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July 2020 Sermons

Sermon July 19 2020  by Rev. June Fothergill Scriptures: Genesis 28: 10-19a; Matthew 13:24-30      A city family was looking forward to a renting a summer home in the mountains and was corresponding with a property owner who had a house to rent. “Before we agree,” the woman wrote, “you must assure us the house has a good view.”   The reply came back, “From the porch you can see Johnson’s service station and Peter’s farm but other than that there’s not much to look at except mountains and lakes.”  (p. 391-2An Encyclopedia of Humor ed. Lowell D. Streiker)    When I was a little girl- I mean truly little before I got tall- I was thrilled to be the acolyte at the little church my father served in Jerome Idaho. I remember standing in the back of the sanctuary and looking at the big beautiful rose window at the end of the aisle and how long that aisle was!  Many years later as an adult I went back to visit that church after all those years.  And how tiny that sanctuary was!!     It is something how a shift in perspective changes how we see a place!      Have you ever had the feeling of being in limbo- in a no where place?  It happens to me most when I am on a journey to somewhere and I’m stuck in an airport, not home but not yet at my destination.  I remember one time when I travelled with a group of college students in India.  We were stuck in an airport on our way to Katmandu.  But we couldn’t leave because one of our group had not yet received after a couple months of trying the visa they would need to return to India with us after our trek in Nepal.  The airport was small and hot with few travelers besides us.  In fact, we would fill the plane.  One of those dull, limbo moments but in this case also filled with fear for our friend.    Our story from Genesis today starts out in such a no where place.  Jacob is fleeing the wrath of his brother Esau because he has tricked his father Isaac into giving to him, Jacob the blessings of the father for the first born. Jacob is the second born of the twins.  He has tricked his father and enraged is brother who cannot now receive his father’s blessing.  Now he is a fugitive, banished and threatened.  And there in the middle of no where he lays down to rest.  We can imagine his feelings.    Like Jacob in our story today, I think that many of us can think...

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June 2020 Sermons

Sermon June 7, 2020    “  A New Lens”    by Rev. June Fothergill Scriptures:  Genesis 1:1-2:4a, Matt. 28: 16-20    I celebrate zoom worship today!  I really like the cartoon of the woman in her pj’s and slippers walking down the aisle at a worship service.   It is good to laugh at ourselves, is it not? Like only last week I forgot what day it was- oh the confusion I can sow!   Yet this past couple weeks has also had its tough times. Besides the restrictions of dealing with a pandemic, we saw another killing of an African American man George Floyd by police and the protests and anger that ensued.  Today I want to talk with you about seeking a new lens for our ministries.   What do I mean by a lens?  Well, a lens is that we use to see our world and what we see guides our decisions.   I want to share a couple examples.     You may have noticed the quilt hanging behind me these past few weeks.  It is a quilt that my son Joe received when he worked at Suttle Lake UMC camp.  When I was a youth church camp gave me and many of my generation a new lens on the meaning of church.  At camp we had a new experience of Christian community that we didn’t get at home church or school.  This experience gave me a deep sense of belonging and an experience of truly being made in the image of God.   I and many others received a new lens for what church could be.     Another example for me is the experience of zoom worship.  I started out thinking that the lens of my computer screen was adequate.   Finally, I have realized that what I see on my screen is not nescessarily what others experience.    I have now a new zoom lens! ( tee hee)      This idea of changing lenses is one that we see many times in scripture.  In fact the Genesis poem of creation we read today is one of those times.         For the people of Israel this poem of creation gave them a new lens on the meaning of their lives and faith.  It connected them with all of the creation as a good work of God the Creator.  It told them that they – both male and female-were made in the image of God the creator and God saw and proclaimed that this was good!     This lens opened the door to new more equal relationships between men and women.  It provided a way to celebrate the connection between themselves and the rest of creation.  It was a poem that...

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May 3 Sermon Dealing with Fear

Dealing with Our Fear by Rev. June Fothergill   May 3,2020 Scripture: Psalm 23     I found a Doonesbury cartoon the other day that made me laugh.  A couple is talking to their little boy. The father says, “  Alex, honey Mom and I have been talking and we’ve decided it’s time for us to start attending church as a family.”    Alex replies, “ Church? Church is boring!”  “ Well.” His dad replies, “ we thought you might say that. All kids think that….”  Alex, “ Didn’t you think church was boring when you were a kid?”  “ Well, sure  I hated going but church was good for me so my parents made me stick it out.  You may end up hating church, too but you have to come by that feeling honestly. You have to put in the pew time, like Mom and I did. “   “ Oh “ replies Alex,” What if I like it?”    “ Like it?” The father reacts fearfully, “ What do you mean?” his dad exclaims and his Mom adds soothingly, “ We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, honey.”  ( Gary Trudeau)                                   Ah.  I suspect that most of us have fears about our best laid plans.  In fact these last couple months have been all about changes of plans. Staying at home, social distancing, being careful about the virus has lead to much anxiety even fear in our lives.   Our best laid plans are in disarray.  Even in the best of times, many of have a niggling fear of the future, but when the future is so unclear as it is now- we may experience anxiety and fear.  So  today, as I listened  the ringing words of Psalm 23 and to  the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, I decided to face the issue of fear.   In fact on one of my walks I came up with the memory aid, FACE-for this sermon. F- is for facing our fears.  I think that we don’t need to be afraid or ashamed of our fear. Fear is a natural human emotion we all experience.  So I encourage you to stop fretting about having fear. Rather face it.  It is simply a part of you.     When we face something, then we can find ways to deal with it.    I remember when I was pregnant for the first time.  I had fears about this new experience.  For me, taking some quiet time to face those fears and then imagining the resources and persons I had in my life to deal with them helped me to relax and enjoy that special time.   There are lots of  realities in...

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Easter Season Sermons 2020

Sermon April 26    It All Depends On Your Point of View Meditation by Jeffrey Gordon, MDiv Based on Luke 24:13-35             I don’t know about you, but this Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives order from our Governor has resulted in some inconveniences for many in our state, including myself and my family.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand that it is necessary to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus 19, and I support any order that is made to protect those people, especially those that I care for.   Still, this particular directive has raised havoc with my sense of time.  With the days getting longer, the weather being nice, and no set schedule to follow, both my wife and I have to check our watches to determine what the time is.  One day seems to run into another, so even remembering what day of the week it is becomes a challenge.  If you are having similar problems, let me help you a wee bit, at least for today: in the liturgical calendar, today is the second Sunday after Easter and the scripture from the Gospels is from chapter 24 of the Gospel of Luke, verses 13 through 35.  For many of us, the story contained in these verses is often referred to as the “Walk to Emmaus.”  It revolves around two men returning to their home(s) in Emmaus from Jerusalem and what happened to them on their journey.  But more about that later…             Raised as a Roman Catholic, the first time I heard this story was from the nuns who taught my catechism classes, and they made sure that I heard it several more times until I was able to read it for myself.  Many of you probably had similar experiences, first hearing it from your parents or in Sunday school class and, after learning how to read, you were able to read it yourself.  Having heard or read this passage many times during our lives, we should be very familiar with its story and what it implies (i.e., what it is supposed to mean), but how many of us have noticed that this story is found in only the Gospel of Luke?  Not only that, but it is the lead into the final story of Luke’s gospel – the story of Jesus’ appearing to his disciples for the last time and his ascension into heaven.  Thus this story must have held special significance to the author of the Gospel of Luke.  Let’s see if we can figure out what it might be.             One method that we can use to get a hint of what a story in one...

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Easter 2020

Easter Sermon  April 12, 2020 Scripture:  Matthew 28: 1-12  “ The Risen Christ on the Go.” One Sunday late in Lent a Sunday School teacher decided to ask her class what they knew about Easter.  The first little fellow suggested, “ Easter is when all the family comes to the house and we eat a big turkey and watch football,”  The teacher suggest that perhaps he was thinking of Thanksgiving.  Next a little girl answered, “ Easter is the day when you come down stairs in the morning and you see all the beautiful presents under the tree,”  A this point the teacher is really feeling discouraged. After explaining that the girl was probably thinking about Christmas, she called on a lad with his hand tentatively raised in the air.  Her spirits perked up as the boy said “ Easter is the time when Jesus was crucified and buried.” She felt she had gotten through to at least one child until he added, “ And then He comes out of the grave and if he sees his shadow we have six more weeks of winter.” ( p. 65  An Encyclopedia of Humor ed. Lowell D. Streiker)   Not too long ago we had a family event called , “ Easter beyond the Bunny”    We had a good time doing a puppet show, playing outside with a parachute and doing an egg hunt in the sanctuary and retelling the whole story with the  contents of the eggs.   Did the children get it, did they understand what Easter was all about?  Actually do you and I?  We know the story  or stories.  We may even have a couple of the songs almost by heart. But each year we learn anew the meaning of those stories and songs.          I invite us today to delve in to one of the stories of Easter told by the writer of Matthew.        In Matthew’s gospel the tomb of Jesus is opened with great fanfare- an earthquake, an amazing angel with an appearance like lightning, and terrified guards.  Whew.  But the women who had come to the tomb were unfazed. The angel told them not to fear.  Then they received the message which would change their lives.  The resurrection message to these woman was that the risen Jesus was going before them to  Galilee. It was there that the disciples would see him.       It makes me wonder, why have them return to  Galilee?   It was not so easy a journey as today.  It would take time and resources.  Couldn’t they like the women who went to the tomb have an experience of the  Risen Christ’s presence...

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