Recent Sermons


Unbound

Rev. Dr. Robert Carlson
Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. March 29, 2020 John 11 (selected verses) After 40 years in ordained ministry, I confess that I had the arrogance to think I had seen it all. Then this week, the Governor issued a shelter-in-place order, and sent the entire state scurrying into our homes, like so many tombs. I’ve never seen or done anything like this. Walking into this sanctuary, 5 people maintaining 10 feet between us, the space is tomb-like. Even the sound of our voices echo in here, reminding us that the place is empty, that something is missing, and that something ...

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Now I See – A Story Of Bruised Grace

Rev. Dr. Robert Carlson
Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. March 22, 2020 John 9 (selected verses) 9 As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4 We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When he had said this, Jesus spat on ...

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High Noon

Rev. Dr. Robert Carlson
Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. March 19, 2017 John 4:5-15 Well this has been quite a week. A friend spoke to me on Friday, saying, “I know we met and talked on Tuesday—just three days ago—but it seems like that conversation was a month ago, so much has changed since then.” Weary from hearing all the news about the coronavirus, I picked up some light reading, a novel I had read in college: Daniel Defoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year, London, 1665.” You might not recognize the author, Daniel Defoe, but you are probably familiar with his most enduring ...

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Knock in the Night

Rev. Alice Townley
Alice Fleming Townley March 8, 2020 John 3:1-17 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.  He came to Jesus by night.  Night. NIGHT. What are your memories of nighttime visitors? When I was young, my family lived in the parsonage next to the church in Sodus. It was somewhat common to have a daytime knock at the door, with a passing stranger asking for help.  My mother would make them a cup of coffee and take a whole loaf of Wonder bread and make it into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.   But I’ll always remember, when a knock came ...

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Blessed Salt and Light

February 9, 2020 Isaiah 58: 1-12 Matthew 5:13-16 Rev. Alice Fleming Townley Julian of Norwich lived during the 14th century and wrote the oldest surviving book written in English by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love.  During her lifetime she witnessed illness, violence and death with the bubonic plague, peasant revolts and suppression of church reform. She was 30 years old when she became so ill, that a priest came to give her last rites.  He held in front of her face a cross to comfort her.  As Julian gazed, she began to see two things: the face of Jesus, ...

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Guided by Life-Light

Rev. Alice Townley
John 1:1-5 (The Message) Matthew 2:1-12 Alice Fleming Townley January 5, 2020 In the gospel of Matthew, the only recorded visitors to Mary and Joseph after Jesus’ birth were Wise People from the East. And they didn’t arrive right away.  They came from another land, another language, and another religion.  I didn’t give much thought to that until I read Adam Hamilton’s Christianity and World Religions: Questions We Ask About Other Faiths with our adult church school class this fall.  Hamilton has a chapter on Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christ...

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Hope Can’t Wait

December 1, 2019 Isaiah 2: 1-5 Rev. Alice Fleming Townley I didn’t even remember the house at first, which was probably a good thing because if I had I’m not sure I would have gone inside.  We had returned to East Lansing to buy after many months since our initial house hunting trip.  Oh yes, it came back to me as I walked through the door, the bright red room complete with a restaurant sized bar, that opened into the pale colored house around it.  The realtor threw in a few rumors of wild parties and crime.   I come from a Temperance family and had ...

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Comfort and Strength

November 10, 2019 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-5; 13-17 Rev. Alice Fleming Townley Some in Thessalonia worried that times had gotten so bad, maybe they had they missed out on the coming of Jesus and being gathered to him.  Paul reminded them, as he had before, sure there would be ‘a lawless one,’ but even the ‘lawless one’ would not be able to stop the redeeming work of God. New Testament scholar Amy-Jill Levine reflects that the ‘lawless one’ could have been a specific person that readers would have remembered.  Perhaps Paul was referring to one of the ...

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Plant, Build, Encourage

October 13, 2019 Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 Rev. Alice Fleming Townley This letter was written to all those in exile from Jerusalem.  They had been defeated, devastated and forced 500 miles from home.  As the Psalmist lamented, By the rivers of Babylon—there we sat down and there we wept. (Psalm 137:1) Jerusalem had been the promised land and God had lived in the Temple.  “So, where was God?” they wondered.    And they had been God’s chosen people.  “So, who were they now?  How could they go on in a strange land where their enemies gloated over ...

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