story

“Psalms, Part 4: A Boundless Benediction” - Psalm 67

Psalm 67 speaks of word of blessing over the audience borrowing the rich, priestly blessing of Numbers 6. A benediction is, literally, “speaking good” over the life of another. We call this in the normal rhythm of our lives words of affirmation or blessing. In our own stories, the power of a well-placed word of blessing can change everything. The Psalms reminds us the power of our words to bless or curse, and we are called to bless others with our words of kindness and affirmation just like we have been blessed by those who have gone on before us.

The sermon begins with one from our church family, Nora Gardner-Sinclair, telling her story of blessing through the words and courage of her colleagues at her trauma-focused social work agency, Safe Horizon, in New York.

"Transfiguration, Part One: Swept up in a Story" - Luke 9:28-36

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Jesus is transfigured before his inner circle disciples’ eyes and is met by Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, the story and witness of scripture. In Jesus’ preparation for his darkest hour, he chose to surround himself with the great story of God’s Promises in Scripture and with his closest friends. Even in our moments of fear or vulnerability, Jesus models the importance of surrounding yourself with Good News and good friends to support you, instead of going it alone. We are the stories we tell ourselves and we become the people with whom we surround ourselves.

"Stranger Gifts" - Matthew 2:1-12

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Text: Matthew 2:1-12

Synopsis: Epiphany is a season of discover and illumination. In Epiphany people begin to realize who Jesus is and God became flesh. These strangers from the East arrive with even stranger gifts for the newborn king. The gifts perhaps symbolize the trifold calling of Jesus as prophet, priest, and king. Gold fit for a king; frankincense offered by priests; myrrh to embalm the body of a slain prophet; strange, but illuminating gifts for the little king offered by strangers from a strange land.

Keywords: Epiphany, calling, vocation, ministry, grace, surprises, strangers.