L1: Today is the third Sunday in Lent. We remember Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. Each week the Light of the World diminishes.
L2: Priests and Levites are sent from Jerusalem to ask John the Baptist about his identity.
P: Are you the Messiah? Are you Elijah? Are you the prophet?
L1: John answers, “No, but I am the voice crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’”
P: While John was not the light, he came as a witness to testify to the light.
L2: The next day John sees Jesus and declares, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! I saw the Spirit descend on him like a dove; this is the Son of God.”
P: Whoever follows him will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.
L1: Yet this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people love darkness rather than light because they don’t want their evil deeds exposed.
P: He came to his own; his own people did not accept him, and a shadow darkens that light.
L2: (Leading unison prayer): Let us pray in one voice:
U: None of us want a searchlight exposing the secrets of our souls. Yet Jesus promises that everything covered up will be uncovered, all that is hidden will be disclosed, even shouted from rooftops. All our deeds, brought to light? Is it any wonder he wasn’t accepted then, or now? Instead of straightening our ways for the Lord, we often make them crooked, and our shadows darken that light. (Extinguish candle). Forgive us, O God, in your great mercy. Amen.
Scripture (Matthew 14:22-33)
Our reading comes from the good news according to Matthew.
22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.
23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.
25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea.
26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.
27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus.
30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Here ends our reading. May God bless our understanding.
@Copyrighted by Rev. Dr. Troy Sybrant Sermon: “Stepping Out on Faith” (Matthew 14:22-33) Sunday March 4, 2018
@Copyrighted by Troy Sybrant Sermon: Of Storms and Shipwrecks Jonah 1:1-17; Acts 27:1-2, 7, 9-11, 13-15, 18-26, 30-44 Sunday November 2, 2014
Call to Worship: (Prior to the Sermon)
L: In the midst of storms it’s easy to lose sight of the horizon.
P: Yet if we keep our eyes fixed on God we are not lost.
L: When waves and wind whip us about, we can lose heart.
P: Yet if we remember God is with us we can take heart.
L: On this voyage we’re on we will face perils.
P: Yet let us be courageous, for God has overcome the world!
SCRIPTURE Jonah 1:1-17
Our first reading comes from the book of Jonah. Listen for God’s word.
1Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, 2“Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” 3But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
4But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a mighty storm came upon the sea that the ship threatened to break up. 5Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried to his god. They threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten it for them. Jonah, meanwhile, had gone down into the hold of the ship and had lain down, and was fast asleep. 6The captain came and said to him, “What are you doing sound asleep? Get up, call on your god! Perhaps the god will spare us a thought so that we do not perish.” 7The sailors said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, so that we may know on whose account this calamity has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8Then they said to him, “Tell us why this calamity has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9“I am a Hebrew,” he replied. “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10Then the men were even more afraid, and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them so.
11Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea was growing more and more tempestuous. 12He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great storm has come upon you.” 13Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring the ship back to land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more stormy against them. 14Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, O Lord, we pray, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life. Do not make us guilty of innocent blood; for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15So they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging. 16Then the men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. 17But the Lord provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Our second reading comes from the Acts of the Apostles.
Acts 27:1-2, 7, 9-11, 13-15, 18-26, 30-44
1When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius. 2Embarking on a ship of Adramyttium that was about to set sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. 7We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind was against us, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. 9Since much time had been lost and sailing was now dangerous, because even the Fast had already gone by, Paul advised them, 10saying, “Sirs, I can see that the voyage will be with danger and much heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.
13When a moderate south wind began to blow, they thought they could achieve their purpose; so they weighed anchor and began to sail past Crete, close to the shore. 14But soon a violent wind, called the northeaster, rushed down from Crete. 15Since the ship was caught and could not be turned head-on into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven. 18We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard, 19and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship’s tackle overboard. 20When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.
21Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss. 22I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23For last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.’ 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26But we will have to run aground on some island.”
30When the sailors tried to escape from the ship and had lowered the boat into the sea, on the pretext of putting out anchors from the bow, 31Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat and set it adrift.
33Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having eaten nothing. 34Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads.” 35After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat. 36Then all of them were encouraged and took food for themselves. 37(We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons in the ship.) 38After they had satisfied their hunger, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.
39In the morning they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned to run the ship ashore, if they could. 40So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea. At the same time they loosened the ropes that tied the steering-oars; then hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. 41But striking a reef, they ran the ship aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves. 42The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none might swim away and escape; 43but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, 44and the rest to follow, some on planks and others on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.
Here ends our readings. May God bless our hearing and understanding.
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@Copyrighted by Troy Sybrant Sermon: All Aboard the Ark of Salvation Genesis 6:5-22; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Wisdom of Solomon 14:1-7 Sunday October 26, 2014
Scripture (Genesis 6:5-22; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Wisdom of Solomon 14:1-7)
Our first reading comes from the book of Genesis.
Listen for God’s word.
5The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.
6And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
8But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord. 9These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. 10And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth.
13And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. 14Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. 21Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.”
22Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.
Our second reading comes from the first letter of Peter.
18For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
Our third reading comes from the Wisdom of Solomon.
1Again, one preparing to sail and about to voyage over raging waves calls upon a piece of wood more fragile than the ship that carries him. 2 For it was desire for gain that planned that vessel, and wisdom was the artisan who built it; 3 but it is your providence, O Father, that steers its course, because you have given it a path in the sea, and a safe way through the waves, 4showing that you can save from every danger, so that even a person who lacks skill may put to sea. 5 It is your will that works of your wisdom should not be without effect; therefore people trust their lives even to the smallest piece of wood, and passing through the billows on a raft they come safely to land. 6 For even in the beginning, when arrogant giants were perishing, the hope of the world took refuge on a raft, and guided by your hand left to the world the seed of a new generation. 7 For blessed is the wood by which righteousness comes.
Here ends our readings. May God bless our hearing and understanding.
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@Copyrighted by Troy Sybrant; Sermon: Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea Genesis 1:1-10, 20-21; Job 41:1-2, 7-34 Sunday October 12, 2014
Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea
Genesis 1:1-10, 20-21; Job 41:1-2, 7-34
SCRIPTURE Genesis 1:1-10, 20-21
1In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
20And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” 21So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
Job 41:1-2, 7-34
1“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook, or press down its tongue with a cord? 2Can you put a rope in its nose, or pierce its jaw with a hook? 7Can you fill its skin with harpoons, or its head with fishing spears? 8Lay hands on it; think of the battle; you will not do it again! 9Any hope of capturing it will be disappointed; were not even the gods overwhelmed at the sight of it? 10No one is so fierce as to dare to stir it up. Who can stand before it?
11Who can confront it and be safe? —under the whole heaven, who? 12“I will not keep silence concerning its limbs, or its mighty strength, or its splendid frame. 13Who can strip off its outer garment? Who can penetrate its double coat of mail? 14Who can open the doors of its face? There is terror all around its teeth. 15Its back is made of shields in rows, shut up closely as with a seal. 16One is so near to another that no air can come between them. 17They are joined one to another; they clasp each other and cannot be separated. 18Its sneezes flash forth light, and its eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn. 19From its mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap out. 20Out of its nostrils comes smoke, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. 21Its breath kindles coals, and a flame comes out of its mouth. 22In its neck abides strength, and terror dances before it. 23The folds of its flesh cling together; it is firmly cast and immovable. 24Its heart is as hard as stone, as hard as the lower millstone. 25When it raises itself up the gods are afraid; at the crashing they are beside themselves. 26Though the sword reaches it, it does not avail, nor does the spear, the dart, or the javelin. 27It counts iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood. 28The arrow cannot make it flee; slingstones, for it, are turned to chaff. 29Clubs are counted as chaff; it laughs at the rattle of javelins. 30Its underparts are like sharp potsherds; it spreads itself like a threshing sledge on the mire. 31It makes the deep boil like a pot; it makes the sea like a pot of ointment. 32It leaves a shining wake behind it; one would think the deep to be white-haired. 33On earth it has no equal, a creature without fear. 34It surveys everything that is lofty; it is king over all that are proud.”
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“The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” from C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series.. When you click on this video you can select “cc” to put on captions.