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Author: Kristin Gorton

Wilderness: A Place of New Life

You can watch the sermon HERE. I have to tell you; the story of Ezekiel and the dry bones has always been one of my favorite Bible stories. As has the tale of Lazarus’ death, and the musty, mildewy wraps that trail from his body as he emerges from his tomb. For me, these are both stories that pull together the grief, loss, tears, hope and love of a community. In both narratives, God’s breath blows new life into desolate voids. And now we have our own, desolate void, don’t we? A new virus. Real life concerns. Our routines upended due to the pandemic. COVID-19. As we gather for worship t...
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Wilderness: A Place of Healing

Last Sunday during worship, I mentioned that planning for each week’s worship service begins months in advance. I am finding great irony in the fact that I was beginning to reflect on the sermon for today waaaaay back in late December, early January. Back then, the theme for today’s sermon, Wilderness: A Place of Healing, began to develop. Around that same time, thousands of miles away, doctors in China and officials at the World Health Organization were beginning to share with the world that a previously unknown pneumonia was rapidly spreading through communities. First called a “novel coron...
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Wilderness: A Place of Surprises

You might not know that planning for each worship service begins months in advance. That gives the worship team, from the music ministries to the worship committee and faith development, time to collaborate. Back in December, in all its darkness and cold, with the holidays in full swing, I sat down to prayerfully reflect on Lent. The Bible passages we read today had already been selected and the hymns picked. The theme chosen for these 6 weeks was wilderness. On that day waaaaay back in December a sermon series emerged. Thus, when Lent arrived two weeks ago we started out with Wilderness: A p...
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Known and Loved

In the calendar of the church year, we are encountering a shift. After weeks of epiphany and encountering God in all sorts of unexpected places, Jesus calls us up to the top of a desert mountain. On the church’s calendar, today is Transfiguration. In The Message, this moment is depicted as Jesus’ “…appearance chang(ing) from the inside out, right before” the eyes of James, John, and Peter. “Sunlight poured from (Jesus’) face. His clothes were filled with light” (The Message, Matt. 17:2). In all the glory of that moment, I can’t help but think about what it took to get there—to the top of the ...
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What the Heart Holds

I have a friend who is a pastor in Atlanta, Georgia. She writes a blog and posts poetry on a website called What the Heart Holds. I have always been drawn to her ministry in community and inter-religious settings. Yet today it is the truth embedded in those 4 simple words, what the heart holds, that catches my attention. I think “what the heart holds” concisely summarizes the complexity in this morning’s biblical texts. I am going to root the foundation of this reflection based the passage from Deuteronomy. However, I do not want to ignore the challenges Jesus sets before us in the reading...
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Holy Possibilities

Jesus says, “You are….” But before we delve fully into Jesus’ “you are…” this morning, I want to take some time to remind you how we got HERE. So here is your brief, cliff notes version of the Bible readings from the last 2 Sundays. The author of Matthew tells us that: John the Baptist has been arrested.Which prompted Jesus to “pick up where John left off” (Matt. 4:17, The Message), and Jesus takes his ministry on the road. Then last Sunday, we dug into just a very first part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. We heard Jesus rattle off the Beatitudes… the Blessed are’s…Blessed are the poor ...
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Beatitudes Retold

Today’s sermon comes with a disclaimer: I am not a playwright. Yet this reflection, sermon, story, is a play with 3 acts. It is a different kind of narrative filled with ordinary people, Holy in-breaking, and a new world view. The stage sets range from creation’s courtroom to an outdoor classroom, to the world into which we are living. The plot was introduced in the Bible passages we read last week. It was a storyline full of Holy Disruptions. Leading up to Jesus’ words this morning’s “Blessed are…” we heard this from Matthew 4:24-25: “Word (of Jesus) got around the entire Roman provi...
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Holy Disruptions

It is really pretty simple. Just two steps: 1). Drop your nets and 2). follow Jesus. That’s it. The reading this morning makes it all seem sooooo easy, soooo “of course” this is what we should do. Dropping nets is exactly what the disciples would do in response to meeting Jesus, right? We have come expect no other response. Come on! Let us follow Jesus! Four years ago, I stood along the shore of the Sea of Galilee where the fishing families in the Bible narrative worked over 2,000 years ago. Peter and Andrew. James and John. I can imagine their wood boats. Their hand tied nets. The long ho...
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Living Stories

In the Church’s liturgical calendar, we are in the season of Epiphany. We are in a time during which we are in a heightened alert for Holy “ah-ha’s” breaking forth, moments in which the ordinary becomes extraordinary. And so we read and remember Biblical stories over the next few weeks which retell people’s encounters with God. Tales in which the boundary between heaven and earth thins. These are ancient stories. These are our stories. These are living stories. So gather round. Look. Watch. Get ready. Today we are given a charge. A task. The responsibility to not only listen to God’s Word...
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God Breaks In

In this morning’s reading, I love Isaiah’s reference to God: “Thus says God… who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it…” (Isaiah 42:5). God Created. Stretched. Spread out. God gave breath, and spirit. This is an active, Living Presence. I can imagine God still actively pulling, stretching, and pouring forth Holy Love, wrapped around and through the cosmos today. As materials stretch, they thin, bringing God even closer. I invite you to imagine a famil...
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