The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 4:21-30
14 mins 34 secs
Views: 9
This week, we continue on in Luke following Jesus' return to His hometown after a year away traveling and teaching his disciples. (Luke 4:21-30) At first, it seems that the people are pleased to hear from Jesus. Verse 22 tells us, “all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” The amazement doesn’t last long though, this is the hometown crowd, and they have grown up with him. Can you just imagine the eyebrows lifting as they turn to each other and say, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?" Jesus, hearing their reaction, says to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum. I tell you the truth; no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian.” Strong words for this Jewish, hometown, audience. These words made the people furious and they tried to take Jesus by force to the top of a hill nearby to throw him off, but He walked right through the crowd and went on his way. His time had not yet come. How do you see Jesus? Who is He to you? How do you react when convicted of your sin?
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 4:14-21
16 mins 22 secs
Views: 11
We do not like limits and laws. Our culture (and Disney) tells us that we can grow up to be and do whatever we want if we hold to our dreams. So we want all the good parts in the story we inhabit. We desire the highest positions, the best toys, the best spiritual gifts, the leading roles… but a roomful of Elsas is not how the story works; and a roomful of people jostling for the same gifts and position of leadership is not how the Body of Christ works. Instead, we are parts of a body, interdependent, distinct, and necessary. Likewise, our culture tells us that God’s law is out of date, restrictive, even hateful. But that is not how our scriptures this week describe the law. Instead it is a beautiful and glorious thing; perfect, reviving the soul, rejoicing the heart, and enlightening the eyes. It is in the hope of right application of the law, that the psalmist cries out those familiar words “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord my rock and my redeemer.” But even this law -this beautiful gift- is insufficient for us who are unwilling or unable to follow it. So, the Word of God made flesh is our salvation, and it is in Jesus, in whom that word, that law, and that promise is fulfilled… in our lives, in our church and in the world.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
John 2:1-11
19 mins 8 secs
Views: 9
In our Gospel this week, Jesus has been baptized and tempted, gathered disciples and is attending a wedding in Cana. Apparently He is not quite ready to start His public ministry, but His mother is confident that He has the solution to the problem the host is facing, and we get to see the interplay of their conversation in this unexpected situation. Our Epistle reading is the first in series of seven readings from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians about life in the Spirit, life in the Body of Christ and the meaning of Christ’s resurrection. This week we are reminded that the variety of gifts, services and activities are all from one Holy Spirit. See you on Sunday!
The ministry of John the Baptist was so impressive that the gathering crowds wondered if he might be the Messiah, but all the Gospel writers are careful to frame his ministry to keep the focus on Jesus. In our Gospel this week we read: “John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming “I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Luke 3:16 As Christians we are baptized in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and implicit in that is receiving this baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. And then we have the privilege of living the rest of our lives , both here and in eternity, in the presence of that transforming love.
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Matthew 2:1-12
14 mins 59 secs
Views: 6
This Sunday, we celebrate the epiphany of our Lord. The visit of the magi begins the revelation of the Lord to the gentiles. God shows himself to the gentiles by the revelation of his son to the Magi. Join us as we take a deeper look at the characters of this reading from Matthew 2:1-12. Joseph, Mary's husband whose faith allowed him to act on the messages sent to him in dreams by God, and protected Mary, and the baby Jesus from harm. The Magi, who believed that the star announced the birth of a great ruler, and who upon finding Jesus, are overjoyed and bow in worship. Finally, Herod the Great, who only wants to destroy any competition to his throne, and tries to trick the Magi into revealing the whereabouts of the Baby Jesus. Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 2:41-52
14 mins 59 secs
Views: 4
This week our Gospel reading speaks of 12 year old Jesus in his Father’s house, and our Old Testament reading speaks of the boy Samuel serving in the temple. Our Psalm calls on everything and everyone in heaven and on earth to praise the Lord! But it is our Epistle reading written to the Colossians, describing how we are to live as the body of Christ that I find most compelling: As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Luke 1:39-45
12 mins 54 secs
Views: 2
At last we come to the final Sunday of Advent. Monday and Tuesday this week we will celebrate the birth of Jesus. Our Gospel in Luke gives us a brief picture of the two cousins who have both experienced the power of the Lord in their lives. Elizabeth, who is expecting her own miracle in a few months, runs to meet her cousin and exclaims, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." Mary, the Mother of our Lord replies to Elizabeth's greeting with the wonderful words from our canticle, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in god my Savior; for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant." Two ordinary women bound by blood and the greatness of God. They remind us that nothing in impossible with God. But they also remind us that the power of God changes lives. They were simply ordinary women going about their daily lives when God stepped in and changed them forever. That's what God does for each one of us. This Christmas, as we welcome the Christ child into our hearts again, remember this, Emmanuel, God with us, changes us and the whole world forever.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 3:17-18
19 mins 10 secs
Views: 2
This week, our readings include some of the most challenging verses from John the Baptist and some of the most comforting verses from Isaiah and Paul. Laying them side by side always makes for interesting contrasts: Surely, it is God who saves me; * I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, * and he will be my Savior. -Isaiah 12:2 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. … The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” -Philippians 4:4-6 “ You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance …9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” -Luke 3:7-9