Sermons

Sabbath distraction

Sabbath distraction

By Roy Stetler
June 2, 2024
In the second and third chapters of Mark, certain religious leaders are more concerned about institutional religion than about individuals.  Jesus grieves the failing religious institutions.  His teaching suggests that it will only be a matter of time before the temple is destroyed and new human structures will arise. Unlike the religious leaders and their institutions, Jesus cared about the…
Call vision

Call vision

By Roy Stetler
May 26, 2024
Isaiah’s call vision (Isaiah 6) is a moment in which he is fully aware.  He is aware of his own broken self and people.  He is also aware of God’s compassionate response to his confession.  He is forgiven by the action of a fiery angel. In that moment of clarity, God asks a question which Isaiah overhears, “Whom shall I…
Spirit unrivaled and free

Spirit unrivaled and free

By Roy Stetler
May 19, 2024
Each year the church focuses on the Holy Spirit’s role in creation (and the church).  Key scriptural themes for the Spirit are wind and breath.  Powerful yet intimate.  Close by, ever-present, and free.   When we forget the Spirit’s freedom, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration.  Then we also find ourselves working against the God we claim to serve.…
a love letter

a love letter

By Roy Stetler
May 12, 2024
John 17 is a prayerful celebration of Jesus’ love for God and his followers.  Jesus trusts God and entrusts his followers to God.  His prayer is enveloped in his joyous, grateful, but sober union with God. So perhaps John 17 is best read as a love letter between Jesus, God, and his followers.  If the language trips over itself a…
Unity in Love

Unity in Love

By Roy Stetler
May 5, 2024
Our life is sustained, among other things, by breathing, eating, drinking, and moving. These do not guarantee a long life, but they are clearly necessary. Likewise, our faith is sustained by practicing, or abiding in, Jesus’ love. The more we practice love, the more alive, the more balanced, the more resilient we can be. Holy Communion is one practice of…
Vine Prayer

Vine Prayer

By Roy Stetler
May 1, 2024
John’s Gospel teaches that Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches; that those who abide in him, bear much fruit.  A trunk holds branches to the light and provides nutrients and water. Likewise, abiding in Jesus involves giving and receiving the love of Christ.  But how can we increase our abiding? There are a number of spiritual disciplines for…
Practicing good shepherds

Practicing good shepherds

By Roy Stetler
April 21, 2024
John the Elder in I John 3 says, “We know love by this, that Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” We who learn to follow the Good Shepherd are good shepherds.  As we receive mercy and love, we practice what we have learned.  Followers of the Good…
A simple meal

A simple meal

By Roy Stetler
April 14, 2024
Some weeks, the effort to edit my sermon ends with almost everything being deleted from what I preached on Sunday morning.  Perhaps the sermon seemed particularly effective, or ended up being traumatic for the preacher.  This week, I all but gave up; but with one last try, this is what I received:  In Luke 24, the risen Christ twice offers…
Peace be with you

Peace be with you

By Roy Stetler
April 7, 2024
The picture is daffodils mingled with hellebore–a toxic plant also known as lenten rose, Christmas rose–but which is not a rose.  The white patch in the background is Sierra making sure the stubby pasture grass doesn’t get too long. In the Gospel of John chapter 20 the risen Jesus meets his followers and summarizes the future of their life together.…
Resurrection Journey

Resurrection Journey

By Roy Stetler
April 1, 2024
The faithful women will care for Jesus’ body, anoint it respectfully, lovingly, with gratitude to God for their all too short time with him.  Grief, shock, numbness, deep dread—all so overwhelming.  They must go on, Jesus would want them to keep up the labor of love.  The sun rises as they walk.  This time the anointing with spices and perfume…
A home in the Cross

A home in the Cross

By Roy Stetler
March 29, 2024
Jesus taught and healed folks as they were–to be, to become, to live in love.  All along, Jesus answered God’s call with a resounding “Yes!”  Then, at the cross, he entrusted the outcome of his ministry back to God and to those who were willing to participate.  Jesus releases it all, because the time has come for him not only…
Good Company

Good Company

By Roy Stetler
March 28, 2024
In one last moment of fellowship and teaching, the message of Maundy Thursday is clear.  Jesus invites his closest followers to follow his example of humble service in love.  He washes their feet.  They are to do likewise.  Serving generously will set his followers free.  When they are sorely tested by Jesus’ death and absence, their faith will be strengthened…