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..
Jesus was in the Temple and he was asked by a curious scribe, ‘Which commandment is first of all?’ Jesus responds with a two-fold answer – to love God and to love neighbor. As people of faith, how might we embody confidence in this two-fold mandate?
A common refrain in the scripture passage for this Sunday is Jesus asking, “What can I do for you?” How might you answer his question?
In the spiritual culture of the British Isles, a thin place is where heaven and earth come close, where time slows down and we experience the sacred in the midst of the secular world. After being told they had to pick up their own crosses, three of the disciples had just such an experience with Jesus. Where have you had such a time, specifically in the midst of serving others or working for something much larger than yourself? How might Western continue to be such a thin place? We'll also hear from Lisa Delity of Heeding God's Call to End Gun Violence as we prepare to install the memorial for those who lost lives to gun violence in 2014.
Two women need Jesus's healing. One is an outsider, considered unclean because of her illness. The other is a daughter of a leader in the community. Jesus heals them both, a dramatic sign for them and their communities. Where do you see signs of healing - of body, mind, and spirit - of the wholeness God is still working through Jesus's ministry today? In individuals? In our church?
This week we hear from Jesus's parables in Mark as we celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King. In parables, Jesus retold every day events to evoke a change of mind and heart, for the sake of God's kingdom, what King called the beloved community. What contemporary events might become today's parables - ordinary tales for the sake of change in God's direction?
The Scripture text for this sermon tells the story of a group of friends so desperate to see Jesus, they get on his roof, dig a hole through it and lower their friend suffering from paralysis into the room with Jesus. I marvel at the hope and faith those five friends possessed to have taken such a bold action. What paralysis experienced among us would motivate us to act so boldly, would compel us to think so creatively, would make us so anxious for change that together we would seek out healing so aggressively?
As the new year brings new beginnings, the beginning of Mark's gospel offers an entirely different beginning to the story of Jesus, one that skips over his birth to emphasize the beginning of his ministry. In the light of Epiphany, or the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus, what might Mark's different beginning have to do with our own new beginnings?
This Sunday brings two pieces of poetry from Luke's gospel - the Magnificat in Mary's voice and the Benedictus (blessing) in the voice of Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. Both invite us to see the event of Jesus's birth in light of God's promises of deliverance, mercy and peace, as a world-changing event.
In a world reeling from violence, Isaiah's words of comfort are needed more than ever.
Scott, President and CEO of Miriam's Kitchen, and Albert, a housing case manager with MK, share their reflections on the work that MK and Western partner in to serve the most vulnerable in our midst.
Loss of hope in the way the world works is nothing new, each time God has a way of speaking a word of hope, just when it is needed most. As we enter the season of Advent, we hear the story of King Josiah's discovery of a new scroll, one that reminded the people of God's ancient words of hope, and look forward to Christ's coming as the Word of Hope like no other.
We hear the term 'idol' and we think that we don't worship those - we don't worship golden calves. But, what are our functional idols or icons? What do you make sacrifices to and for?
Our daily lives are wrought with decisions to make - what to eat for breakfast; where to go for lunch; how to prioritize the 'to do' when there's not enough time to do it all; how to respond to hurt feelings or how we behave when we meet someone who is different from us. And, each day, we have a decision to make - who is the God we will follow today? Is it a hopeful God?
What comes to mind when you hear the word "servant"? For Downton Abbey fans, it's probably someone in a black uniform with a white apron. Feminists have critiqued the idea of "servant" as a model of faith, saying it encourages subservience. But Christian faith points to something more when it comes to serving. On this All Saints' Day, we'll consider the servants whose faith has shaped our own serving.
Scripture tells us that when David regained the ark of the covenant from his Philistine enemies, he led it in a dancing procession all the way back to his capital city. But scripture does not tell us whether he was truly praising God, or rather marching in an ancient near eastern ritual dance playing a mythic victor. Was David an admirable leader or a self-promoting conqueror? What can we learn from him and from the response of his wife Michal as we both use and respond to leadership today?