Sermons by Lori Leopold

Sermons by Lori Leopold

Coming Home

Today is Homecoming Sunday!  We’ve all been away for a while due to the pandemic and a whole host of other reasons. We’ll be reflecting on the Bible’s quintessential homecoming story…the story of the prodigal son.  

God Talk

We’ll be spending time today with a portion of the Letter of James and contemplating the age old notion of faith versus works on this Labor Day Weekend.

Tradition

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.

What Shall We Wear?

Our reading from Ephesians is a good indicator that this truly MAY be an age old question! This passage is moving for some and troubling for others with its warrior imagery.  We’ll spend time this Sunday exploring this text in relation to the last of the “Jesus as bread of life” texts from the Gospel of John.

Being Alive

“Take.  Eat.  This is my body, broken for you.”  Those of us who are newer to Christianity might have an advantage here and be more able to perceive how shocking these words were to Jesus’ contemporaries.  Folks who gathered around Jesus, including his own disciples, balked when Jesus started talking about “eating his flesh” and “drinking his blood.”  And who can blame them?  At face value, it’s a fairly gory notion. But in this passage Jesus says, “Unless you do this…you have no life in you.”  That’s the piece we’ll focus on in worship today.  What does Jesus mean when he says this?  Is Jesus talking about physical life?  Eternal life?  Or is there something else?

Soul Pangs

Just like our bodies experience hunger pangs, our hearts and spirits can also experience “soul pangs.”  It seems as if we’re born into this world with certain hungers for love, belonging, connection, joy, play, peace and so much more.  We often experience these “hungers” in isolation, not acknowledging them to others and, very frequently, not even acknowledging them to ourselves.  Today we explore Jesus’ claim to be the “break of life” and what that means for our deepest hungers.

I’ve Been Meaning to Ask… Where Do We Go From Here?

Today we’ll wrap up our July sermon series with our fourth and final question, “Where Do We Go from Here?” Sometimes we’ve asked this question quite literally, especially in the days before GPS! But many a time we’ve asked ourselves this question in a much more figurative way.  Where am I going from here?  What is ahead for me?  For us?  For our families, our friends, our faith community?  The future is not crystal clear and we are not able to predict what is ahead.  But still, we ask the question, seeking direction, guidance, wisdom and light for our path.

I’ve Been Meaning to Ask… What Do You Need?

Our July sermon series, “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask,” continues this morning with the question, “What Do You Need?” What we know for certain about need is that we need each other.  How does today’s question invite us to lean in with curiosity and openness in order to strengthen the connections between us?  How does this question invite vulnerability and open heartedness in relationship?  What are scriptural examples of those in need and the people around them who responded in an effort to help?  We’ll spend time with Job in the First Testament and Paul in the Epistles as we explore this question together.  

I’ve Been Meaning to Ask…Where Does It Hurt?

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.