Grace Northeast Sunday Sermons
Barriers Down at Pentecost — June 9, 2019

Barriers Down at Pentecost — June 9, 2019

June 10, 2019

HEBREW BIBLE Joel 2:21-29
Leader: The Hebrew Bible reading is from the book of Joel and is read responsively.

Leader: The prophet Joel spoke:
Do not fear, O earth and soil; be glad and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things!
Do not fear, you cattle of the field and farm,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
All: the fig tree bears fruit, the vineyards produce more than ever.
O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God.

Leader: For God has poured down for you abundant rain,
both early and late rains, just as done in days of old.
Your threshing floors shall be full of grain,
the barrels shall overflow with wine and oil.
All: We shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord our God,
who has dealt wondrously with us.

Leader: My people, God says, shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
All: And we your people shall never again be put to shame.

Leader: Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

Leader: The word of the Lord. All: Thanks be to God.

THE GOOD NEWS Acts 2:1-21, 32-42
Leader: The good news of God’s work in the world, according to the Acts of the Apostles, the second chapter.
All: Glory to you, O Lord.

When the day of Pentecost had come, it was fifty days after the celebration of Passover and the raising of Jesus from the dead. The disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of an overpowering wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Tongues of fire appeared among them, and a flame rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them the power to do.

At this time there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. At the sound of the wind and the languages, the crowd gathered in shock; each one heard the disciples speaking in their own language. Amazed and astonished, they asked,

All: Aren’t these people speaking all from Galilee?
How is it that each of us hear them
in language we can understand?
We come from every corner of the earth,
and yet in our own language we hear
how they proclaim God’s deeds of power.”

Leader: Everyone gathered was amazed and perplexed, asking each other, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are just filled with new wine.”

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “People of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, we are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

Now when they heard this, the people were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles,

All: “What should we do?”

Leader: Peter said to them, “Turn away from everything you have done wrong, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. God’s promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone to whom the Lord our God calls.”

So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to the family of believers. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Leader: This is the good news of God’s work in the world.
All: Praise to you, O Christ.

Guest Preacher: Jessica Putland

Guest Preacher: Jessica Putland

June 3, 2019

Acts 16:16-34

The author writes: One day, as we were going to the women’s place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination; she brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews, and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to lock them up as securely as he could. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he assumed all the prisoners had escaped, and he drew his sword. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself! We are all still here.” The jailer called for torches so that he could see, and rushing into the cell, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out of the cell, and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

 

Psalm 97

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice;
let every island be glad.
Clouds and darkness surround the Lord;
righteousness and justice are the foundations of God’s throne.

Fire goes before the Lord, burning up enemies on every side.
Lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles.

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens declare your righteousness, O Lord,
and all people see your glory.

The holy city hears and is glad;
the towns and villages rejoice.

For you are the Lord,
most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all other gods.

You who love the Lord, reject evil!
God guards the lives of the faithful
and rescues them from the hand of the wicked.

Rejoice in the Lord, all you righteous,
and give thanks to God’s holy name.

 

John 17:1, 11, 15, 20-24

After his last dinner with the disciples, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Now I am no longer in the world, but my disciples are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name, so that they may be one, as you and I are one. I am not asking you to take them away from the world, but I ask you to protect them from evil. I ask not only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me because of their words, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may those who believe also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me, I have given my disciples, so that they may be one, as you and I are one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

 

Invited Service — May 26, 2019

Invited Service — May 26, 2019

May 28, 2019
FIRST READING Acts 16:9-15 

L:  The first reading is from the book of the Acts of the Apostles.

Paul and Timothy continued to travel throughout the regions around the Mediterranean. One night, Paul had a vision: he saw a man from Macedonia, calling out to him and saying: “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” We immediately headed for Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news there.

We set sail with a straight course from city to city, ending in Philippi, which is a leading city of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We stayed there for a number of days. On the Sabbath, we went through the gate by the river, where we had heard there was a Jewish place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A woman named Lydia, not a Jew but still a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from a nearby city and a trader of purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what Paul said. She and her whole household were baptized, and then she urged us: “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And so we did, and we continued to join the other women at the place of prayer.

L: The Word of the Lord. A: Thanks be to God.

SECOND READING Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 

L:  The second reading is from the book of Revelation.

The revelator writes: And in the spirit an angel carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any kind of curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and all the servants of God will worship together; they will see God’s face, and the name of God will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. 

L: The Word of the Lord. A: Thanks be to God.

 
THE GOOD NEWS John 14:23-27

L:  The good news of Jesus Christ, according to the gospel of John, chapter fourteen.        
A:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Father will send another in my name: the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will teach you everything, and remind you of everything I said to you when I was with you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not let them be afraid.”

L: This is the gospel, the good news of our Lord.
A: Praise to you, O Christ.

Making Space — May 19, 2019

Making Space — May 19, 2019

May 20, 2019
FIRST READING Acts 11:1-18
 
The apostles and the believers in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you visit and eat with uncircumcised men?” 
 
Peter explained: “Before all that happened, I was praying, and I saw a vision. It looked like a large sheet coming down from heaven, lowered by its four corners. I stared at it, and I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air -- all kinds of unclean animals. Then I heard a voice: ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ I protested, ‘No, Lord! Nothing unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call unclean.’ This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. 
 
“At that very moment three Gentile men arrived at the house, looking for me. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to draw lines between them and us. Six fellow believers also went, and we entered a man’s house, a centurion named Cornelius. He told us how he had seen an angel who told him, ‘Send to Joppa and find a believer named Peter; he will give you a message of salvation.’ And as I began to preach, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as it had upon us; they began to speak in tongues and praise our God. Then I remembered how Jesus, when he was with us, had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So then, if God gave these uncircumcised people the same gift given to us when we believed in Jesus, who was I to hinder God?” When the believers heard this, they were silenced, and then they praised God, saying, “God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.” 
 
 
SECOND READING Revelation 21:1-6
 
The revelator writes: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, beautiful like a bride on her wedding day.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
 
“See, the home of God is among people.
God will dwell with them, and they will be God’s people.
God will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for everything old has passed away.”
 
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.”
 
 
THE GOOD NEWS John 13:31-35
 
After Jesus had washed the feet of the disciples, and Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in God, and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the religious leaders so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow.’ 
 
But I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 
 
The Diversity of Valor — May 12, 2019

The Diversity of Valor — May 12, 2019

May 13, 2019
Hebrew Bible: Proverbs 31:10-31  
 
L:  The Hebrew Bible reading is from the book of Proverbs, and is read responsively.
 
L:  A woman of valor, who can find?
   She is far more precious than jewels.
A:  Her husband’s heart will trust in her,
   and with her he will have all he needs.
L:  She brings him good and not trouble
   all the days of her life.
A:  She seeks out wool and flax;
   she works joyfully with her hands.
L:  She is like a fleet of merchant ships, bringing food from a distance.
A:  She gets up while it is still night,
   providing food for her household.
L:  She surveys a field and acquires it;
   from her own resources, she plants a vineyard.
A:  She works energetically;
   her arms are powerful.
L:  She rejoices that her trading is successful;
   she doesn’t put out her lamp, but works into the evening.
A:  She puts her hands to the spindle; 
    her palms grasp the loom.
L:  She reaches out to the needy;
   she stretches out her hands to the poor.
A:  She doesn’t fear for her household when it snows,
   because they are all dressed in warm clothes.
L:  She makes bedspreads for herself;
   fine linen and purple are her clothing.
A:  Strength and honor are her clothing;
   she is confident about the future.
L:  Her mouth is full of wisdom;
   compassionate teaching is on her tongue.
A:  She is vigilant over the activities of her household;
   she doesn’t eat the food of laziness.
L:  Her children bless her;
   her husband praises her:
A:  “Many women act competently,
   but you surpass them all!”
Let her share in the results of her work;
   let her deeds praise her in the city gates.
 
L: The Word of the Lord. A: Thanks be to God. 
 
✠ The Good News Acts 9:36-43 
 
L:  The good news of Jesus Christ, according to the book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter nine.         
A:  Glory to you, O Lord. 
 
Peter was staying with the believers in Joppa, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ raised from the dead. Now in Joppa, a town nearby, there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha; in Greek her name was Dorcas. (Both words meant “gazelle.”) She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 
 
While Peter was staying in Lydda, Tabitha suddenly became sick and quickly died. When her friends and family had prepared her body, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples sent two men to Peter, asking, “Please come to us immediately.” Peter went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.”
 
Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
 
L: This is the gospel, the good news of our Lord.
A: Praise to you, O Christ.
Do You Love Me? — May 5, 2019

Do You Love Me? — May 5, 2019

May 6, 2019

The Good News: John 21:1-19

After he had appeared to the disciples, the risen Jesus showed himself to them again. Gathered at the Sea of Tiberias were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after sunrise, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know it was him. Jesus called to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.

The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”

When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he dressed in his tunic and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish. They were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. 

When they got to shore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish.” So Simon Peter hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

Radical Hospitality — April 28, 2019

Radical Hospitality — April 28, 2019

April 29, 2019

Our guest preacher was our seminarian, Grace Pardun Alworth.

Scripture readings: Genesis 18:1-8, Psalm 23, Luke 24:13-35.

The Time of Trial — April 14, 2019 (Palm Sunday)

The Time of Trial — April 14, 2019 (Palm Sunday)

April 15, 2019

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✠ Gospel                                                Luke 19:29-40

 L:  Jesus went ahead of the disciples, going up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village, and when you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 

So they left, and found the colt just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, 

All:  “The Lord needs it.” 

 Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As Jesus approached the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

 A:  “Blessed is the king
    who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
    and glory in the highest heaven!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if they were silent, the stones would shout out.”

 

The Good News Luke 22:24-31,34-46

 L:  The good news of Jesus Christ, according to the gospel of 
      Luke, chapter twenty-two.         A:  Glory to you, O Lord.

 The disciples began to argue about which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are considered benefactors. But it shall not be so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the least, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I grant to you a kingdom, just as my Father granted to me; you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

 He said to them, “When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing.” He said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.” 

All:  “Lord, look, here are two swords.” 

L:  He replied, “It is enough.”

 He left and went, as he often did, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. He said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”  

 When he got up, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, exhausted from grief, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”

 

Forgive Us Our Sins — April 7, 2019

Forgive Us Our Sins — April 7, 2019

April 8, 2019

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The Good News Matthew 18:10-35

 Jesus put a child in the midst of the disciples, and taught them: “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; I tell you truly, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained them. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the whole church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” 

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

 

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. One who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him, and he could not pay. So his master ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master forgave him the debt. 

“But that same servant, as he went out, came upon a fellow servant who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ The other servant fell on his face and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; he threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were deeply distressed, and they reported everything that had happened to their master. Then the master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow man, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Enough Bread for Today — March 31, 2019

Enough Bread for Today — March 31, 2019

April 1, 2019

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Reading from the Hebrew Bible: Exodus 16:1-4,13-21,31

The Good News: John 6:1-21

Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the miracles he was performing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples.

When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread for them?”

Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”

One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”

Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” The place was green and lush, so they sat down, about five thousand men with women and children.

Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks to God, he gave them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.

When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.

When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”