Sermons by Lori Leopold
Advent is about anticipation. Our gospel reading from Mark encourages us to “keep awake,” to pay attention because God is about to do a remarkable thing.
It’s Christ the King Sunday, but this king and this kingdom are marked by values that are altogether different.
Our scripture reading today is from the Parable of the Talents. What is it we’ve been given and what is the end result if all we do is keep it safe?
We’re always waiting on something. What does it mean to be prepared? How might Jesus’ words from this quirky and unsettling parable give us guidance, inspiration…perhaps light?
Today is a special day in the life of the Church as we will be celebrating All Saints Sunday! The United Methodist Church understands “saints” in the New Testament sense of the word which includes Christians of all places and times. We remember and honor the saints of our lives, specifically those who have died in this last year. We share the names of beloved church members, family members and friends whom we have lost. We give thanks for all they have shared with us and among us, remembering them with the refrain, “Absent from our midst…present with the Lord.”
Our scripture passage for today is the account of the widow’s mite. Jesus was with the disciples outside of the Temple as people were making their donations to the Temple treasury. Many rich people put in a large sum of money, possibly drawing the attention, head nods and approval of others. The widow, placing two small coins in the treasury, was noticed by no one but Jesus. Jesus pointed her out and said that her gift was greater than any other because she gave it out of her poverty rather than out of abundance.
We’ll spend some time today contemplating what it means to think about scarcity and abundance in the midst of a pandemic. How does COVID-19 affect our hopes and dreams, our vision and planning for ministry in 2021? Will we have enough? As individuals? As a congregation? What is God’s call in this unique time and will we be able to answer it?
Our scripture this week can be jolting to those of us who are especially devoted to that which is “fair.” It invites us to ponder the nature of God’s grace.
How many times should we forgive? We all tend to carry baggage related to forgiveness, sometimes hauling it along with us all our lives until it becomes so heavy we just can’t carry it anymore.
As a faith community, we are bound together and address conflict in a different way, taking the initiative to seek genuine reconciliation.