee.   He tells the people that they can participate in this vision as it is fulfilled in their hearing. AS the story continues in today’s reading, at first the people in the synagogue were impressed with this native son and all he has done and said.  Then someone reminded everyone.  “Is this not Joseph’s son.”   This statement seems to be a turning point in the story.  The trouble or the intriguing thing is that we don’t know how it was said.   Did they say it with skepticism like how could Joseph’s son be this great preacher or with enthusiasm-hey it’s Joseph’s son and maybe he’ll set up Nazareth as his center of operations.     We don’t know.   Perhaps it was a little of both. Reminding everyone that Jesus is Joseph’s son reminds them that Jesus is one of them, so maybe not so special but also, maybe his fame and gifts could help out the hometown.   In those days someone with healing gifts like Jesus would set up shop somewhere and people would come to him for healing and teachings.  If Jesus did this in Nazareth, surely it would be...

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Lay Leader Sermon- Santa Claus and the Wise Men

SANTA CLAUS AND THE WISE MEN by Bob Beck  December 27, 2015 I stand before you dressed as Santa Claus – what does that really have to do with CHRIST-mass?  Well, today I will give you my poor opinion…. Pray DISCLAIMER – I am not trained as a pastor.  I have not been to any seminary or other liturgical training, so I will speak from my own study and what I believe.  I have heard that a proper sermon must have three points – I started out with three points but over the past few weeks a fourth on has wormed it’s way in, so please bear with me.   Joke              I am following June’s practice of offering a joke from the choir.   ANY SOUTHERNERS HERE TODAY? For you southerners I apologize for my joke.  I have spent some time stationed in the south, so have heard Southern-speak.   In Southern-speak some words don’t sound like we think they should – oil sounds like all (I need some all for my car) fire sounds like far.   I want you to remember that… In a small southern town there was a Nativity Scene showing that great skill and talent had gone into creating it. But one small feature seemed out of place. The wise men were each wearing a firemen’s helmet. Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left. At a Quikie Mart on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the fireman’s helmets. She exploded with laughter yelling at me, “Ain’t you never read the Bible?” I assured her that I had read much of it, but simply couldn’t recall anything about firemen in the birth of Christ. She then replied, “them wise men came from afar.” As an aside, it’s not from the book of Mathew, it is from the song “We Three Kings.” OK, The wise men (or Magi) and Santa Claus “Who were the magi?” One of the most compelling answers, recently translated into English by Brent Landau, professor of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma, is the so-called Revelation of the Magi, an apocryphal account of the traditional Christmas story that purports to have been written by the magi themselves. The account is preserved in an eighth-century C.E. Syriac manuscript held in the Vatican Library, although Brent Landau believes the earliest versions of the text may have been written as early as the mid-second century, less than a hundred years after Matthew’s gospel was composed. Written in the first person, the Revelation of the Magi narrates the mystical origins of the magi, their miraculous encounter with the luminous star and their...

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