January 13, 2019, Baptism of Jesus , Rev. Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson

Isaiah 43:1-7, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Will you pray with me?

Holy God, we come before you just as we are. Be with us, we pray. Receive the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think. May these words and thoughts please you and may they bring us closer to your spirit. Amen.

Let me tell you a story. It is not my story. In fact, at this point the story is third hand. I read Rev. Jan Richardson’s version of the story, and she heard the story from one of her mentors and friends the Rev. Janet Wolf who served as the pastor of Hobson United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Rev. Richardson tells this story so eloquently that I have done little to change it as I share it with you all today.

Sermon for Epiphany: January 6, 2019

The night closes darkly around us. Our headlights cut a narrow pathway ahead, otherwise darkness stretches as far as the eye can see. Our Toyota Corolla bumps along the dirt road towards home after a long Sunday in Dombodema, one of the church outposts where my parents serve as ministers here in Zimbabwe.

They often attend these rural churches on their own, but today it was a full-family affair, and we left home at first light. When abafundisi, the ministers, come once every few months, church lasts the whole day with worship followed by lunch and then an afternoon-long leadership meeting and perhaps a home visit. Not exactly a child’s idea of a fun day, but thankfully, apart from worship, my brother and I are free to entertain ourselves. Sometimes a group of neighborhood kids will invite us to join them in a game of matshayana -- the Zimbabwean equivalent of dodge ball.

Christmas Eve Reflection: Ready or Not  December 24, 2018

Will you pray with me? Holy God, you speak to us in word and song and silence. Open our hearts that we may receive your Spirit of love. And now, may the words of my mouth and the thoughts of all of our hearts bring us ever closer to you, O God, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.

The darkness deepens. The night grows long and cold. You can hear the wind whistling through the cracks in the walls, the creak of an old tree outside, the scurry or squeak of mice in the hay, the occasional mooing of a cow or braying of a donkey. Perhaps you hear the yip or the howl of a dog in the distance.

The moans of child birth have increased in intensity. Joseph, not sure how else to help, wipes Mary’s sweating brow and tries to believe the words of encouragement he whispers to her: “You’re doing great, sweetheart. Not long now. It’ll all be okay. Just breathe.”

Previous sermons

December 9, 2018 - Preparing God’s Way of Peace

December 2, 2018 - The Light of Hope

November 25, 2018 - Look, Consider, Strive

May 27, 2018 - Mysterious Encounter

April 22, 2018 - Love in Deed

April 8, 2018 - Hope Renewed 

March 4, 2018 - Living in Covenant: The Way to Freedom

February 18, 2018 - Living in Covenant: The Earth

September 17 2017 - The End

September 3 2017 - Reflect

August 20 2017 - Sharing the Word

August 13 2017 - Fresh Start

August 6 2017 - D is for Delight