Posts Tagged "Summer Sermon"

Sermon August 27: How Much Is Too Much?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2017 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon August 27: How Much Is Too Much? Faith United Methodist Church August 27, 2017 Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture:  Luke 12:13-21   Prayer for Illumination: (Responsive) Seek first the things of God. We are created in God’s own image. Set your minds on things above. We are children of eternal life. Clothe yourselves in this newness of life. In Christ we have been born anew!   Sermon: How Much is Too Much? How much is too much?  That’s a good question.  Do you ever look around your homes, your basements, your garages, at all the possessions that you have accumulated over the years, and wonder, where did all this stuff come from?   When Gary and I were packing to move last year we wondered how we could possibly have acquired so much stuff.  It seems to me that belongings have a way of multiplying on their own, almost as if we have no power to control it.  Do you know what I mean?  One day your closet is neatly arranged and organized and the next day it is overflowing with so much stuff that you can’t find anything. It is a known fact that Americans have an abundance of things ~ more than any other country.  We could rattle off statistics to show how we compare with people in other parts of the world, but all you have to do is go to any mall or shopping center – Taft Corners would do – to see the masses of people whipping out their credit cards and toting their shopping bags.  Americans love to spend money and have nice things.  And in many ways we feel entitled to these things – like it’s somehow our birthright to have the newest car or the latest fashion.  But, as one comedian joked, “You can’t have everything.  Where would you put it?”  Well, in true American spirit we have storage unit facilities popping up all over the place.  We pay a monthly fee to store the stuff we can’t fit in our houses.  Yet we need turn no further than our Bibles to see that questions surrounding possessions are not new, and are surely not unique to Americans.  In the Gospel lesson we see Jesus teaching on the way to Jerusalem.  Suddenly a man from the crowd interrupted his teaching and called to Jesus, saying,  “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”  A classic case of sibling rivalry over Mom and Dad’s estate.  Apparently this man didn’t feel he was getting his fair share and thought Jesus could do something about it.  While Jesus may not have appreciated being pulled into a family squabble, he had just the parable to shed some light on the situation. There was a farmer, Jesus told the crowd, who had an abundant crop.  In fact, his land yielded so well that he didn’t have enough room to store his harvest.  This turned into quite a dilemma for the man (a good problem to have, some might say).  He felt that he needed to keep every bit of that crop.  So he pulled down his small barns and built larger ones that would accommodate all that he had.  Standing back and surveying all that he done, he said to himself, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”  Sounds pretty good to me.  So what’s wrong with that? we might ask.  The man did well and prepared himself for retirement.  It actually sounds like the American success story.   We might even clap the farmer on the back and congratulate him saying,...

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Sermon July 10: Living in God’s Mercy

Posted by on Jul 10, 2016 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon July 10: Living in God’s Mercy Faith United Methodist Church July 10, 2016 8th Sunday after Pentecost Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture:  Colossians 1:1-14, Luke 11:1-13 Prayer for Illumination: Living God, help us so to hear your holy word that we may truly understand; that, understanding, we may believe, and, believing, we may follow in faithfulness. Bless the words that I speak and the thoughts that we form to your glory, through Christ our Lord. Amen. Sermon:  Living in God’s Mercy Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. These are probably the most familiar words we hear in church on Sunday.   Well, that and, “We have a few announcements this morning…”   It wouldn’t be church without announcements and the Lord’s Prayer. Now, we know why the announcements are important, right? But why is the Lord’s Prayer so essential to our worship? Why do we pray it every single Sunday? Why has it become a staple of our service? And why does it not feel like church without it? Early in my first year in my first church the District Superintendent came to our worship service. Now, I probably don’t have to tell you that I was more than a little bit intimidated. Somehow, in my nervousness, and without even noticing, I skipped over a portion of the liturgy. Everyone was very kind, including the District Superintendent… so much so that I didn’t even realize what I had done until a very sweet woman came through the line, shook my hand, and said, “That was all fine, but you forgot the Lord’s Prayer.” Maybe I can take solace in the fact that some theologians think that, as Christians, we have misconstrued the intent of Jesus’ prayer, reciting it word for word instead of understanding it as a model for all our prayers. Pray in this way….. It is interesting that in our Scripture lesson the disciples asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray,” not “Teach us a prayer.” It’s as if the disciples notice how Jesus lives his life and see that Jesus is praying all the time and decide that it must be pretty important. They want to experience some of what Jesus is experiencing so they ask, “How do you do that… Teach us to pray.” And Jesus responds, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. On reason we may cite for reciting the Lord’s Prayer is comfort.   I found myself praying the Lord’s Prayer often this week, when it seemed that no other words would do.   Young men killed. Police officers gunned down. Hatred and racism and blame filling the airwaves. When nothing else helps the familiar words of Jesus, the familiar words from our childhood, can sustain us through the difficult times. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Yet if we really pay attention, the words of the Lord’s Prayer aren’t very comforting at all, are they? At least not in a conventional sense. We are to pray not for our own will, but for God’s. For food not to last for a lifetime, but for today. For the strength to face not just our own sins, but to forgive the sins of those who have hurt us. None of this is easy stuff. In fact, it almost seems outrageous. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. And not only does the prayer seem outrageous, but so does Jesus’ follow-up teaching. He tells the disciples a story about a man who is roused out of bed in the middle of the night because...

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Sermon June 19: Do I Have To?

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon June 19: Do I Have To? Faith United Methodist Church June 19, 2016 5th Sunday after Pentecost Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture:  Acts 2:44-47 Sermon:                                        Do I Have To?                                  Before we jump into today, I’d like for us to begin with a time of centering prayer. Does that sound okay? I will lead us through a kind of guided meditation, so get comfortable and settle in for a few minutes. And if you have little ones with you today, don’t worry if they move around or make noise. That’s all part of what it means to be present in community. Okay? Let’s begin. Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor. Make sure your chest, neck and head are in a straight line. Close your eyes. Allow your hands to lie loosely on your lap. Do what you need to do to relax your body. Because we often hold tension in our faces, I especially invite you to relax your jaws; let your mouth drop open slightly. Relax all the muscles around your mouth. Iron out all the wrinkles in your forehead. Let your eyes be soft. If anyone were to look at us right now they would say, “The peace of God resides in these people. Look them. You can see it on their faces.” So, picture yourself being serene and calm. (Pause) Hear yourself becoming calmer as your breathing becomes easier and deeper and your heart beat slows down. Feel yourself becoming more relaxed. (Pause) In this state of peace and calm, imagine you are floating in the sky above the church. You have x-ray vision, so you can see through the roof. You see yourself participating with other people in an activity. Watch yourself for a few moments. (Pause) As you do this, think about what makes this place special for you. Who do you look forward to seeing when you come here? What are some of your favorite activities in this place? Which activities seem to feed your soul? (Pause) Now, what would you miss most if some catastrophe struck this congregation? Think about never again being able to come to this place or to be with these people. What kind of hole would that create in your life? (Pause) Think now about all the things that you have learned as a result of your participation in this congregation. Where has this congregation given you space and opportunity to grow and develop as a person? (Pause) How has your relationship with the holy, Mysterious One, the one who is God, changed as a result of your participation in this congregation’s life? How has being part of this congregation helped you become a more loving, compassionate person? (Pause) Finally, think about the early Christians as described by Luke. How did they experience God’s blessings in community? (Pause) How do we experience God’s blessings in community? (Pause) Let us begin to bring our focus back to this room. Lord of all creation and mystery, be with us in this time. Guide us in the words that we speak and the thoughts that we share. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Our topic for today is presence. In our membership vows we promise to share of ourselves through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our witness and our service. What does it mean to you to share your presence with this congregation? Presence is, most simply, showing up. Walking through those doors. Do we have to show up? No. No one is going to come to your house on Sunday and drag you out of bed. No one is going to...

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