Sermons by Lori Leopold
This section of Mark is known as “apocalyptic” and it points our hearts, minds and spirits to that which God is revealing in our midst. It encourages us to ponder if and how God is afoot—with life, hope, promise—even in times when things appear to be falling apart.
This Sunday we celebrate All Saints Sunday, a day when we are especially mindful of the great cloud of witnesses and the communion of the saints. It is a day of acknowledging death and the tears, grief and sadness that accompany it. But it is also a day of holding fast to life, including life in our here and now and the promise of life eternal to come.
As Christians, we speak about love, we sing about love, we pray about love, we talk about love…the word love is so familiar and embedded in every aspect of our faith that it’s possible to hear the Great Commandment and miss the truly radical and life-altering nature of this divine call!
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.
A Blessing of the Animals is often celebrated close to the Feast Day of St. Francis (October 4th) and we are partaking in this wonderful tradition this morning! We delight in the knowledge that all of God’s creation is GOOD. We will be lifting up, in word and song and story, thanksgiving for the many blessings we receive through our pets and all of God’s glorious creation.
Today, along with siblings in Christ around the world, we will be celebrating World Communion Sunday. In literal and figurative ways, we will be “at table” with one another, near and far. Please join us in person or online as we reflect on the sacrament of Holy Communion and what it means, in the midst of all of our differences, to come together at Christ’s Table.
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.
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.
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.