Category Archives: Sermons

Speak, Lord. Your Servant is listening

By Betsy Happel, 1/14/18

1 Samuel 3:1-10  (Common English Bible)

Now the boy Samuel was serving the Lord under Eli. The Lord’s word was rare at that time, and visions weren’t widely known.  One day Eli, whose eyes had grown so weak he was unable to see, was lying down in his room.  God’s lamp hadn’t gone out yet, and Samuel was lying down in the Lord’s temple, where God’s chest was.  The Lord called to Samuel. “I’m here,” he said.  Samuel hurried to Eli and said, “I’m here. You called me?”  “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go lie down.” So he did.  Again the Lord called Samuel, so Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”  “I didn’t call, my son,” Eli replied. “Go and lie down.”  (Now Samuel didn’t yet know the Lord, and the Lord’s word hadn’t yet been revealed to him.)  A third time the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”  Then Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy.  So Eli said to Samuel, “Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down where he’d been. Then the Lord came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”  Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.”

Serving God’s Beloved Community Now

Rev. Dr. Ginny Brown Daniels–January 7, 2018

Mark 6:6b-13  (NRSV)

And he was amazed at their unbelief.  Then he went about among the villages teaching.  He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.  If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”  So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

“Did Do You Know?”

By Betsy Happel, 12/31/17

Luke 2:22-40  (The Message)

Then when the days stipulated by Moses for purification were complete, they took him up to Jerusalem to offer him to God as commanded in God’s Law: “Every male who opens the womb shall be a holy offering to God,” and also to sacrifice the “pair of doves or two young pigeons” prescribed in God’s Law.

In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:

God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.
Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,
This child marks both the failure and
the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
as God reveals who they really are.

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.

When they finished everything required by God in the Law, they returned to Galilee and their own town, Nazareth. There the child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.

 

We Shall Remember

By Betsy Happel, 12/24/17

We ask you, sisters and brothers, to respect those who labor among you, who have charge over you in Christ as your teachers. Esteem them highly, with a special love because of their work. We urge you, sisters and brothers, to warn the idlers, cheer up the fainthearted, support the weak, and be patient with everyone. Make sure that no on repays one evil with another. Always seek what is good for each other and for all people. Rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks for everything—for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t stifle the Spirit; don’t despire the prophetic gift. But test everything and accept only what is good. Avoid any semblance of evil. May the God of peace make you perfect in holiness. May you be preserved whole and complete–spirit, soul and body–irreproachable at the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. The One who calls us is trustworthy: God will make sure it

Comes to pass. 1Thessalonians 5:12-24 (Inclusive Bible)

A Voice that Speaks of Peace

By Betsy Happel, 12/10/17

Psalm 85 (Inclusive Bible)

YHWH, favor your land once again and restore the fortunes of Israel; forgive the guilt of your people and cover all their sins. Set aside all your anger, and calm the hear of your rage. Return to us, O God of our deliverance! Put an end to your displeasure with us. Will you be angry with us forever? Will your wrath continue from one generation to the next? Won’t you revive us again so that your people can rejoice in you? Let us see your mercy, YHWH, and grant us your deliverance. I will listen to what you have to say, YHWH—a voice that speaks of peace, peace for your people and your friends so long as they don’t return to their folly. Your salvation is near for those who revere you and your glory will dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have embraced. Fidelity will sprout from the earth and justice will lean down from heaven. YHWH will give us what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Justice will march before you YHWH, and peace will prepare the way for your steps.

Highways to Hope

by Betsy Happel, 12/3/17

Isaiah 40:6-11 (NRSV)              

A voice says, “Cry out!”  And I said, “What shall I cry?”  All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.  Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”  See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.  He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.