For All The Saints

Revelation 7:9-17, I John 3:1-3 and Matthew 5:1-12

All Hallowed Eve, Reformation Day, All Saints Day, The Day of the Dead, they all are recognized October 31-November 2. We would be hard pressed to find a stretch of days which celebrates life and death and eternal life so vividly. Holy Week with Good Friday and Easter are the ultimate expressions of our faith, but these Fall days are perhaps the most vivid in celebrations, dress, and an element of festivity!

Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to a church door and Protestantism and ceaseless church reform was being born on October 31, 1517. Halloween developed alongside Christian emphasis on celebrating the saints in heaven. All Saints Day says the Church is finally triumphant in spite of death. And the traditional, Mexican Day of the Dead arrives on November 2. A colorful, indigenous way of acknowledging death and local customs that accompany remembrance of those gone before us.

For most of us in worship it will be a time of remembrance of those in our church family as well as loved ones and friends from previous times and other churches. We trust them all to be in the eternal embrace of a loving and forgiving God. A time for us, still the Church at Work, to be both sad with grief yet joyful in hope! The playfulness of Halloween helps all ages “indirectly” address mortality and our fears while moving on to Sunday’s celebration of those Saints who are one step beyond us in the fullness of the Kingdom of God!

So, with these 3 days so closely connected with faithfulness, come to worship on Sunday expecting to experience the “hope that is within us” and to stay “in communion” with our loved ones both here and forever.

See you on Sunday! Amen!

Pastor Barry

Churches! Listen Up!

Deuteronomy 5:22-27 and Revelation 2:17-20a

This Sunday’s texts will try to address one of the suggested sermon topics that came up when we did the “You asked for a sermon” survey back in July/August: what about the Seven Churches in Revelation 1-3?

Such a demanding subject with many verses cries out for a good and lengthy Bible study over several weeks. A twenty minute sermon will barely touch upon it, but the effort is worth it. And another sermon, later, might be forthcoming on the subject as I work with the multiple Revelation verses this week!

At the very least we will hear of matters (that John the Revelator received in a vision) that needed to be addressed to seven congregations in a portion of Asia in the first century. What can we today, 2000 years out, receive for our edification and spiritual growth? Christ invites every community of believers to reflect and consider what a word might be for them in the here and now.

We will hear both encouragement and warnings, hope and caution, peace and calls to action for churches to take seriously but also with reassurance from the Lord of every church. We will hear about a suffering church, a dead church, a weak but obedient church. And more! Finally we will hear the knock at the door: “If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” Revelation 3:20.


Pastor Barry

God Will Take Care Of You!

Isaiah 49:8-13, and Matthew 6:24-34

My next of kin, LeNoir, has graciously responded to my request to fill the pulpit and lead Kedron in worship this coming Sunday. I will be over at Locks Memorial for their Homecoming.

I will eagerly wait to hear the sermon and worship service later on-line, but I can say from reading the texts that there is restoration for spiritual Israel then and now. And pointedly directed to most of us in this troublesome year 2020 is a word about worrying: DON’T! Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is relevant in any time or place.

Easier said than done, but to at least lessen our worries or “take the edge off our worries” seems like a good word from God. Concern for multiple matters is one thing, but to constantly worry is a depletion of personal energy and a distrust in God’s present/future offering for your wellbeing.

LeNoir will hold forth on Sunday, so prepare in anticipation of a Good Word for all as we enter half way into October!

Blessings in this both awesome, beautiful season of the year as well as for whatever your struggles are in the moment! Remember this as you close out the time of worship by singing “God Will Take Care Of You!”

Pastor Barry

Idols, False Voices? Distraction? Avoid All This! Focus on God’s Focus!

Exodus 32:1-14, Timothy 6:3-16 and Matthew 22:1-14

We are looking at perhaps a wordy sermon title! But there is so much going on in these three Bible passages it took some effort to keep it THAT short!

To try and keep it “manageable” though, let’s say all three scriptures deal with easily distracted people of God. In spite of Moses’ faithful leadership, Jesus’ description of the Kingdom as a wedding feast, and Paul’s reminder of the Eternal Life we are called to, we, the people, easily (it seems) get distracted to idols, arguments, laziness, and riches!

There are all too often too many competing “voices” on our faith walk. We can’t give them all equal attention and successfully find our way Home. We need to listen up and learn, choose, and be willing to stand firm as needed or…change as needed. At least that’s what Moses has to say to the Golden Calf revelers, what Jesus says about the lazy Wedding guests and what Paul reminds Timothy to not lose sight of.

It’s a lot to unpack but we have the Spirit to guide us in our hearing and in our doing during and after worship! And….God is patient and merciful. Let us be about finding our way through the Wilderness, into the Wedding Feast, and toward Eternal Life!

Pay attention, stay focused, enjoy the company of your fellow strugglers along the Way!

Pastor Barry

The Authority of Ten and Then of the One

As you get older I think many come to value The Ten Commandments more and more. Or at least 3-4 of them! I’ll leave that to you to say which commandments have meant the most to you! And I will say the one about “not coveting” is very hard to enforce in a legal, ecclesiastical, or public way!

And Christians, whose two most central teachings we celebrate around a table, have to hold in tension the requirements of The Law upon us as well the unmerited favor of God in Christ upon us. Perhaps celebrating World Communion (as we will this Sunday) will remind us once and for all our faith is about “Christ and him crucified.” Our Philippians text has Paul with a single-minded focus on Christ although he reminds us he (Paul) was “faultless in obeying the Law” v.6.

As in most meal gatherings we don’t remember how well we kept table manners or how well we kept everything in order during the meal. But, we remember the people present, the shared stories, and the high moments of joyous fellowship with deep appreciation for the Host who opened up the house for all of us to be together.

So, yes to The Ten Commandments but even more yes to the One who lived them out completely for our sake.

See you Sunday in worship!

Pastor Barry