Sermons by Lori Leopold (Page 9)
“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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today we begin a four-week sermon series that will take us through a variety of questions that begin with the phrase “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You.”
Today we talk a little bit about our own sanctuary project as it relates to building but, just as importantly, we’ll talk about God’s notions around this topic of building. What does God want from God’s people when it comes to buildings? What does God NOT want? What needs to be broken down first in order to build up? How do we know, in God’s realm, when it’s time to build? Who is the builder? What is being built? Join us as we ponder this and more!
Our scripture reading this Sunday is from Paul’s second letter to the community in Corinth. It’s in this passage that Paul talks about the “thorn in his flesh,” that unknown affliction or malady that companioned him all his life. As he grapples with that particular “truth,” he explores the notion of God’s strength as it makes itself known in our human weakness, inviting us into that powerful and profound reflection along with him.
Our scripture passage for today highlights a Pharisee named Nicodemus whose interest, curiosity and hope appeared to be piqued by Jesus. Jesus tells him that all must be “born again” or “born from above” and Nicodemus struggles with what that might possibly mean. “How can we possibly be born again when we’ve already been born?”
Today is Ascension Sunday, a day that is not particularly recognized or highly anticipated in our culture at large. I doubt anyone woke up this morning saying, “Yay! It’s Ascension Sunday!” But, despite that fact, it’s a day that is special…significant in the life of the church. Luke writes about the ascension of Jesus into heaven, his return back to God, both at the end of the gospel of Luke and at the beginning of Acts. Curiously, these accounts are somewhat different.