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Lent 2016 Sermons ” Bread of Life”

Sermon   March 20, 2016   “ Broken Bread”  By Rev. June Fothergill For many years, I have found ways to simply tell this story of Jesus journey to the cross on Palm Passion Sunday.  It seemed too big a story for a simple sermon. It still does.     I remember that many years ago I decided to follow Jesus.   To follow Jesus,  I need to look at the cross and what is means for my life.    I think that there are many meanings of the cross of Jesus.   Today I invite you to imagine with me joining those followers of Jesus standing at a distance in Luke’s account.    Many of them were woman who had given of their resources to make sure Jesus and company were fed and clothed.  They had followed Jesus from Galilee full of hope and promise.   They had been swept up with the preaching and healing that showed them a glimpse of God’s kingdom here on earth.   Jesus had loved and healed and walked with them.  They had helped to plan the big procession to welcome him to Jerusalem. They had also helped to prepare that last supper with the inner core of followers.  Perhaps they even baked the bread.   I imagine they heard the discussion around the table about service and about  getting some swords.  Maybe,  they had wondered if Jesus would have his disciples use those swords  to fight the temple guards, to maybe start an insurrection that would bring the promised kingdom?    But instead of making battle plans Jesus had gone to the Mt of Olives to pray, to seek once again God’s way.    So, when the temple guard came in the night to arrest him, Jesus said to put away the swords.  And even reached out once more to heal the servant’s ear! I notice that after his time of prayer, Jesus decided that God’s way in this situation of high tension and danger was a way of peace, not the sword.   He would not lead an insurrection that would bring more pain and suffering on his people!  As he warns the women who weep for him,  more suffering will come to you!    The writer of Luke knows that in 70 a.d. the  Roman armies came in and not only put down an insurrection but destroyed the city and the temple!    Jesus was showing us that God has another way!    A way of living true to ones core values of peace and love in the midst of the death dealing powers of this world.  It was a way that Jesus walked before us and for us.  It is a way Jesus invites us to continue to walk. 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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