For God so loved the world…Even if you have a very cursory knowledge of the bible, you likely know the start of John 3:16. Listen as Pastor Kate explores what it means to be loved by God and what our response should be.
This week, we hear again the story of Jesus’s first miracle, turning water into wine at the wedding of Cana. As the story unfolds, Jesus’s mother tells him, “They have no wine,” as she implores him to do something about it. But what if it’s not at all about the wine, but rather that they have no joy? Because when the wine runs out, so does the party, and the joy of a wedding feast ends. They have no joy.
This past year has been one in which we may have pleaded this very thing to Jesus many times, beginning a year ago today. “We have no joy,” because we witnessed an insurrection at the Capitol, violating a place many in our community work or have worked. We have no joy because of the pain and grief that weighed on multiple Capitol Police Officers, some even paying the ultimate cost. We have no joy because in the months afterward, we have continued to sway from plan to plan amid the uncertainty of an ongoing pandemic and the desire to return to life together. Listen as Pastor Kate considers how as we plead with Jesus that we have no joy, Jesus provides an answer.
Many of us had expected, or at the very least hoped, this holiday season would be more normal. Instead, we’re worried about another variant of covid and thinking through more precautions – experiencing once again a holiday season with further complications. Listen as Pastor Kate considers God’s promises in an unexpected situation, when hope and expectations were dashed and the world was not as people thought it should be.
This week we hear from Jeremiah as the people are in Babylon, where God tells them to live their lives there in their new home. Their life in Israel isn’t the same, and they should continue in their life in Babylon. Listen as Pastor Kate explores what it looks like to live life in a new way.
Do as I say, not as I do. How many of us have heard this line from either parents or others as they try to coax us into doing something they aren’t? And when we hear it, it can sound disingenuous – like why wouldn’t you be doing this if it’s what should be done? This week we hear God’s call to the people to do as they say, that is to not only worship God with their lips and sacrifices, but then to worship by creating justice in the rest of their lives. Listen as Pastor Kate explores how this is also God’s call in our lives – to do as we say when we pray for peace and justice.
How many times have you wished for God to speak so clearly you can hear exactly what’s being said? Many of us have wished for that, and yet perhaps God has and we just haven’t been able to discern it is God. In this Sunday’s text from 1 Samuel, we hear the story of God’s call to Samuel. Samuel clearly hears God and mistakes the voice for that of his mentor, Eli. Listen as Pastor Kate explores how God is still speaking to us and if we are mistaken about whose voice it is.
This Sunday, we hear the story of Isaac’s (the boy who was almost sacrificed in last week’s text) youngest son, Jacob, who steals his older brother’s blessing and then is on the run when he is also blessed by God. Listen as Pastor Kate considers whether God has favorites, that God may very well work in and through deceit, and where it is we might find God in our midst.
This week we go all the way back to the beginning as we read the first of two creation accounts found at the very beginning of our biblical witness. Genesis 1 tells the story of how God created the world in seven days and after each day of creation, God took a step back and saw that it was good. Not perfect. Listen as Pastor Kate explores the goodness of a flawed creation and how we reconcile acts of violence, disease, and evil as they exist in God’s good creation.
What do you do when your world falls apart? Everything Job holds dear – his property, his family, his wealth, his physical health – has been taken from him. Reduced to suffering and misery, Job laments his circumstances and tries to make sense of what has happened to him. How do we also seek to make meaning of our pain? Listen as Pastor Kate considers where to find understanding when nothing makes sense and our lives have fallen apart.
We often take for granted this week’s story of Moses’s mom putting him a basket and floating him down the river to his eventual safety and future. It’s easy to see it as only a plot point in a fascinating tale that ends with God’s people being liberated from slavery. Yet, it is so much more than that – it is a testament to real love, the strength it takes to say goodbye to someone you hold so dear, and the risk that can be involved when we choose life. Listen as Pastor Kate considers how there is great strength in vulnerability and that real love sometimes means letting go.