Give Thanks that We are Not Complicit: Revelation 21.1–6, 22.1–5

2017.8.27 dragon Delivered at Ames UCC
on August 27, 2017

©The Rev. Eileen Gebbie

Sermons are written to be
heard rather than read.
Please join us Sundays
at 10:30 a.m.
All are welcome.

RESENTFUL
I am so tired of being jerked around. I am so tired of having my days and my nights hijacked by headlines. I am sick of the incivility in the public square and nauseous from the increasingly punitive nature of public policy.  And I resent, I resent to my core, the energy I must expend to reclaim my time from those who would distract me from sharing and working for the good news that there is enough for all.

In other words, I get, to a small extent, where John of Patmos is coming from.

John of Patmos, was a Jewish follower of Jesus living as a refugee under the violent rule of the Roman Empire in 90 CE. John of Patmos was in shock from seeing his homeland of Jerusalem conquered—again—and the house of God on earth, the temple, destroyed—again. He was baffled by the willingness of others who claimed to follow Jesus to compromise with that Empire, to go along to get along. As he eventually writes, this is an empire that makes statues more important than people!

John of Patmos is also terrified that the world is coming to an end.

So, he takes all of that emotion—his rage, his sorrow, his questions—to God. Where are you, God? Why have you let this happen, God? What are we to do, God?

He takes it all to God in meditative prayer and this scripture that we now call Revelation is how he heard God answer.
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Join the Cloud of Witnesses: Hebrews 11.1–16, 12.1–2

communionofsaintsDelivered at Ames UCC on September 6, 2015
© The Rev. Eileen Gebbie

Sermons are written to be heard rather than read.
Please join us at 10:45 a.m. worship on Sundays.

SUMMER IS OVER
I know it doesn’t feel like it today with the heat, but summer is about over. The kids are back to school. Football is underway. I’d wager many of us are even deep into negotiating Thanksgiving and Christmas plans.

Next week we will kick off our church year with a breakfast potluck at 9:30 a.m. and worship at 10:45 a.m. Everyone is invited to wear superhero costumes and we will receive new members in worship. Our scripture will be from Genesis. We go back to the beginning.
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Closeness to God: Hebrews 4.14–5.10

b_black_jesusDelivered at Ames UCC on August 23, 2015
© The Rev. Eileen Gebbie

Sermons are written to be heard rather than read.
Please join us at 10:45 a.m. on Sundays.

MELCHIZEDEK
Today our unknown author of the letter to the Hebrews goes into a lengthy description about how Jesus is like the high priest Melchizedek. Melchizedek appears in one line in the book of Genesis, ch 14:

And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

This blessing comes after Abram—notice he is not yet Abraham—rescues his nephew Lot from captivity. The two families had been wandering in the desert and had gotten caught up in some regional violence and war. And that’s all we hear of Melchizedek until the book of Hebrews.
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Who, When, What, Why? Hebrews 2.10–18

FOR BULLETIN COVERDelivered at Ames UCC on August 16, 2015
© The Rev. Eileen Gebbie

Sermons are written to be heard rather than read.
Please join us at
10:45 a.m. on Sundays.

WHO, WHEN, WHY?
Who, when, and why? Those are my first questions for the book of Hebrews.

Mostly, there are no answers. Nobody knows for sure who wrote the letter. It could have been Paul or a follower of Paul, Apollos or Priscilla. It was probably written anywhere between 60 and 100, since knowledge of Jewish temple practices was required and the temple was destroyed in 70. But the audience was likely mixed, not exclusively Jewish, but Jewish Christians and gentile Christians together.

So that’s who and when. But why? Why did the author write this letter or sermon? Let’s start by looking at what she wrote about.
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