Blossoms in the desert, streams in the dry land. Blind eyes that are opened and lonely people led home. Talitha Arnold says that's the vision of Isaiah--joy that comes as a complete surprise. Joy that comes not from our deserving, but from all God's doing.
In her sermon for the 2nd Sunday of Advent, Talitha Arnold says, may John's cry in the wilderness bring us back to the Creator of heaven and earth. May his cry change our lives that we might love this world--its people, its forests, its fields, this earth--as God so loves.
As she guides us into Advent, Theresa S. Thames says this is the season of celebration, joy, and wonder--not just in what was, but in what could be. Now is the time! Imagine how we could be instruments of grace, peace, justice, and hope in a battered, discouraged, exhausted, and torn world.
Here's the gospel, Matt Gaventa says: More than it ever has, the world needs a church that moves. Because Jesus is on the move, and he always has been. And you can't follow Jesus by standing still.
Bill Carter says Isaiah offers a holy invitation to live the dream God has for us all. To live as generously as Jesus. To respect, serve, and love one another. It's not enough to have the dream; the dream must also take flesh in our lives.
Noel Schoonmaker says resurrection is the conviction on which Christianity is built. Jesus not only proclaimed resurrection, he also personified it. For after he died on the cross, he arose from the grave, promising all who follow him that we shall likewise find life on the other side of death.
Bishop Regina Hassanally says we are defined not by our sins; rather we are, as beloved children of God, first and foremost defined by grace--and this is the capital T Truth. It is a truth we need reminding of again and again until it takes root and forms us from the inside out.
Mandy Sayers says whenever anybody realizes they cannot earn their way into God's heart, that's when God's eyes begin to sparkle. Because that person is ready to serve - to share the love of Jesus with Pharisees, tax collectors, and everybody in between.
Ruth Pattison asks, could Jesus' lesson on prayer mean that prayer is to listen for the whisper, 'don't let go'? Or prayer could simply be to answer the door, annoyed or not. Or prayer could be to wrestle with god in human form until dawn breaks.
Amy McCullough says Jesus sees us, as he did the 10 persons with leprosy. Moments when we experience Jesus seeing us are healing - they nurture our faith in the One who can transform us from isolated exiles into beloved children.
John Thompson-Quartey says by telling his disciples they only need a tiny faith to be agents of transformation, Jesus affirms our own daily lives as opportunities for God's grace to transform lives around us.
David Jordan says 1 Timothy 6 tells us we were made for this time, and God's eternal presence is in us, with us, and among us. Now, let's life into the reality God has already set in motion.
Dennis Patterson encourages us to imagine a faith that believes you don’t have to end where you started, to imagine a God who recognizes and celebrates the potential you have even when you are failing miserably. This is our God!
Dr. Teresa Fry Brown encourages us to pray David's prayer to create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me - to cure us of our heart conditions!
Dr. Jarrod Longbons hears Jesus say, "Beloved, stop trying to win. Just follow me, and do the next faithful thing. Reassess what is important to you, and take up your cross and follow me. You may transform the world."
Katie Aumann says Jesus' parable in Luke 14 reminds us that the ushering in of the kingdom of heaven begins at ordinary places like the dinner tables we gather around every day. At his table, none are worthy, but all are welcome.
Dr. Ruthanna Hooke says, whatever your burdens may be, Jesus' urgent desire is your freedom--freedom to choose God, to follow Christ, to be led by the Holy Spirit, and to be the particular person God has created you to be.
The Rev. Jasmine Smothers says there will be days when our faith by itself is simply not enough. God created us to need the saints, so our faith is incomplete without the faith of others.
In her sermon on Psalm 10, the Rev. Dr. Lisa Goods calls us to have hope in the midst of our tears, because God does see, and God has given us the power to make a difference through our voices.
In his sermon on Jesus parable in Luke 12, Ben Stewart says we are both physically and spiritually part of the good earth, made from good soil, fertile ground, and created to participate in the generosity of the earth rather than to fight against it, to share in it rather than trying to contain and hoard it.