Sermon: Walking in the Way of Righteousness

IMG_4625By Joanna Shenk

Psalm 85:8-13

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a loved one in which they asked me if I thought holiness and righteousness were important… or if I valued them as a Christian. I can’t remember exactly how they said it, but it was said in a way that assumed I probably didn’t think they were important. I explained to them that it was frustrating to be asked the question in that way because it put me on the defensive… like I needed to prove something to them. To their credit, they understood and agreed it made for better conversation if they asked me how I understand holiness and righteousness or what has been my journey with those things. Continue reading

Sermon: Religious liberty, or social mischief? Understanding the “wall of separation” between church and state

indexBy Ken Sehested, 9 July 2017, Circle of Mercy Congregation, Asheville, NC

Text: Psalm 72

(The text below has been expanded from the original sermon.)

Not so long ago a sermon on religious liberty would likely provoke yawns. The widespread and diverse claims of “religious freedom” are so common and unquestioned in our culture, they mostly go without notice. (Which, if anything, may be testimony to how tamed our assumptions have become.) Continue reading

Sermon: The Wheat and the Weeds: A Riddle of Love?

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Photo by Jessica Rose

By Jim Perkinson, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Detroit, July 23, 2017

Such a rich lectionary offering this morning, I am hard put to choose among the Hebrew scripture, the Greek epistle, and the Aramean gospel.  I could easily focus on Jacob’s experience with a dreaming-stone, propping up his tired head on his way upstream from Isaac’s abode in Canaan, charged with not taking a wife from among the indigenous Canaanites, but going north and east to Aramean kin, from whence his ancestor Abraham had fled originally (Gen 28:10-19a).  The stone, likely a meteorite, births vision—Jacob seeing a ladder like a cosmic tree, granting movement between this world and the Spirit-World for angelic folk, the Powers in their proper role, and hears, speaking from the rock, the same great I AM that Moses will hear much further down the road speaking from a bush.  Continue reading

Sermon: Creations Groans: In the snow, the seeds, and our breath

IMG_1319(1)By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, co-editor of http://www.radicaldiscipleship.net
Day House, Detroit Catholic Worker
July 16, 2017

Isaiah 55:10-11, Psalm 65,
Romans 8:18-23, Matthew 13: 1-9

This week I noticed some large scratchy leafed plant pop up on our driveway. It winded its way out of a narrow patch of dirt between a rotting log and the spot where we prop our gate open when we are driving in and out. It has unmistakable orange flowers, each day it is multiplying in size. The seed must have planted itself in the small bit of soil after rotting there from neglect after celebrating the season when the veil is thin. It has always been my dream to have a huge pumpkin patch. So, for now, I am cherishing this unexpected gift. I have dragged more logs over to protect it and will give it whatever space it needs. I can’t open our gate all the way and I drive into the driveway in the most peculiar way. It feels like a little miracle that I get to tend and delight in each day. Continue reading

Sermon: Imprisoned by Hope

joannaBy Joanna Shenk, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Zechariah 9:9-12

I had a hard time getting out of bed yesterday morning. I was feeling the weight of a lot of things and wondered if it was futile and disingenuous to write a sermon that offered hope. I wasn’t feeling hopeful. I was feeling more like the title to the most recent Metallica album, “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct.” The bad guys keep winning. Vulnerable people are endlessly oppressed. And it seems like so many people don’t even have a moral consciousness to appeal to. 

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Sermon: Death Has No Dominion

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, last sermon as Pastor of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Detroit

Romans 6:1-11
Matthew 10:24-39

When I was called to St Peter’s in 2006 it marked the close of an important part of my life and the beginning of another. On the last night of 2005, Jeanie Wylie crossed over to God, having lived 7 years, and gloriously, with an aggressive brain tumor. Though marked with grief, that was nonetheless an amazing time for me, for our family: in those seven years she was teaching us how to die, and so how to live.

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Sermon: Pentecost

2015mlk1By Sarah Thompson, Albany Mennonite Church
4 June 2017

Ruth 1:11-18
Acts 2:1-12

I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.
It is indeed good to be with you today in Albany. The first time I came this way was to begin a cross-country bicycle trip that focused on the needs of young adults in the Mennonite church and raise money for Mennonite World Conference, an experience that brings Anabaptists together from all tribes and nations and tongues. It was a really good experience.  Continue reading