Fishing, Finding 153, Feeding Sheep

Acts 9:1-20, Revelation 5:11-14 and John 21:1-19

Those forty days after Jesus’ Resurrection were just packed with “quality time” with the disciples. And then for the rest of the first century the early church told the stories of Jesus to the world.

It has not stopped yet. Peter and Paul, John the Revelator on the Isle of Patmos, the women bearing the first witness to the Risen Lord: the list goes on and is impressive still after 2000 years.

We ask ourselves if we are still open to God’s revealing on our Damascus roads? We hear Jesus tell us to “feed the flock” to go “fishing for more.” We are asked to trust that God will truly bring Heaven to Earth when all is finished.

It’s a powerful true story and it’s good to tell it Sunday after Sunday, during the weekdays, and to show it to others in deeds not just words alone. Such a retelling is helped when we come upon slight oddities in Scripture like the number 153 in John 21. The number of fish caught after Jesus instructed the disciples to cast the net. We will explore that number as well as the “numbers” in Acts 4 and the “thousands” of angels and earth creatures” in Revelation 5.

Interesting, engaging, and ultimately an enthusing of our spirits to be about the sharing of Good News and pointing to the Kingdom of God!

And the Table will be prepared as well so we will have spiritual nourishment for the mission week ahead!

Join us as we go fishing and feeding!

Pastor Barry †

A Change Is Going To Come

Psalm 150, Revelation 1:4-8 and John 20:19-31

On April 24th, Second Sunday of Easter, our sermon title is A Change Is Going To Come. The scriptures are Psalm 150, Revelation 1:4-8 and John 20:19-31.

If you are inclined to make lists, then our Second Sunday in Easter scriptures are full of things and events to fill a spiritual list!

First of all, praise is to spill out even in the form of loud banging cymbals! Talk about getting your attention! After that start, “peace, the Holy Spirit, us as priests, being loved and free from sin, and even doubt” have high profiles in the early church of the Resurrection!

We are more settled now (maybe?!) in church life than in the first century CE, but the same list of “things of the spirit after Jesus’ Resurrection” are present and “at play” in the fields of the Lord!!

And it’s more than just talk, it’s about action. A better word describing action for us “the priests of the new Kingdom (Revelation 1:6)” is mission! We are about mission both local and beyond!

In worship this Sunday, as we praise the gift of Eternal Life and Resurrection over Death, we will be reminded of our ministry as “priests” in a new Kingdom appearing all around us. What are we all about as a congregation? Let’s check our list! And add to it as the Lord guides!

Happy Easter ongoing!

Pastor Barry †

April 17, 2022 Easter Sunday

The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Matthew 28:5-6

Indeed….the faith begins in words shared about Jesus even if he is not seen. Children learn from being told the stories of Jesus. And hearing leads to “looking around.”

Holy Week, Good Friday, Easter. They are all about hearing and looking. “Seek and ye shall find…” God can be found everywhere, but it’s a good idea to seek him where there are reports about him: worship, feeding the hungry, examples of caring in homes and health care facilities, disaster relief, weddings and funerals, the workplace. Any of these could and do happen during Holy Week. And they are present year in and year out.

Sunday’s worship will have multiple voices telling the stories of Jesus and encouraging us to keep “looking around!” And in the “finding” we will discover Life Eternal in our midst and in that of our neighbor.

Join us this Easter and the weeks up ahead!

Pastor Barry †

Waving Palm Branches, Waiting For Thorns

Psalm 118:19-29, Luke 19:28-40 and Matthew 27:29

Palm Sunday lends itself to excitement and enthusiasm for Jesus as the coming King and Messiah. His entry into Jerusalem is dramatic, visual, full of declaration of Hope.

Growing up as a child in church, it is often the one Sunday worship you get to move your arms, hold something in your hands other than a hymnal, and possibly process to and fro in the sanctuary outside the pews!

But, it is also the Sunday which leads into the week referred to as The Passion. A stretch of days involving struggle, betrayal, sadness, pain, and death. One of the great symbols of this Passion is the crown of thorns. So, we move from the thrill of waving palm branches in our hands to imagining the pain of having thorns pressed into the flesh of Jesus.

Our faith encompasses all of life, from joyful excitement to the depths of all that which hurts us. God’s story meets our stories and we are made glad even in our sins and troubles. God makes a way when our way comes to darkness and shadows; When palm branches and thorns are both found throughout our life. Jesus has been there and knows us and says “trust; there is a way that leads to life eternal. Trust me!”

And so, we begin Holy Week~~~

Blessings in that week ahead!

Pastor Barry †