Services at 10:30 am every Sunday
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Sermons from November 2018

Mystery: Restored

While there is “no reason” for Job’s suffering, God makes the ultimate “lemonade out of lemons” — always responding with grace and opportunity for healing and growth. We would do well to look for signs of this in our “times of trial.” Actually, this lesson from Job is an overarching theme of the entire Bible. Time and time again, God’s people experience difficulty. Sometimes the hardships come as a direct result of being faithful — the chosen one is targeted by enemies. And yet, these heroes and heroines persevere, and something even better comes about — often, a result that blesses a whole community.

Mystery: Silenced

Although disaster often stuns us into silence, that is not the only way to get to awe. The practice of silence is an important spiritual discipline: meditation, contemplation, solitude — out in nature or indoors, in daytime or in dark, in front of an ocean sunset, on a mountaintop, in a forest, in front of a candle or before an open Bible.  Practicing being alert and silent before God strengthens our souls and makes us resilient and faithful in those inevitable times when crisis and calamity strikes.

Mystery: Deserted

It is hard to shake the deep cultural myths that say “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps,” or some version of “hard work will bring a reward.” There are even some “churchy” versions of these things, like the one that gets argued by Job’s friends in this book: “If something bad happens to you, you must have sinned.” Or the one I hear way too often in church circles: “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” You know what? Sometimes you do get more than you can handle. And that’s when lament is entirely appropriate. We can cling to hope that God will be there with us, even if we cannot seem to find God wherever we turn, and we can refuse to be silenced by darkness.

Mystery: Disoriented

No matter how you define it, and no matter where you come from, it is likely that, at one point or another, you are going to get “disoriented.” There’s going to be a time when your foundation gets rocked. A time when “the good life” you are living will come up against some hard questioning. You might be questioned, or you might be the one asking the questions. There is something powerful about talking through, reflecting, wrestling with questions like these in the context of a group of fellow pilgrims — when you’re trying to understand scripture, when you’re disoriented, when you’re going through tough times, when you look back on your life, and when you look forward and listen for God’s calling concerning what’s next.