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Anniversary Sermon December 18 2016

Sermon   “Serving Christ in this Very Place” by Rev. June Fothergill   December 18, 2016 Isaiah 7 ,   2 Chronicles 6:1,2,18-21,40-42; 7:1-4 ; Hebrews 10: 19-25 The little Kingdom of Judah was in trouble, surrounded by enemies on all sides.  The Bible says ( vs. 7:2) his heart shook like the trees of the forest shake before the wind.”    The King Ahaz, had heard a word from God to ask for a sign. But he said, “ I will not ask, I will not put the Lord to the test.”  But the prophet Isaiah saw his fearful heart.  “  Come on. “ He said, “ God asked you  to seek a sign. Can’t you just trust God and look for one?  So look the Lord is giving you a sign.  The young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him  Immanuel- God with us.   For before this little one is weaned, this threat that so frightens you will be  gone. The sign God gave to the frightened king was a little baby-  someone to love and cherish, to care for with  curds and honey.  These were choice foods for a weaned child but hard to find in a city under siege.  God was telling King Ahaz that all would be well for this little child.   By the time the child was weaned, those who threatened Judah would be gone.    Centuries later, the first Christians, particularly the writer of Matthew’s gospel looked upon this promise of God in scripture and saw a parallel to what God was doing in Jesus and Mary.  God came to bring salvation through a little child- God with us.  A child needing our tender loving care.  Could it be that God continues to come to us as the vulnerable one who needs our love .   That opportunities for tender loving care still give our world hope in the midst of despair, pain and fear? The other night at the Egan Warming Center, I met a young woman who was frightened and cold.  It was her first time in such a place.  She didn’t want to talk with anyone.   I invited her to sit with me and introduced her to a couple of my friends also staying at the Center.    They reached out to her with gentle TLC and humor.  Before I left that night she was talking some with me.  Tonight the Egan Warming Center will open once again.  Folks  from all over the valley will come to show tender, loving care for the most vulnerable in our midst on a cold night.  Soon it will be our turn to host the Center, already several of...

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Advent Sermons 2016

Advent 4    “Serving Christ in this Very Place” by Rev. June Fothergill   December 18, 2016 Isaiah 7 ,   2 Chronicles 6:1,2,18-21,40-42; 7:1-4 Hebrews 10: 19-25 The little Kingdom of Judah was in trouble, surrounded by enemies on all sides.  The Bible says ( vs. 7:2) his heart shook like the trees of the forest shake before the wind.”    The King Ahaz, had heard a word from God to ask for a sign. But he said, “ I will not ask, I will not put the Lord to the test.”  But the prophet Isaiah saw his fearful heart.  “  Come on. “ He said, “ God asked you  to seek a sign. Can’t you just trust God and look for one?  So look the Lord is giving you a sign.  The young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him  Immanuel- God with us.   For before this little one is weaned, this threat that so frightens you will be  gone. The sign God gave to the frightened king was a little baby-  someone to love and cherish, to care for with  curds and honey.  These were choice foods for a weaned child but hard to find in a city under siege.  God was telling King Ahaz that all would be well for this little child.   By the time the child was weaned, those who threatened Judah would be gone.    Centuries later, the first Christians, particularly the writer of Matthew’s gospel looked upon this promise of God in scripture and saw a parallel to what God was doing in Jesus and Mary.  God came to bring salvation through a little child- God with us.  A child needing our tender loving care.  Could it be that God continues to come to us as the vulnerable one who needs our love .   That opportunities for tender loving care still give our world hope in the midst of despair, pain and fear? The other night at the Egan Warming Center, I met a young woman who was frightened and cold.  It was her first time in such a place.  She didn’t want to talk with anyone.   I invited her to sit with me and introduced her to a couple of my friends also staying at the Center.    They reached out to her with gentle TLC and humor.  Before I left that night she was talking some with me.  Tonight the Egan Warming Center will open once again.  Folks  from all over the valley will come to show tender, loving care for the most vulnerable in our midst on a cold night.  Soon it will be our turn to host the Center, already several...

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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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AAA’s of Loving Advent Sermon Dec. 20, 2015

Sermon    December 20, 2015 Messengers of Love   By Rev. June Fothergill   scripture: Luke 1: 39-55   I heard the jingle for AAA memberships on the radio the other day. Their tag line is Give a member ship to AAA- give peace of mind, give life.   When Mary went to see Elizabeth she risked such a long journey alone because she was looking for the support that would save her life.  After hearing such a strange, wonderful and dangerous word from the angel that she would have God’s baby, she needed the love that that the angel’s word had pointed her toward- “and your kinswoman, Elizabeth who was barren is also with child.”   Mary and Elizabeth’s experience together show us AAA’s of what it means to love one another.  NO it’s not about cars and roadside assistance.  It’s about affection, affirmation and advocacy. 1. Affection When Mary arrived at her door, and surely she couldn’t have phoned ahead in those days, they greet each other and it is clear that Elizabeth will provide hospitality to Mary. In fact she stays with them for 6 months Luke tells us.     We imagine that they greeted each other with the usual affection of two kinswomen. But for Elizabeth there is more. The Spirit of God moved in her to see Mary not just as a kinswoman but as blessed. Showing affection for someone is one of the ways we show them our love or positive regard. Different cultures show affection in different ways, but many include some form of safe touch that says- I care about you.  Showing affection is harder for some people than others but it is a choice we can all make in our interactions with others.  I remember my Daddy was not a very demonstrative person.  He would say nice things to us but he rarely would hug when we were little. But he had three daughters and as we grew up we went to camp and youth group and got other ideas about giving affection. We discovered hugs or as we called them then “warm fuzzies.”   So my father was bit by bit converted by his daughters to become a hugger- a giver of warm fuzzies.   As you may imagine we delighted in this transformation. Affection in the case of Mary and Elizabeth also had a deeper, more risky aspect, being willing to provide hospitality.  It was a norm of that society that giving hospitality to others was a high value.  Yet, it had its risks.  Mary was unexpectedly and mysteriously pregnant- could that possible shame reflect on her hosts?   We know that in other Biblical stories like that of Rahab the brave...

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Advent Sermons 2015

Sermon    December 20, 2015 Messengers of Love   By Rev. June Fothergill   scripture: Luke 1: 39-55 I heard the jingle for AAA memberships on the radio the other day. Their tag line is Give a member ship to AAA- give peace of mind, give life.   When Mary went to see Elizabeth she risked such a long journey alone because she was looking for the support that would save her life.  After hearing such a strange, wonderful and dangerous word from the angel that she would have God’s baby, she needed the love that that the angel’s word had pointed her toward- “and your kinswoman, Elizabeth who was barren is also with child.”   Mary and Elizabeth’s experience together show us AAA’s of what it means to love one another.  NO it’s not about cars and roadside assistance.  It’s about affection, affirmation and advocacy. 1. Affection When Mary arrived at her door, and surely she couldn’t have phoned ahead in those days, they greet each other and it is clear that Elizabeth will provide hospitality to Mary. In fact she stays with them for 6 months Luke tells us.     We imagine that they greeted each other with the usual affection of two kinswomen. But for Elizabeth there is more. The Spirit of God moved in her to see Mary not just as a kinswoman but as blessed. Showing affection for someone is one of the ways we show them our love or positive regard. Different cultures show affection in different ways, but many include some form of safe touch that says- I care about you.  Showing affection is harder for some people than others but it is a choice we can all make in our interactions with others.  I remember my Daddy was not a very demonstrative person.  He would say nice things to us but he rarely would hug when we were little. But he had three daughters and as we grew up we went to camp and youth group and got other ideas about giving affection. We discovered hugs or as we called them then “warm fuzzies.”   So my father was bit by bit converted by his daughters to become a hugger- a giver of warm fuzzies.   As you may imagine we delighted in this transformation. Affection in the case of Mary and Elizabeth also had a deeper, more risky aspect, being willing to provide hospitality.  It was a norm of that society that giving hospitality to others was a high value.  Yet, it had its risks.  Mary was unexpectedly and mysteriously pregnant- could that possible shame reflect on her hosts?   We know that in other Biblical stories like that of Rahab the brave woman...

Read More
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