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Sermons by Rev. Joan Pell

journeying together

Journeying Together

When our lives enter uncharted territory, it is always good to have a mentor to go to; someone who is on a similar journey but ahead of us, who can give us some advice. Someone who can see things that we do not always notice ourselves. (Luke 1:39-45, 56)

holy disruptions

Holy Disruptions

An angel appears to Mary surprising her and disrupting her day. When God calls, sometimes, what you are asked to do is risky. Has God ever interrupted your day? An angel is a messenger of God. We have all heard tales of supernatural encounters. But sometimes, angels are real people, a stranger or a friend. God uses different ways to nudge us and bring about a holy disruption. (Luke 1:26-38)

waiting in the silence

Waiting in the Silence

The weeks leading up to Christmas are busy and noisy times. Every shop is playing Christmas carols in a continuous loop. Retailers are ramping up their advertisements enticing us to spend more and more. We are bombarded with invitations for Christmas concerts, plays, parties, dinners etc. and are calendars are over-full with clashing engagements. Our…

making all things new

Making All Things New

Gratitude awakes us to a new sense of who we are individually and in community. It gives us a new story; we are all beneficiaries and in turn we are all benefactors to each other. Gratitude calls us to sit together and imagine the world as a table of hospitality. Gratitude makes all things new. (Luke 19:1-10, Colossians 2:6-7)

blessing everyone

Blessing Everyone

Individual gratefulness is a disposition that can be chosen and cultivated in a way that manifests itself as actions, where each choice leads to more gratitude and a spiral of appreciation. So too, communal gratefulness and joy as we celebrate together, can also manifest itself as actions. Once you have empathy for others and a shared thankfulness, there is a realization that we cannot be quiet in the face of injustice. And so, gratitude becomes the actions of protest and resistance. (Matthew 5:1-12)

ripples of joy

Ripples of Joy

Gratitude is social. It takes us outside of ourselves. What do you do when something good has happened to you? You tell others! You go home and tell your family, pick up the phone to call a friend, or post on social media. And they celebrate with you. We do that every week at prayer time as we share our joys with one another. And if it is a big milestone, we mark it with a party or a public ceremony. (Mark 14:22-25, Acts 2:43-47)

saying thank you

Saying Thank You

The emotions of gratitude sneak up on us as an unplanned response. But what happens if you are the one who is not overwhelmed with gratefulness. How do we experience gratitude when our feelings are elusive? Perhaps the answer lies in defining gratitude as not just what we feel, but also as what we say and do. Then those actions and habits and practices of gratefulness can begin to change us. (Psalm 95:1-2, Luke 17:11-19)

everything is a gift

Everything is a Gift

Who likes writing thank-you notes? Who finds it a chore? How often do you give a gift and not receive a thank you note? As I write this sermon, I have just remembered a note that I intended to write this week and failed to do. There is a disconnect sometimes between the gratitude we feel and how we act. (Psalm 136:1-9,26, James 1:17)

Bucket Lists

Bucket Lists

Today we are exploring our bucket list for the church; our hopes and our visions for the upcoming year. Bishop Schnase wrote two books that our leaders and maybe you have studied, “Five Practices for Fruitful Congregations” and “Five Practices for Fruitful Living” – this series is about the last practice, Extravagant Generosity; but I want to talk a moment about the other four practices and the dreams that I have. (Joel 2:28, Matthew 6:33, Colossians 3:1)