Both of the writers of the morning scriptures were writing near the end of the first century, a time of war, fear and grief.
In the story of Jesus healing the blind beggar Bartamaeus (Mark 10:46-52) Young Adult Minister Kit Novotny notices that it isn’t completely clear whether Bartamaeus was healed because he had faith or that his faith was the result of being healed. Is faith the chicken or the egg?
Minister of Community Life Rachel Bauman uses the story of Jesus’ baptism in the first chapter of Mark (1:4-11) to talk about God’s extravagant generosity. God claims Jesus as his “beloved child” even before Jesus done anything—nothing is required in advance to have that love.
Rev. Sophia DeWitt was the guest preacher for Disability Empowerment Sunday. She wove together Jeremiah’s stories of the Israelites who were overtaken by the Babylonians and the lepers who were cured by Jesus to explore the different ways one might be exiled both physically and psychologically.
In the story of Jesus visiting the home of Mary and Martha, Senior Minister Molly Baskette finds empowerment in both women and the way that Jesus interacted with them. Martha owned her home and Mary was taking on discipleship with Jesus, both defying the customs of the times.
When Jesus told his followers that the kingdom of God was among them, he was inviting them to step into the adventure of engaging the world with all its challenges. We can sink into cynicism and despair in the face of the world’s peril or we can choose to act with hope and even joy, each of us playing a part in healing the world.
In the Bible, stories about the wilderness take place in the desert, like the story of Jesus’ forty days and nights when he was tempted. In western fairy tales, the wilderness is portrayed as the dark forest.
On Pride Sunday, Minister of Community Life Rachel Bauman reflects on the gifts of queer folk can “shine” when they are included in faith communities and can fully claim God’s love. Jesus’ words, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, were spoken to people who were used to hearing that they didn’t belong.
Senior Minister Molly Baskette dives deeply into the question of personal salvation and wonders aloud whether it is as easy and exclusive as it sounds to claim Jesus as one’s personal Lord and Savior.
For this all-ages service, the theme was about how to be an “upstander”—how we support those who are being bullied directly or indirectly.