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Sermon for August 29, 2021 from Pastor John

Sermon for August 29, 2021 ++++++++      I first noticed the poster in the dentist’s office during a routine cleaning. This was during the time of stressing pre-cautions to stop or at least slow the spread of the COVID virus. The poster stressed the “Three W’s: Wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.” So we began to wash our hands more than any other time. I heard people joke that they have washed so many times during the day their hands were red and nearly raw.      We all would agree that washing hands is good hygiene. We also are careful to wash the fruits and vegetables purchased at the store. And we all wash dishes, pots and pans after cooking and eating. In the gospel reading today we heard the Pharisees and the scribes from the Temple in Jerusalem thought washing hands, food, pots and pans was a good idea. The reason was to avoid defilement, a lifestyle that was somehow spiritually not pure. The Pharisees and scribes were serious about their relationship with God and hand-washing and more were part of living out their faith. Now such washing was not a commandment in the Bible. The only ones commanded to wash hands and feet were the priests before they entered the sanctuary to carry out their religious duties. The scribes and Pharisees wished to live like priests thinking that their whole lives were lived in the presence of God. We can have sympathy with their motives and although not commanded, the hand-washing for purity became a tradition passed down from the elders. The concern for purity was an important tradition and so the scribes and Pharisees, who always seemed to keep close watch on Jesus and his disciples like referees, blew the whistle when they...

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Sermon for August 22, 2021 from Pastor John

Sermon for August 22, 2021 ++++++++      How many of you remember your Confirmation Day? For me it was sometime in the spring of 1967. My parents had me wear a white shirt with a bow tie. Myself, and my 30 or so other classmates were given white robes to wear. I really looked nerdy with my black rimmed glasses. The church was packed to capacity as all the confirmands processed into the church. We did not read Bible verses or faith statements. But one thing we did do as a class. The pastors wanted the class to sing; and so we sang the hymn: “O Take my Hand Dear Father and Lead thou Me.” As a class we confessed our faith using the words of the Apostles’ Creed. And then asking God to help and guide, each one promised to “serve all people following the example of Jesus”. And then came the prayer for the power of the Holy Spirit: “Father in heaven for Jesus’ sake, stir up in us the power of the Holy Spirit, confirm our faith, guide out lives, empower us in their serving, give patience in suffering, and bring is to everlasting life.” The Confirmation prayers guide us not to forget that faith, trust in God, is accompanied by serving God. The first reading from Joshua almost sounds like a Confirmation service. Joshua is the leader after the death of Moses, and he led the people of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua gathered all the people: VIPs as well as the common folks. Joshua preached a sermon that was all about the grace and deliverance of God that went all the way back to the call of Abraham. By the way they gathered at the city of Shechem where hundreds of years before, Abraham...

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Sermon for August 15, 2021 from Pastor John

Sermon for August 15, 2021 +++++++      My favorite meal to eat in a restaurant is breakfast. One of these days I feel like asking the waitress, “Do you talk in your sleep, saying things like ‘white, wheat, rye, raisin or sour dough?’ Toast is a part of many breakfast selections and so the waitress must repeat the choices many times during their time at work. Bread is an important part of our diets, whether it be your breakfast toast, sandwiches or hot dog buns. In the times of the Bible one could say bread was the main part of common person’s diet. In the Hebrew language the word of bread, “Lechem” could also simply mean ‘food’. There was even a town named after bread, Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread”. It is fitting that Jesus, the Bread of Life, was born in Bethlehem. At one time Jesus was very popular because of the sign of a small boy’s lunch of five barley loaves and dried fish, barely enough to feed one person, ended up being enough to feed 5,000 people with plenty of leftovers. In the Gospel of John Jesus personally handed out bread to each person in the multitude, a wonderful sign pointing out who Jesus is. Jesus came down from heaven concerned about the hunger of people. The people were glad to have their empty stomachs filled. They called Jesus a prophet, one who reveals the will of God. But the people knew they would be hungry again so they wanted Jesus to be their King, and keep the loaves of bread coming. Jesus could not be their king as the crowd saw fit. The people in the crowd wanted an abundance of bread, for food is life. Jesus came from heaven to meet another hunger, hunger...

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