What would make a church into a community that people would run to? In a world where so many have abandoned the idea of church, why would anyone choose one? Words from Isaiah 55:1-9 can show us what the heart of God truly is, and how the church can become an open door to the goodness and grace of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul’s words in today’s reading from Philippians 3:14-4:1 may seem a little over the top as he describes self-centered living. But there is a reason for his strong words. When we allow our appetites to curve our hearts inward, we cover over our real selves. The grace of Christ can unwind our souls and uncover our real selves.
Let’s be honest. We can resist anything, except temptation. We aren’t able to escape it. Martin Luther’s way of describing this reality is that we are “curved in on ourselves.” But there is good news. What we can’t do (beat temptation), Jesus has done for us. Our Lenten theme this year is “Unwound,” and today’s reading from Luke 4:1-13 gives us a guide for how Jesus can use our times of trial to “unwind” our hearts, curving our souls outward in faith towards God and in love towards others. There is a way to get untangled from ourselves. It is the way of Christ. Follow him, and find your spirit opened up in faith, love, and peace.
Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season of repentance and renewal. Reformation’s Lenten theme, “Unwound,” is introduced in this sermon from Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21. What if, in our pursuit of goodness, we end up still caught up in ourselves? Between Jesus, Martin Luther, and Flannery O’Connor, we find the ways that Jesus can set us free from our self-preoccupation and give us a life that is open to love and joy.
On this last Sunday before Lent begins, we travel to the mountaintop with Jesus and some of his disciples for the Transfiguration of Our Lord. In the gospel reading from Luke 9:28-36, Jesus shines with a dazzling light. God speaks from a cloud, declaring that this is his Chosen Son. Even as we long for God to speak to us and give us direction for our lives, the Transfiguration encourages us to find hope in Jesus and to step into his light. In this sermon, Pastor Paige gives examples of how every day, we have the opportunity to turn toward Jesus, to walk in faith, and to let his light shine through us.