Recent Sermons


May Love Overflow

Advent II December 9, 2018 Philippians 1:3-11 Rev. Alice Fleming Townley A few weeks ago, after worship had ended, and nearly everyone had left the sanctuary, my eyes met the radiant face of a visitor. “Do you remember me?”  she asked expectantly. I didn’t want to disappoint her because I couldn’t think of her name, but I did remember her story and why she returns each year. Years ago, her son Matthew was a student Michigan State student and volunteered at Sparrow hospital.  One day he pushed Phil Henderson’s[i] wheelchair from his hospital room, ...

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A People Prepared for the Lord

Advent I Luke 1:5-20 Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. December 2, 2018 It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…. How do we begin to tell a story—to tell the story? Charles Dickens’ description of life in Paris during the French Revolution is so poignant and relevant that it also describes this moment in Washington, New York, Bejing, and Lansing. “Four score and seven ...

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Following Christ the King

November 20, 2018 John 18:33-38a Rev. Alice Fleming Townley The year was 1935, and young Howard Thurman chaired a delegation to foster friendship between students from American and students from India, Burma and Ceylon.  As they traveled, there were conferences, dinners, and outings, but it was one late night conversation in Ceylon, after everyone else had left the room, that long stayed with Howard Thurman. The young man asked how Thurman could be Christian.  “How could you, more than 300 years ago your forefathers were taken from Western Africa as slaves.  ...

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Ordinary Grace

Ruth 1:1-18 Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. November 4, 2018 All Saints Last Spring, my grandson, Liam—who was then a 2nd Grader—was assigned to write a book as part of their Earth Science curriculum, albeit a small book. The children learned information about our planet, and each child then chose what information to include in a book—things that seemed important to each individual. Then they illustrated their work, and composed a page that was “About the Author,” and a dedication page. Then the teacher sent these small, personal books out to be bound, ...

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Glimpses of the Kingdom

Mark 10:17-31 Alice Fleming Townley October 14, 2018 As Jesus was setting out on a journey . . . a man ran up to him and knelt before him. “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “You know what to do, you know the commandments.’ “I have kept them, all of them, always.” Jesus looked at him, loved him, and said, “You lack one thing, go sell all you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, then come follow me.” When the rich man heard this, he was shocked and left disheartened. What this ...

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Blind, but now I see

Mark 10:46-52 Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. October 28, 2018 Reformation Sunday Jericho lies down in the valley just a few miles from Jerusalem. It is just a few miles, but it is a notoriously dangerous road, known to be full of thieves and bandits. Now Jesus and the disciples are quite literally on their way up to Jerusalem. In the Middle East, village people show honor to an important guest by going some distance out of town to welcome the guest in, and to escort the guest back out of town.  In the early 1960s, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassar paid a ...

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