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Sermons

Copies of the weekly John Knox Sunday Sermons are posted below in chronological order.

Leaving Shelter

Acts 2:1-21

Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan

 

Festival Outside

Pentecost is Greek for 50 signifying the fifty days after the Jewish feast of Passover.  It was a time of festival and feasting, in celebration of the first harvest.   People would look forward to this gather with friends and family and meet in Jerusalem year after year for the festival.  

So with the gathering would come the feasting.  Markets and shops were filled and the smell of food filled the city.  Not only were there the usual street vendors, but pilgrims from out of town would come to set up their booths of Ethiopian, Greek, Turkish, Italian food. The baklava stand had to be one of the more popular.

And where are the 120 followers of Jesus?  Well, they are in a room praying. 

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan

I John 4:7-21

  1.  1. Grandparenting

While in Montreat Conference Center in NC last week I spoke with grandparent in my class.  He had been retired from pastoral ministry for 20 years but still set aside money each year for continuing education.  He said, “You know, I struggle sometimes with the role of grandpa.  I think, what’s that about.  I go over to my kids house and sit down, and next thing you know, these little ones are crawling all over me.  It think, what is this role about.  It doesn’t feel like I’m doing much.  They’re doing all the work, crawling, pulling off my glasses, wrinkling my newspaper, untying my shoes.  I sometimes wanna say, hey you, get out of here, get off your grandpa.  But then I remember when they were each only a few weeks old and I got the chance to hold them.  My daughter, or my son, would give me their youngest child, all swaddled up, either asleep or near asleep and there I would sit, with this little bundle in my arms.It filled me with awe and wonder, and still does.  

Maybe you’ve done that.  I have a friend who volunteers at the Neonatal intensive care unit at Fairview and just holds the little babies.  Maybe you remember those days when you’ve held your child or another one’s child.  And you love them.  You’ve felt a rush of awe and wonder.  They haven’t done anything yet and yet you love them.

Dead or Alive? 

Dr. Kristian Bendoraitis

I Corinthians 15:12-58

 

So, three weeks ago, we celebrated Easter. We celebrated the miracle of the bunny and his (or her) magic chocolate eggs. Right? No, of course not.

Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, and here in First Corinthians, we have one of the longest passages about resurrection outside of the Gospels. And yet, even some of the Gospels have quite minimal sections on the resurrection. That makes this section of scripture really important. But, what is Paul trying to say to us?

This passage is found in Paul’s letter to the church in city of Corinth. The great thing about the Corinthian letters is how they apply to us. The church at Corinth was full of all sorts of people with all sorts of backgrounds. They are coming together with different ideas about God and Jesus and different sorts of questions. In this particular passage, in chapter 15, Paul is addressing differing ideas about resurrection. More specifically, some are saying that there is no resurrection. On one level, this makes sense as the idea of someone actually raising from the dead is a kind of a big thing to swallow.

He Goes Before Us

Mark 16:1-8

Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan

 

1. Way out of the Ordinary

On Thursday night, during our Maundy Thursday service, the Chicago Blackhawks had ahockey game against the Winnipeg Jets.  The rookie goaltender Collin Delia left in the third period for the Chicago Blackhawks. With goaltender Anton Forsberg already out for the game, the team had to call on Scott Foster.  A few hours prior to the call he was in his accounting office.  At the time of the call he happened to be a few miles away from the United Center Stadium.  13 years ago he had played four years college hockey.  But that night, he got an urgent call, headed to the stadiumsigned with the Blackhawks, and put on #90 jersey.When asked after the game, did anyone give you any advice he said, “only thing I heard was put on your helmet.”  He ended up saving 7 of 7 shots, with the coach on side just smiling the whole time.  When asked if he noticed the coach smiling, he said, I’d smile too.   

At the end of the game, NBC interviewed Foster who said, “A few hours ago you’re working your day job, and then you’re living your dream.”

A few hours prior to dawn two women were doing their job.  Since it was the Sabbath by Jewish law they were not permitted to anoint one who had died.  So at the end of Sabbath, Sunday morn, they were heading to the tomb to accomplish what hadn’t been done, to properly embalm and prepare the crucified body of Jesus.  

Not Backing Down

Mark 11:1-10

Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan

 

Opening   Zechariah 9:9-11

It was not the most magnificent request - go and get the donkey.  Not real high on the list of noble deeds but the Bible is full of this kind of stuff. Get the boats, cast the net, bring in the nets, set up the room forPassover, count how many loaves of bread and fish we’ve got for a picnic on the mountain. Sometimes we like it this way.  Just doing ordinary stuff to prepare the way for the Lord - so he can save. 

Maybe it’s a matter of speaking a truthful, honest word in a committee meeting, spending time with someone who is incoherent and coming apart at the seams, feeding someone in the hospital, taking someone in grief out to lunch, coaching, tutoring, singing, fixing the boiler, teaching a class, setting up communion. I’ve noticed this with our fish fries, eggstravaganza, and our Rise Against Hunger event this past Wednesday.  Lots of ordinary tasks welcoming the community, caring for the children, and feeding the hungry.  Nothing grand, just preparing the way for God to do what God does best – save.

Maybe during their common task of getting the donkey, the disciples picked up on the energy of the crowd.  Electricity coursed through the city in the hope that the prophetic promises would be fulfilled, the kingdom would be restored.  Maybe similar to the rallies where youth are marching asking for the world to change, asking for the violence to stop and for adults to listen.  In Jerusalem they were hoping that the world would be turned upside down and God would right what was wrong.  Whether by armed insurrection or by divine intervention, something had to change.