Latest sermons by this teacher

The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 3:17-18
19 mins 10 secs
Views: 6
This week, our readings include some of the most challenging verses from John the Baptist and some of the most comforting verses from Isaiah and Paul. Laying them side by side always makes for interesting contrasts: Surely, it is God who saves me; * I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, * and he will be my Savior. -Isaiah 12:2 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. … The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” -Philippians 4:4-6 “ You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance …9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” -Luke 3:7-9
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 3:1-6
13 mins 48 secs
Views: 3
John the Baptist is the voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight!” This always makes me think about what the Romans did when they made roads, doing extensive grading and filling work, so that the road is straight and level, regardless of what the terrain was previously. John was a dramatic person posing a dramatic challenge, but even more he was the messenger proclaiming the return from exile, the great jubilee, the moment when God would return to Israel and abide in her midst. In Advent we are anticipating the arrival of God in the midst of Israel in the birth of Jesus. And we are also anticipating the return of the King when the glory of Jesus will be seen by the whole world. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” -Luke 3:5-6
In the past several weeks, while our Gospel readings have been progressing through Mark, our epistle readings have been in Hebrews, focused on Jesus as our great high priest. This week, we turn instead to John, Revelation, and Daniel to look at Jesus as our King. Since we live in a secular democratic republic, where leadership is messy and temporary, it is hard for us to relate to “king.” At best, to our ears, “king” can sound like something from a storybook, or like a celebrity figurehead, and at worst, an usurping dictator, rather than a noble, rightful holder of power. As usual, Jesus’ view is deeper and not quite expected. He is king above all kings, but his kingdom is one of truth, not of geography. Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your family and friends; enjoy the amazing and much needed rain - but don’t drink the rainwater, and please continue to pray for those who have lost their homes and are in need of shelter during this rain.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Mark 13:1-8
14 mins 56 secs
Views: 1
Our lives are filled with transitions, endings, and changes, which we’d rather avoid. The news is filled with fires and impending disasters, and impending dooms of various sorts, and it can be exhausting, overwhelming and discouraging. But this week our readings all look to our hope and peace as “The Day” approaches: Daniel speaks of a time of anguish in the future of Israel, but that even then, those who are wise shall shine like the stars in the sky. The psalmist prays for protection, promises to choose only the Lord, and says “Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.” In our Gospel, Jesus speaks of the temple being destroyed and dismantled, but also says: “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come.” Finally, the New Testament reading concludes with: Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Mark 12:38-44
18 mins 38 secs
Views: 1
This week is Stewardship Sunday and our readings seem appropriate. Our Old Testament reading is about God’s miraculous provision for Elijah, a widow and her son the midst of a drought. She gives her last flour and oil for the prophet and her jar never runs out until the rains come again. Our Psalm is about putting our trust in God who watches over strangers and widows instead of in princes. In our Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples to beware of the scribes who enjoy the honor and respect they receive as men of God, but “devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers.” They enjoy the attention of men, but their hearts and lives are not aligned with the priorities and concerns of God.
Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:29-31 This week, at the first service, we have the joy of a baptizing Raelene and two of her children Annie and Billy during the first service. It seems appropriate then that our readings for this Sunday are about how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God. In Deuteronomy, God gives the Shema to Israel, and in Mark, Jesus gives the great commandment. If we hear and follow and live this commandment in our life it will go well for us, and we will praise God with an upright heart. But what happens when we can’t follow even one command? Then we turn to our epistle reading for the week: Hebrews 9:11-14.
There is a simplicity to following Christ that belies the general wisdom on how to better our lives. In our Epistle reading, the author of Hebrews compares the complexity of the temple system of sacrifice: a multitude of priests making a multitude of sacrifices for the people (and themselves); with the efficiency of a singlular, sinless, eternal High Priest, offering Himself one time as a single sacrifice sufficient for the whole world throughout all time. In our Gospel, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, calls out for mercy, leaps up and runs to Jesus when he calls, is healed and then follows Jesus. Bartimaeus recognizes what he needs in the person of Jesus, and in a few brief moments is transformed and accepted into a new life as a disciple of Christ. The core of Christianity is choosing to follow the way God has provided. To accept the one sufficient sacrifice, accept the offering of love we don’t deserve, forgiveness we can’t earn, healing we can’t achieve, and the new life we can’t find on our own.
Our readings this week soar. They describe our creation, who we are as stewards of God’s creation, our ranking compared to the angels, and the high Christology of Hebrews which describe Jesus, the most perfect human ever. And then our view comes crashing back down to painful reality as the Pharisees ask Jesus about divorce. What happens when all the beauty and love that God intends for marriage ends in painful places? Actually, not just in marriage, our lives encounter painful places where the mess we make of ourselves impacts the people around us. In our Gospel, Jesus points to God’s original plan and to the consequences and solution to our failure to love.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Mark 9:30-37
15 mins 24 secs
Views: 5
As we advance in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus continues to explain what will happen to him… and the disciples continue to miss the point and instead start up a side conversation about which of them was the greatest. Jesus responds that it is His name, not their accomplishments that give them status. That if even a small child is welcomed in the name of Jesus, it is equivalent to showing hospitality to the Creator of the universe. In all our readings the point is made, that the way of wisdom is not in striving for our own safety, status, or wealth, but to be trusting in God, gentle, peaceful and merciful.