What is your path like? How do we create paths for one another? What does baptism have to do with it all? P.S. Did you know Jesus was born a Brown Middle Eastern man to a homeless teenage unwed mother who ran for her and her child's life as a political refugee when Jesus was a baby? How smooth would his path be today?
Preached at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Arlington Heights, IL. Texts include Luke 1:68-79 and Luke 3:1-6.
Christ the King Sunday, John 18:33-37. Who do we worship? Why? Do we need or want a king? Who is Christ for? This sermon is dedicated to Elle Dowd and Rosalind Chesson.
I left the intro in this recording, even though I normally do not. For Reformation Day, we did some activities instead of a sermon. Click here to read all about it. To study the Bible through activity instead of or in addition to listening, you can check out Open Heart faith gathering. If you are comfortable in church 100% of the time, then someone else is uncomfortable 100% of the time. Being in true, mutual community, means we make room for different ways of doing faith and take turns, without judgement.
I used the normal themes for All Saints Day, and preached about my late Father. How does the faith of our ancestors give us clues about sharing our faith with those who come after us? What happens when we become the ancestors? The text used was Mark 12:28-34; yes, I know that is technically not the All Saints Day text, but it worked. Enjoy! Feel free to comment with a story of someone who taught you about faith.
For more ideas on Reformation Day activities, you can check out what happened last year at Calvary.
The story goes that in 1517 a Catholic Priest and Monk nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenburg, Germany, thus beginning the Protestant Reformation. This Reformation was a Protest in reaction the the institution of the church abusing people and taking advantage of those living in the most poverty. This year, at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Arlington Heights, IL, we decided to live out a couple of the themes of the Reformation. If you were to protest a thing a church does today, what would it be? Be sure to comment below.
access to the Bible
At the front of the church, near the pulpit, we placed a table with multiple Bibles of all versions, paraphrases, and pictures. People were invited to write and/or illustrate their favorite Bible verses and tape them onto the altar rail and pulpit. Before Martin Luther, the Bible was in Latin. He translated it into the language of his people, which was German. For the first time, everyday people could read the Word of God, instead of having to go through a priest. In the church today, we celebrate our direct access to the Bible. Sometimes, though, direct access can be dangerous to those in power. You can learn more about base communities and how their direct access changes things at this post.
Last time I was at the congregation, those Bible verses were still posted on the wall.
Did you know they make huge post-it notes? We had bright orange ones, and invited people to write their statements of belief, their theses, on them. Then, they were stuck to the doors and windows that form the back of the sanctuary. A few of the statements were from Vacation Bible School even. What do you believe? What would you like the church to be discussing? Let us know in the comments!
Preached on Mark 10:`13-21 at Lutheran Church of the Cross on October 14, 2018. Includes a story of letting go, a meditation, and some nuance around giving.
Preached on Genesis 2: 18-24 and Mark 10:2-16 at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Arlington Heights, IL. I explore if Adam, the first human, was intersex. I explore that Jesus wants justice for women, and that he wasn't talking about divorce in the way we understand it, he was talking about justice. Mostly, I talk about seeing each other as fully human, as coming from the ONE body of Adam that held all genders, and tie that to us being the Body of Christ. Recovering the these texts as being about God's love and creation of all humans, especially the most invisible ones, from the ways they were used to oppress in the past. There is HOPE! I am human, and so are you, we are part of one thing together, and can start to see one another that way. I include suggestions for your week for treating people as extra human, as well as holding onto hope of the resurrection.
References for More Reading
Click on any sentence below to read the author's work.
Hint, it is PROBABLY not who you think it is. #BivisibilitySunday
Sermon on Mark 9:30-37 at St. James Lutheran in Western Springs, IL.
Because I was at a Reconciling in Christ Congregation on Bisexual Visibility Sunday, I included a lot about the LGBTQIA+ community in this sermon. Also, the prayers of the people included the prayer below from the amazing Elle Dowd. You can follow her on facebook here, on twitter here, and use her prayer below with credit. I promise you'll learn many amazing things from following her. She one of my mentors in the faith and in my life as an out bisexual Pastor. Elle is also available to be a paid leader of workshops in any congregation just starting the welcome conversation, or one who is ready to move to the next step in listening to voices of those without status in our congregations. (Which is what Jesus does in the Mark reading -- says to listen to those without any status.) If you want to learn more about what it means to be bisexual, you can read more here. There's a lot about Jesus in the sermon, too, promise!
Holy God, who from things that were invisible made everything that we now see, we lift up our bi siblings in honor of bisexual visibility week. Grant your beloved bi children the comfort of knowing that they are beautifully and wonderfully created in your image, and grant those of us who are not bi the hearts to bear witness to their struggles with compassion and solidarity. Lord, in your mercy
C: Hear Our Prayer
(Prayer written by Elle Dowd for BiVisability Sunday 2017)
Preached at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Arlington Heights, IL. The week before this sermon there was a congregational meeting for the church to explore their future options. It was hard on many people, and this sermon is an attempt to find Jesus and hope in the midst of pain and the unknown. Listen and share with those you think need to hear this message. Text was John 6:56-69, where some disciples leave because they can't believe what Jesus is doing.
Will Jesus EVER stop talking about Bread? Not sure, but John 10 is full of lots of different ways to think about bread and communion. This week I talk about eternal life, and how communion allows me to have spiritual healing with my life of chronic illness and disability.
Sermon based onJohn 10:51-58, Preached at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Arlington Heights on August 19, 2018.
HOw do you have hope when you can't eat bread?
Preached at Glen Elyn, IL at St. Luke's Lutheran Church on August 12, 2018.
You can click on these passages to read them. John 31, 41-51 and 1 Kings 19: 4-8.
Pastor Jess loves preaching and wants church to be about Jesus. The end. (Or read the rest of the site for more.)
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This work is licensed by Rev. Jessica A. Harren under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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