Service Bulletins

SVC Bulletin for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Wisdom prepares a feast, sets her table, and invites all to come and eat her bread and drink her wine. The first chapter of John’s gospel owes much to the biblical tradition that imagined Wisdom as existing before anything was created and having a role in the work of creation. Christ, the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24), today invites us to eat his flesh and drink his blood. John’s gospel includes no account of the institution of the Lord’s supper, but here we can’t help hearing Jesus’ words as an invitation to the meal of bread and wine we share.

SVC Bulletin for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus says that the bread he gives for the life of the world is his flesh, and whoever eats this bread has eternal life now and will be raised on the last day. In Ephesians Paul tells us what this life Jesus gives us looks like, this life we live as those marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit in baptism. We live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. The whole purpose of life is giving yourself for the other.

SVC Bulletin for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Apparently not satisfied by Jesus’ feeding of thousands, some who were there press him for a sign of his power; perhaps it is daily manna they want. As always in John’s gospel when people want a sign, Jesus offers himself. He is the bread come from heaven to give life to the world. He calls us to come to him and believe in him, and through that relationship to know the one who sent him.

SVC Bulletin for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Today is the first of five Sundays with gospel readings from John 6, the first four of which focus on Jesus as bread of life. Today Jesus feeds thousands of people with five loaves and two fish. What we have, what we bring to Jesus’ table, seems like it is not nearly enough to meet all the needs we see around us. But it is not the adequacy of our supplies or our skills that finally makes the difference: it is the power of Jesus working in the littlest and least to transform this world into the world God desires, a world where all the hungry are satisfied.

SVC Bulletin for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Mark’s gospel makes clear how great was the press of the crowd, with its countless needs to be met, on Jesus and his disciples. Yet in today’s gospel Jesus advises his disciples to get away and rest, to take care of themselves. Sometimes we think that when others are in great need we shouldn’t think of ourselves at all; but Jesus also honors the caregivers’ need. We are sent from Christ’s table to care for others and for ourselves.

SVC Bulletin for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

When Amos told what he saw when God held up the plumb line of justice next to Israel—that the poor were being trampled—he was a threat to the power of priests and king. John the Baptist also spoke truth to power, and Herod had him beheaded. In Herod’s fear that Jesus is John returned from the dead, we may hear hope for the oppressed: that all the prophets killed through the ages are alive in Jesus. We are called to witness to justice in company with them.

SVC Bulletin for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus does great deeds of power and gives his disciples authority over demons. Yet none of this power is unilateral; it all must be received by faith. Jesus asks his disciples to go out without money or supplies, so that they will be dependent on how others receive them. When we are sent from the assembly to witness and to heal, we are asked to be vulnerable, to be dependent on the reception of others. The Spirit always operates in the between: between Jesus and his Abba, between Jesus and us, between you and me, between us and those to whom we are sent.

SVC Bulletin for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

A woman finds healing by touching Jesus’ cloak, and a girl is restored to life when he takes her by the hand. In both cases a boundary is crossed: in Jesus’ time the hemorrhaging woman was considered ritually unclean, polluting others by her touch, and anyone who touched a corpse also became unclean. In Mark’s gospel Jesus breaks down barriers, from his first meal at a tax collector’s house to his last breath on the cross as the temple curtain is torn in two. We dare to touch Jesus in our “uncleanness” and to live as a community that defines no one as an outsider.

SVC Bulletin for John the Baptist Sunday

John the Baptist is a unique figure in Christian memory, a hinge between the Old Testament prophets and the first Christians. In the gospel stories he recognizes Jesus as one greater than himself, one for whose coming he prepares the way. But still from his prison he asks if Jesus is truly the Expected One. He is a figure of perpetual Advent and in that way stands for all of us who may be Christian believers but still wait and wonder, discern and doubt.

SVC Bulletin for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

The mustard seed becomes a great shrub that shelters the birds, recalling ancient images of the tree of life. We’d expect a cedar or a sequoia, but Jesus finds the power of God better imaged in a tiny, no-account seed. It’s not the way we expect divine activity to look. Yet the tree of life is here, in the cross around which we gather, the tree into which we are grafted through baptism, the true vine that nourishes us with its fruit in the cup we share. It may not appear all that impressive, but while nobody’s looking it grows with a power beyond our understanding.

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