Seekers recognizes that any member of the community may be called upon by God to give us the Word, and thus we have an open pulpit with a different preacher each week. Sermons preached at Seekers, as well as sermons preached by Seekers at other churches or events, are posted here, beginning with the most recent.
Feel free to use what is helpful from these sermons. We only ask that when substantial portions are abstracted or used in a written work, please credit Seekers Church and the author, and cite the URL.
July 25, 2021
As we just heard, in our Gospel reading for today there are two stories about Jesus doing impossible things. I’ll get to the second story, about Jesus walking on water, later. In the first story, Jesus creates a feast for thousands out of a couple of fish and a few pieces of pita, and when everybody had had enough to eat, there were twelve baskets full of leftovers.
There are a lot of stories about Jesus sharing food and drink with others. Whether turning water into wine for the wedding guests at Cana, dining with tax collectors and sinners in the house of Levi, eating an intimate meal with friends in the home of Mary and Martha, having grilled fish for breakfast on the shore with his surprised followers after they had seen him die on the cross, or, as in today’s Gospel, providing abundance where there seemed to be nothing, it is clear that Jesus knew sharing meals with others is important to human thriving.
While the story of the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples on the night before his passion and death is most closely connected to our celebration of Holy Communion — or what in other traditions is often called Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper — all of the stories in the various gospels in which Jesus is shown eating and drinking, as well as the parables that involve feasting or other meals, enrich our understanding of the symbolic meal that we call Communion.
July 18, 2021
In being asked to speak on the work of the Festival Center I wanted to do so through the lens of one of the passages for today. So, while this will not be an exegetical message on Ephesians 2:11-22, I did find the passage in Ephesians to be fruitful for reflection.
The passage begins actually tying us, as readers, to the first ten verses in chapter 2. The Greek word, dia, which is the first word used in verse 11 is translated in the NRSV as, “so then.” Thus, as I will focus on the work of the Festival Center through verses 11-22, everything Paul describes in the second half of this chapter emanates from the first ten verses which focuses on Jesus’ gift of salvation. Though we were, “dead in our sins, we have been made alive in Christ…for we have been saved by grace through faith.”
As the Body of Christ, this is what we share in common. We may – we in fact do disagree on many issues, both theological and political, social and cultural, but what binds us together is nothing of what we have accomplished on our own, but rather, what Jesus has done and has so sacrificially gifted to us. So, Paul starts the second half of this chapter by speaking specifically to the Gentiles and advising them to remember that at birth they were far away – from one another and from Christ. They were estranged, but by God’s grace they have been brought near. Wesley calls this form of grace prevenient, God’s unseen love wooing us into relationship with God even when we cannot identify it as God’s grace. Thus, we see here that the missional love of Jesus is rooted in Jesus’ call on our lives.
July 11, 2021
With the backdrop of facts vs fiction hovering over us daily, the reading from Mark triggered a sense of hope in me. Today I want to talk about the enlightenment this passage has brought to my heart. The Bible talks of “being filled with the Holy Spirit,” The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous describes this as a spiritual awakening. I suggest that our spiritual experiences can and do transform both us and our traditions. A tradition according to Merriam-Webster is “the handing down of information, beliefs, or customs from one generation to another.” From the Oxford Languages dictionary Theology tradition “is a doctrine believed to have divine authority though not in the scriptures.”
Where do our spiritual journeys begin?
Is your spiritual journey defined by your traditions? Which traditions have had the most influence: Career, family, religious, cathartic, unexplained experiences of enlightenment and wonder, therapy?
July 4, 2021
In our School of Christian Living this spring, the Reverend Maybelle Bennett from the Covenant Christian Community and Marjory Bankson facilitated an exploration of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical, Hamilton. The class had about equal numbers of Seekers and Covenant members, and about equal numbers of Blacks and Whites. Because Hamilton had been cast with people of color in almost all its roles, it helped us see the founding of our nation with a new perspective. I found the discussions to be enlightening.
One of its themes is sung by George Washington, who had learned that “You have no control: who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” At the end he sings this again, and then is joined by the entire company to ask, “Will they tell your story? Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” On our nation’s 245th birthday, we are struggling with whose story it is and isn’t and therefore what our national story is and isn’t, who is and who isn’t allowed to tell it from their perspective, and even how and to whom it shall and shall not be told. Suffice it to say that the story of America I was taught is NOT our nation’s entire story; nor is our entire nation’s story. It was and is primarily White Christian men’s story.
June 27, 2021
I understand that you have been focusing on the Trinity for three weeks, and are now considering the trinitarian journey – the “Journey Inward, Journey Outward, Journey Together.” I am here to share with you today about the journey inward. I will share from my own experience and my experience at Dayspring as the director of the Silent Retreat Center.
So, what is the journey inward, or the inward journey? It is the journey into the self, by which we know ourselves more deeply, including the things we feel guilty about and suppress, our fears and regrets, as well as hidden treasures. We also come to know more fully the mystery of our own soul, where we are touched by and in relationship with the Holy One, in our depths. Gordon Cosby put it this way in the introduction to Elizabeth O’Connor’s book Search of Silence: “The one journey that ultimately matters is the journey into the place of stillness deep within one’s self. To reach that place is to be home; to fail to reach it is to be forever restless. At the place of ‘central silence,’ one’s own life and spirit are united with the life and Spirit of God. The fire of God’s presence is experienced. The soul is immersed in love.” Prayer, meditation, silent retreat, immersion in nature, journaling and creativity are all aspects of the journey inward. A part of this work is taking dreams and visions seriously, working to understand and assimilate them.