FEB 21, 2016, SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT

PERSEVERANCE IN THE WAY OF JESUS

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Lections: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Ps 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 13: 31-35

 

We are strengthened in Lent, by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, to persevere in the way of Jesus, and we are called to enlarge our hearts by expanding our sense of community and fellowship. Let me begin today by offering a help for one way we can answer this call, through almsgiving.

When we want to expand our giving in the world, we immediately come up against a problem: we are in unfamiliar territory.  Last week I did some research on the internet, deciding what organizations I wanted to donate to.  Charity Navigator is very helpful:  this organization has a website that guides you through the process of comparing different charities and identifying which ones you think are worthy of support: https://www.charitynavigator.org.  I was able to find and make donations to three charities on the website: American Refugee Committee, United Methodist Committee on Relief, and World Relief. Another helpful organization I found is JustGivinghttps://home.justgiving.com.  I was able to make a donation to a fourth charity on this website: The Emergency Appeal for Iraqi Refugees, which I wasn’t able to find on Charity Navigator. I pray that my contribution to these efforts on all our behalf will help reduce pain and suffering in human lives.

Let us, then, begin our reflection on this Second Sunday of Lent by considering how the Collect we prayed this morning gathers the thought running through today’s worship:  Continue reading

FEB 14, 2016, FIRST SUNDAY in LENT

ASSAULTED BY MANY TEMPTATIONS

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Lections: Deut 26:1-11; Ps 91; Rom 10: 8b-13; Luke 4:1-13.

We are in the Judean desert, and everything we see takes place under the shadow of the cross.  The great, ancient cities and their Mediterranean commerce lie far removed from the solitude and stillness of our rough, rock plateaus.  The days are hot and nights are cold; there is little food or water, and always the danger of poisonous insects and wild animals. Moses went into the desert for 40 days, as did Elijah after him.  Now the Spirit of God has driven Jesus to the place where he, like them, will have his righteousness tested.  After going without food for forty days, Jesus will be given the opportunity to recover his well-being by choosing to live at odds with God’s will for him.

Jesus is tempted three times in the desert:  he is tempted with bread, because he is hungry; he is tempted with power, because he is a servant; and he is tempted with disbelief, because he has given God his heart.  We rightly infer that these three temptations, which we call gluttony, wealth, and vainglory, are the most difficult temptations to resist.  And because Jesus successfully resisted all three of them, we can be confident that he was able to resist all the lesser temptations of his lifetime.  For this, he is known as sinless.   Continue reading

FEB 07, 2016, TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY

LIGHT OF LIGHT

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Lections:  Exod 34:29-35; Ps 99; 2 Cor 3:12-4:2; Luke 9: 28-36.

 

The story of light is the story of God.  This is the story we tell when we have grown unafraid, because our lives have settled into the familiar.  The spectrum of our experience narrows, and our way flattens out, and we put aside the presence which is Glory.  So the story of light begins on a mountain, and the mountain is one we haven’t climbed.  On the mountain there is something we need, some news about the life we have covered up, so someone has to climb the mountain for us.

Moses is one of the persons that goes into the mountain.  His mountain is named Mount Sinai.  Moses scares us.  We are afraid to go near him; when he comes down from the mountain, “The skin of the face of Moses shone, because he had been talking to God.” Moses delivers his message, and then he has to veil his face; but whenever Moses goes up the mountain, “he would take the veil off.” God speaks to Moses “out of the pillar of cloud” that is his holy hill. Moses tells us what he hears, and then he covers his face.  So our lives remain incomplete: “our minds are hardened,” for “a veil lies over our minds.” Continue reading