Posts Tagged "Epiphany Season"

Sermon January 22: Known By Any Other Name?

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon January 22: Known By Any Other Name? Faith United Methodist Church January 22, 2017 Second Sunday after Epiphany Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture:  John 1:29-42, Isaiah 49:1-7 Prayer of Illumination: Guide us, O God, by your word and your spirit, that in your light we may see light.   May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our Lord and our Redeemer. Amen. Sermon:                                           Known By Any Other Name? There are several different names being tossed about in our Scripture lessons today. In the Gospel we hear several different identifiers for Jesus – Lamb of God, Son of God, Rabbi, Messiah.   We also witness Jesus changing the name of Simon to Cephas, which means rock and is translated Peter.   In Isaiah’s prophecy we are reminded that God calls us before we are born, knows our name while we are still in our mother’s womb. Names held a different significance for people of the ancient world than they do for us today. How many times in the Bible do we learn that an individual is named for a particular circumstance or role in their life? Isaac, which means laughter, was named so because his mother Sarah laughed at the idea that she, at 90 years old, would have a son. The prophet Hosea named his children Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi (which mean bloodshed, no compassion and not my people) because the people Israel had forsaken God. Jesus renamed Simon Peter because Peter would be the rock on which Jesus would build his church. And God gave Saul the name Paul after his conversion on the road to Damascus to signify his transformation from persecutor to follower. Names can have significant power. And our names are powerful, too. As scared or lonely child, remember the feeling of hearing your mother call your name. In weddings we claim the name of our beloved saying, “I take you, Gary, to be my wedded spouse.” At funerals we recall the name of the deceased, affirming that God knows their name. Over Thanksgiving I visited my grandmothers grave. She’s been gone nearly 12 years, but it was still powerful to see her name engraved in that stone: Harriet Eleanor Niles. And our identities are wrapped up in our names ~ past and present. Our worship series is exploring the question “Who Are You?”, but even the simple question of our name can sometimes get confusing.   When we fill out government forms, or even the background check forms we fill out here at church as volunteers in our children or visitation programs, we need to provide all the names we have every gone by.   Madien names. Former names. Aliases. And more and more these days men are changing their names as well as women. I have several clergy friends who, at their marriage, took a hyphenated name using both of their last names. Names are not necessarily static, but ever evolving. And this does not even take into account our nicknames. Every year I find at least one Christmas present under the tree for “Kris-Mouse.” So maybe it is not surprising that in our short passage from the Gospel of John we hear so many names for Jesus. This was still very early in Jesus ministry and people were trying to figure out who he was. He had just been baptized by John and was only beginning to move out into his more public role. He was the carpenter’s son from Nazareth. He was John the Baptizer’s cousin. But he was also something else…. Something more. Lamb of God? Son...

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Sermon February 1: Break Bread Together

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon February 1: Break Bread Together Faith United Methodist Church February 1, 2015 4th Sunday after Epiphany Rev. Krista Beth Atwood Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 Prayer of Illumination: It is true that God has given us the church, a community of believers with whom to fellowship. It is true that God has given us the Word, to guide us and instruct us in our daily lives. Let us, as a community of faith, open our ears to the Word and hear what God may be speaking to us this day. In Jesus name, Amen. Sermon:  Break Bread Together   Last Friday night Gary and I got take-out from Chicken Charlie’s. Yum! We ordered on-line and it arrived piping hot. In fact, it exceeded our expectations. It had been a long, snowy, day and neither of us felt like cooking, so it was nice to be able to put in an order and have warm, delicious (and somewhat nutritious) food delivered right to our door. I recognize that delivery is not something that everyone can enjoy. When I was growing up in the woods in Maine, delivery was just a dream! Also, I recognize that we are in a privileged position to be able to enjoy such a treat on occasion. Our $25 Chicken Charlie’s dinner cost significantly more than anything we would have prepared at home. But it’s our business, right? What food we eat. What we do with our money. According to the Apostle Paul, though, this may not be the case. He makes the argument that everything we do needs to be considered in concern for the spiritual lives of others. As Bruce Ridgon put it in Feasting on the Word, “Freedom is slavery to Christ, so that in the Christian life we become responsible for one another.” What we eat, how we occupy our time, where we spend our money are all matters of spiritual significance. The specific case that Paul responded to was a situation that arose in the Corinthian community. In Corinth there were many forms of worship and many recognized deities. There were temples and shrines to many different gods. Also, in Corinth, there was a shortage of affordable meat to eat. One of the places that affordable meat could be found, though, was in the temples of pagan gods. The meat was sacrificed to whatever idol was worshipped in that particular temple and then sold to the public or served in fellowship meals open to the community. I can imagine the signs around town: Steak dinner Saturday, February 7th. Seatings at 5:00 and 6:00. $10 per person. The some of the Corinthians Christians were hungry for meat. They needed their protein. A quarter chicken dinner from Chicken Charlie’s would’ve probably sounded pretty good to them. Some of them had even participated in temple worship before they became Christians. They knew all about the delicious dinners they served. So they argued to each other and to Paul that since the gods these temples worshipped did not exist it was okay for them to eat the meat. On the surface Paul agreed with them. He wrote, “In strict logic, then, nothing happened to the meat when it was offered up to an idol. It’s just like any other meat. I know that, and you know that. But knowing isn’t everything.” But knowing isn’t everything. Paul was concerned about the spiritual welfare of all the Christians in Corinth, some of whom were new to the faith and had only recently left the pagan temples to live in a new way. Paul was not so concerned about who was right or...

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Sermon January 25: What Could Happen?

Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon January 25: What Could Happen? Faith United Methodist Church January 25, 2015 3rd Sunday after Epiphany Rev. Krista Beth Atwood Scripture: Mark 1:14-20, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 Prayer of Illumination: Eternal God, Creator of every living thing, create in us now clear heads and clean hearts as we reflect on your word. May the words that I speak and the thoughts that we form be acceptable in your sight. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen. Sermon:  What Could Happen? “Follow me.” Two simple words that sound pretty nice. Welcoming. Even invitational. If I said to you, “Follow me!” you’d probably think I knew where I was going and that I wanted you to come along. “Follow me” is a partnership. It’s not saying, “You go here” or “You do this” but “Join me,” “Be with me,” “Let’s do this together.” “Follow me” sounds like an enticement to an adventure. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” As followers of Christ we love this passage, don’t we? This is one of those treasured Scriptures that we remember from Sunday School lessons. Andrew and Peter, James and John throwing down their nets. They didn’t even hesitate. The invitation was too tempting. They left their old life behind and followed Jesus. We get the sense that they never even looked back. Jesus’ disciples were regular folk, much the same as us. Andrew and Peter, James and John had commitments and families and jobs. Did they really immediately leave their nets? Did they really take off leaving poor old Zebedee in the boat with the hired men? I can imagine Zebedee and his wife sitting at the dinner table later that night, scratching their heads, trying to understand it. Zebedee’s wife asking, “What do you mean they’re not coming home? Are you saying they won’t be home for supper?” And all for a rather vague promise from Jesus. “I will make you fish for people.” What does he mean? Fish for people? That doesn’t even make sense! Maybe it is the New England Puritan work ethic that was instilled in me, but part of me says that the disciples acted foolishly ~ even irresponsibly ~ by following Jesus without any assurance of the future. The consequences could be too great, the cost could be too high, the outcome might not be favorable. After all, who knows what could happen? But that’s it, isn’t it? That is the question that brings us up short as the Holy Spirit whispers in our ears, “Follow me.” Who knows what could happen? If we decide to become a members of Faith Church, who knows what could happen? We could be asked to read Scripture or serve on a Team. If we dedicate our lives to living as followers of Christ, who knows what could happen? We could be called to share our faith with our friends at work or serve at the local homeless shelter. We could be called to leave behind our old lives and live in a new way. Who knows what could happen? It’s scary isn’t it? Many of you have known me quite a while, and you know that I like order and schedules and predictability. I like my calendar and checking things off my ‘to-do’ lists. Sometimes I’m afraid that if Jesus approached me with those words of invitation, “Follow me,” I would get out my iPhone and say, “I’m sorry, but between 2:00 and 4:00 I have to work on my sermon, so I guess I don’t have time today.” All of us struggle with...

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