Sermons

Take up the cross life

Take up the cross life

By Roy Stetler
February 25, 2024
Jesus’ words in Mark 8:31-38 (deny yourself, take up your cross, follow me) remind us that we gain by letting go in love, rather than by grasping in anxious fear.  His language is stark.  There are no shortcuts.  If we seek the benefits of discipline and healthy relationships but are unwilling to commit ourselves to the disciplined work of faithfulness,…
Remember you are dust

Remember you are dust

By Roy Stetler
February 14, 2024
Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) is a fresh start in faith—in humble prayer. Waiting with God. Listening. Placing ourselves before God, humbly, honestly. The first step is honesty with ourselves. The merciful love of God—grace—sets us free to pray. . .into the presence of God. No facades, only simple honesty. Ash reminds us that we are dust. We are…
Practice what you are

Practice what you are

By Roy Stetler
February 12, 2024
Jesus is transfigured in divine light (Mark 9) with Elijah and Moses. With that vision Jesus’ followers encounter the ancient prophetic tradition of compassionate justice and faithful kindness. The divine voice snaps them out of the ecstasy of the vision and refocuses their attention on Jesus, who prayerfully listens to God and the prophets. The curious transfiguration account is more…
Waiting for Strength

Waiting for Strength

By Roy Stetler
February 4, 2024
(Isaiah 40) Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. . .with wings like eagles. After teaching and healing in the synagogue, Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever.  Word spreads and people bring their sick and demon possessed to Jesus, for healing. The next morning, well before sunrise, Jesus goes out by himself to practice Isaiah 40. …
Dignity Restored

Dignity Restored

By Roy Stetler
January 28, 2024
When a man in the synagogue (Mark 1) loses control of his body and voice, Jesus acts decisively to restore his dignity.  He confronts the oppressor and firmly pushes back.  “No.  Be silent and come out of him!” By his compassionate action and teaching, Jesus invites the man and the village to a new practice of respect and freedom.  They…
Rebellious prophet

Rebellious prophet

By Roy Stetler
January 21, 2024
When Jonah proclaims that God’s judgment is about to be unleashed on Nineveh because of its greedy, unjust practices beyond its borders, the king and people repent in sackcloth and ashes. Jonah’s glee is turned to frustration and rage with Nineveh’s new faith.  Then, God also repents, turns from the promised punishment, and forgives Nineveh.  Jonah rolls his eyes, and…
The Word of God

The Word of God

By Roy Stetler
January 15, 2024
Nathaniel is surprised (John 1:43-51) when he meets Jesus.  Despite his doubts that anything good might come from Nazareth, Jesus takes such notice of him (‘does he know my thoughts?’) that Nathaniel confesses: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!”  Jesus assures Nathaniel he will see the fullness of God revealed in the “Son…
the re-dawning of creation

the re-dawning of creation

By Roy Stetler
January 7, 2024
In this season of winter darkness, we can return again and again to the light of God.  God’s presence shining on us, in us, and around us.  Advent’s journey in hope, peace, joy, and love.  The Christmas celebration of God-with-us in the light of Christ. Yesterday, Epiphany’s star led wise seekers to Christ.   Isaiah 60 reads “Arise, shine; for your…
God with us

God with us

By Roy Stetler
December 25, 2023
Angels proclaimed to shepherds that the birth of Jesus is a sign from God.  It’s good to be human, to have a body.  Emotions are a gift!   Really, they are. God loves all that God creates.  God with us. With this new mother and father, with the rough-around-the-edges shepherds, with the townies who have a little space to share, with the…
Mary

Mary

By Roy Stetler
December 24, 2023
In a casual conversation with the prophet Nathan, King David hints that he would like to build a temple for Yahweh, God of Israel.  Nathan sees no harm in that, but later has a dream about the conversation—the kind of dream you don’t forget.  He passes on the message to David that he is not to build a temple for…
Grief at Christmas

Grief at Christmas

By Roy Stetler
December 22, 2023
The joy of Advent and Christmas is our faith that God loves earthiness and the particular experience of each one of us.  That God took on our nature in one particular human being, in one time, and one place is the message of ‘God with us.’  God does not love us in spite of our humanity, but precisely as we…
Surrender for Joy

Surrender for Joy

By Roy Stetler
December 17, 2023
Today as we light the rose-colored Advent candle, we celebrate joy. To Isaiah, joy is good news for the oppressed, liberty for captives, and comfort for the grieving.  He anticipates gladness and praise replacing weariness and despair.  Joy is the weak finding strength.  Joy is a hand outstretched. Before Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptist claims to be just a voice…