Sermon:On Practicing a Mystical Anarchist Ethic

joanna shenk.jpgBy Joanna Shenk, February 5, 2017, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco

Isaiah 58:1-12

When my older brother went to college, I remember being taken aback when he said his roommate’s mom was an anarchist. I felt so sorry for his roommate and figured he probably had a terrible childhood. In my mind, being an anarchist meant something related to the anti-christ. It was all one category to me because I thought it was all related to the same word. Continue reading

Sermon: Stories of Salt and Light

Anneke_jans.jpg

Anna Jansz

By Katerina Friesen, February 5th, 2017, Fellowship of Hope Mennonite Church

Matthew 5:13-20

In recent sermons and reflections here at Fellowship of Hope, we’ve pondered how Jesus’ wisdom teachings and the way of the cross are foolishness to the world. Foolishness, to love our enemies. Foolishness, to be persecuted and blessed. Foolishness, that those who hunger and thirst are the highly favored ones. Yet this foolishness is the wisdom of God that we are given to chew on, the bread of life. Today, we draw our attention to a crucial ingredient in bread baking, the seasoning of our dough: salt. Continue reading

Sermon: Grounded in the Bedrock of Faith

beatitutudesBy Joyce Hollyday. January 29, 2017,
Circle of Mercy, Asheville, NC

Micah 6:8; Matthew 5:1-12

On the night of January 19th, the eve of the inauguration, several of us from Circle of Mercy’s immigration mission group gathered at the home that Bill and I share. We kept a vigil in the tradition of the Watch Night Service.

Watch Night is typically traced back to New Year’s Eve of 1862, when enslaved communities stayed up all night waiting for the Emancipation Proclamation to take effect on January 1st. When I was collecting oral histories among African-American UCC churches during my time as an associate conference minister, I was told that the custom is actually much older—that enslaved families stayed up every New Year’s Eve, because January 1st was when masters decided whom they would sell off. Families facing the imminent threat of separation spent all night singing and praying and hoping that they would be together for another year. Continue reading

Sermon: Born to Be a Light

homrich-9

Trial for the Homrich 9. Activists blocked trucks from turning off Detroiters’ water.

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, Saint Peter’s Episcopal Detroit, Epiphany 2, January 15, 2017

Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 40:1-11
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
John 1:29-42

Our readings for today echo those of last week. Again we have reference to John, to the baptism of Jesus, the dove alighting upon him, AND again beside it a Servant song from Isaiah.

There is a striking commonality of Second Isaiah and John: both have central figures whose identity is hard to pin down. In the gospel of John it is the “beloved disciple,” identified only by that name. Is this a cipher for John himself, for his beloved community? Is there an historical referent? Even another character in the story? Or is this a narrative figure with which we, as readers, may identify, a call to discipleship by another name? Continue reading

Sermon: Epiphany under Empire: Remembering Resistance

3-kingsBy Ched Myers

Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar, behütet uns auch für dieses Jahr, vor Feuer und vor Wassergefahr. (“…protect us again this year from the dangers of fire and water.”)

— prayer uttered during the traditional German feast of the Three Kings

The origins of the Feast of the Epiphany are historically complicated and ecclesially disputed.  We might think of it as a kind of peace offering from the Western to the Eastern Church, given the latter’s (surely older) January 6th date for the Feast of the Nativity.  The Twelve Days of Christmas, in turn, represent a bridge between the two traditions, straddling exactly our celebration of the New Year.  Continue reading

Sermon 4th Sunday Advent: Joseph’s Yes

joseph.jpg Written and preached by Denise Griebler

Matthew 1:18-25
Isaiah 7:10-17

So Mary and Joseph are engaged.

To get to an engagement – there’s been, well, engagement. Mary and Joseph have been engaging with one another. They’ve been engaging each other’s families. There have been a long series of yeses.

But it’s not a straight line. It rarely is.

Matthew is so sparse in his description of events that it’s difficult for brain and heart not to search out Luke’s account and collapse the two. It’s not good exegetical form to do this. But I’m afraid my heart cannot resist the temptation. In the passage that comes just before this one we get a long list of fathers and sons (with a few interesting mothers thrown in the mix – Tamar the prostitute, Rahab the spy, Ruth the immigrant – outsiders, upstarts, all outrageous and unexpected) – and then at this long list of sons begat by fathers, comes the promise of a child, who will be God with us, God’s own and Mary’s. Continue reading