Sermons on Mark
Our scripture reading for Sunday draws us into the world of Bartimaeus, a blind man begging on the streets, whose encounter with Jesus not only changed him but the entire community around him.
Ken Brown, our Lay Leader and Church Council Chair, will be offering the sermon this week. We are so blessed to have Ken’s leadership each and every day and I know we will be inspired by his words and witness this Sunday!
Today’s scripture passage from Mark highlights an age old challenge for people of faith…where and how we draw the circle of who is on the inside and who is on the outside. While we might like to believe that our circle is always wide open, the truth is that we struggle at times with “us” and “them.”
None of us covet “last place” and many of us, understandably, hope for “first.” But this week Jesus turns that notion upside down, talking in apparent circles…last is first and first is last.
Our reading from Mark’s gospel takes us into the heart of a heated exchange between Jesus and some of the religious leaders. The religious leaders ask a question about Jesus’ disciples that is clearly more of an accusation than a genuine question. They want to know why Jesus’ disciples don’t all wash their hands according to the purity laws before eating. Jesus, drawing on the words of the prophet Isaiah, calls them out for honoring God “with their lips” while their hearts are far away.
Today we’ll explore the value of making space for one another’s pain on both a personal level and in the public domain. We’ll also dig into our scripture passage from Mark with its reminders that the Divine not only doesn’t shy away from human suffering but always seems to be right in the thick of it.
Adam Marshall-Lopez leads us as we examine both the tension between Jesus and his family (evident in their attempt to take him out of public view) and the “inner” teaching about the unforgivable sin, blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
If we check in only on Palm Sunday and Easter, we go straight from “Hosanna” to “Hallelujah” and miss so much of the critical journey in between. For that reason, our service will be slightly different today as we celebrate Palm/Passion Sunday. We’ll begin with a Palm Sunday text and conclude with the reading of the Passion or the crucifixion.
What is your “wilderness”? Today we spend time with Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism and his subsequent 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. It is also the first Sunday of Lent, a season in the church marked by themes of light and shadow, confession and repentance, and frailty and humility.
Today is Transfiguration Sunday in the life of the church. It’s the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent and we travel with Jesus, Peter, James and John to a mountaintop. There they have an experience of witnessing Jesus being changed in an instant. It’s an experience that has the potential to change them, to shape them for the rest of their lives.