A welcoming, reconciling congregation with open hearts, open minds and open doors to ALL

Sermons by Rev. Joan Pell

flawed & convicted

Flawed & Convicted

This story is often portrayed as one of adultery. Two consenting married people having an affair outside of marriage. And if that is what David did, then that is definitely not good. It is breaking God’s laws and is not what God ordains marriage for. But there are others, who see something even worse in this passage. Was it really adultery? Or did King David rape Bathsheba? (2 Samuel 11:1-17, 26-27)

Trigger Warning: Today’s scripture is the story of David and Bathsheba. The sermon will touch on subjects that may make some of you uncomfortable. I hope you will come and be present to that feeling and stay to work through it. For others, the feeling might be more visceral, so please take care of yourself.

governing & setbacks

Governing & Setbacks

Kind David showed great confidence, submission and courage as he acted on his understanding of God’s will. From fighting Goliath, to not fighting King Saul when his life was threatened, to transforming Jerusalem into a holy city, and bringing the ark into its walls. He remained a faithful despite opposition and odds that were against him. Forty years was a long time to reign. It wasn’t a democracy, and in today’s terms, we would say he was a dictator. But as we know, unpopular dictators are eventually overthrown, whereas David was not; he died of old age. While his military prowess makes us uncomfortable today, nevertheless, he is described as “a man after God’s own heart.” (2 Samuel 5:1-5, 6:1-5)

loyalty & lament

Loyalty & Lament

David is a complex character in this story. He is a warrior, a mercenary. Where’s the word of God in it for us? What I am hearing in this is loyalty. For David, God’s anointed king may be ineffective, but King Saul still holds the commission to lead. (1 Samuel 18:1-11)

unlikely hero

Unlikely Hero

We love stories where the underdog wins. We look at these types of stories with awe as the participants face overwhelming odds and almost certain defeat. David does not let others’ expectations impede his success.  David’s action reminds us that God may already have empowered us for a task, if we have the courage to draw on those skills and resources. (1 Samuel 17:1-50)

chosen & anointed

Chosen & Anointed

I’m sure you all remember the fairy tale Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. In it the Queen asks “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of us all?” Children are often fascinated by mirrors. Dogs too, although I suspect they think it is another dog! But adults? Not so much! How about you? Do you like looking in a mirror? Other than checking your hair or make-up, tying your tie? Our scripture today teaches us that God does not look at outward appearances. God looks into our hearts. (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

do it anyway

Do It Anyway

Jesus calls this story the parable of the sower. It is not so surprising that the seeds in the good soil grew. The surprise is that the sower threw his valuable seed everywhere. Our extravagantly wasteful sower God never gives up on us calls us to take risks and be equally generous in mission. (Mark 4:1-8, 13-20)

catching fire

Catching Fire

We trust in a God who is faithful, a God who brings Resurrection, who out of the ashes fans the embers into flames, who uses fire to refine, who brings new life from dead bones, who sows seeds on rocky ground, and watches them spring to life. We have our Wesleyan legacy, a legacy filled with the Holy Spirit and men and women bursting to tell their stories. I see a community right here that welcomes all without judgment: gay and straight, able-bodied and differently-abled, crying babies and those with dementia, dogs and humans, those with homes and those searching for one. And that includes you, so, go light a fire! (Acts 10:34-48)

persevering to the end

Persevering to the End

Wesley’s preaching offended many as he called folk to a deeper level of commitment and pursuit of a holy life. For 19 years, he had stones, rotten tomatoes, and manure thrown at him and was attacked by mobs and hassled and harassed. Wherever he went there were some who listened and came to faith, and he never gave up! By his 70’s and 80’s he was a national hero. What an example of perseverance. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-7)