The Progressive Christian Voice
Summary: Listen to sermons that connect spiritual teachings to the relevant issues of our day. Featuring sermons at Western Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C..
A mysterious guest tells Sarah she will have a child in her old age; Jesus hints to his disciples that a rich person just might be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Both imply that nothing is impossible for God. What kinds of "impossible possibilities" does faith help us experience today?
Often times, verses are plucked from our holy text and quoted as sound bites to address complex and intimate human experiences. Our scripture for this week has one of those sound bites embedded in it. Trusting the Bible is not a weapon we'll take a look at Genesis 2 and listen again for what God deems good.
Kumbayah - Come by here - in times of difficulty and celebration, we lift our voices to sing Kumbayah. Take a moment out of your busy day and listen as the Western Presbyterian Church Choir sings this well-known song, allowing you to center, again, on the presence of God in your life.
James' letter says clearly that faith without works is dead. He was speaking to a group that seemed to privilege those with wealth over those without. What does James say to us about our faith? Does your faith "work"? Does what you do reflect the faith you profess?
The Pharisees watched on as Jesus and his disciples sit down for a meal. They noticed some of the disciples didn't properly wash their hands according to the traditions of the elders and they pressed Jesus for an explanation. Jesus responds, "It's not about what goes in the body, pay attention to what comes out of the heart." How does your daily life reflect your living faith? James 1: 17-27; Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23
"Western Presbyterian... that's the church where there's a great mission with the homeless," said one of my new neighbors when I told him where I serve. As I read the psalm afterwards, describing the ancient temple as God's dwelling place, it dawned on me that when it comes to God, "home" looks different, that in some ways we are all homeless, and for some of us it's just more obvious. What might it mean for us to find our home in God? How does Western help you find your home?
We hunger for all kinds of things: food, comfort, love, meaning, beauty, fulfillment, to name a few. Being hungry isn't a bad thing, until our hungers become insatiable cravings. Jesus seems to say that our hungry souls truly long for what only God can offer. What would it look like if we truly had a taste of "living bread"? John 6:24-26; Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16
The text for this sermon reveals for us a truth that, like the bread and fish shared by a boy in the crowd, God’s forgiveness has the power to multiply as it is shared freely with all God’s children so that all may have their fill – wronged one and wrong doer, murderer and murder victims’ survivor; people of color and people of privilege. There is always more grace and love leftover beyond forgiveness to work for reconciliation with each other and with God.
The author of Ephesians tells his hearers that Christ has torn down the dividing walls between them, that formerly hostile groups are now part of one humanity, no longer strangers. Considering the divisions in our world today, what if we really believed the wall was already down, that a truce was already made? Ephesians 2:11-22; 2 Samuel 7:1-14a
"The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it," proclaims Psalm 24. Forgetting the wisdom of God's unique power can prove dangerous, as we discover when we think the earth is ours to do with as we please. Mark's gospel shows the danger of what happens when we forget God's power at work in the lives of others, and try to claim some of that power for ourselves. How do you remember God's power in your life? How does it help you prioritize and keep perspective? Mark 6:14-29, Psalm 24
In this Sunday's gospel, Jesus calls his disciples to leave home without everything except for one outfit, and to wear sandals. In a "don't leave home without it" culture, what does it mean to follow Jesus today? On a weekend when we celebrate national independence, what if we are called to be inter-dependent, on God and on each other? At a time when our nation is struggling to move beyond some of our racial baggage, how might Christians model letting go of anything that keeps us divided or insular? And can these questions really be answered in twelve minutes or less? Mark 6:1-3, 2 Samuel 5:1-5
In the passages for this week, God's people are full of anxiety. In one story they face a storm; in the other they face a giant; in both, they end up safe. What does this mean for us who face our own storms or giants? Mark 4:35-41; 1 Samuel 17 (selections)
Money influencing leaders - it's in the news again but nothing new. What shapes Christian perspectives on power and leadership? 2 Corinthians 4:16 - 5:1; 1 Samuel 8:4-20
In Laura's first sermon at Western Presbyterian Church as pastor, she encourages us to think of the ways that God is present to us in our ordinary lives. Jesus comes to help us to know of the truth of God's love for us. How is it that we, in our daily lives, live in a way that is attuned to what God is doing in the world? How is God's kingdom present here and now?
As the interim period comes to an end for Western Presbyterian Church, Pastor Leslianne was asked what words of wisdom she wants to leave the congregation before she departs. In her final sermon at Western Presbyterian Church, she tells the story of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.