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The First Sunday of Epiphany January 6th, marks the Feast of the Epiphany on the Christian calendar. We will celebrate Epiphany this Sunday during the worship service. Year after year, for centuries, the church has celebrated on Epiphany the revelation that Jesus’ redemptive love is for all people, the whole world. This marvelous truth is manifeste…
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Homily Preview: This Sunday we join churches all over the world in celebrating the Reign of Christ, sometimes referred to as Christ the King Sunday. Click here for a brief overview of how this Sunday fits into the church year. One theme that is common to this special Sunday is the sovereignty of Christ and its implications. We will take that theme …
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The homily this Sunday, is based on a reading from the Gospel of Mark. The context is the same context we have been working with the last few Sundays. Jesus is in Jerusalem during Passover. He will soon be delivered up to Pilate in a collusion between the corrupt religious leadership and the Roman authorities. Jesus is taking these last few days be…
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Matthew 25:14-30 This Sunday we will be back in the Gospel Matthew. We will hear a parable that Jesus taught about the urgency of paying attention to what God is doing in the world. We will think about its message in its original context and then ponder how to apply it to our setting in our place in time. Jesus’ words about the importance of paying…
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We are back in Matthew this week for our homily. Last Sunday Leigh Pylman preached a great sermon on the passage where Jesus says: "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's". If you didn't hear it, I encourage you to listen to it online. This Sunday I I come along a few verses later in the same general context of Matthew where t…
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Matthew 22:15-22 This week, Jesus has another peppery encounter with the religious elite in Jerusalem. He is asked about paying taxes to the Roman occupiers. In Jesus fashion, he reframes our questions, categories, and suppositions. He invites us to consider how to give God, what belongs to God - everything! If we live as Jesus followers with this …
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This Sunday we will reflect on all three scripture readings from our liturgy. Our Call to Worship is from Psalm 133, a song of unity. Our First Lesson takes up the theme of unity again, as Paul urges two of his co-workers to have the same mind in the Lord. Finally, our Gospel Lesson is from Matthew. It is another parable of Jesus that illustrates G…
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This Sunday we look forward to hearing another parable that Jesus taught. Like many of Jesus’ parables, the language and images are meant to jolt us. In the instance of the Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32) we will think together about what a life marked by wholehearted devotion to God looks like. Does it mean being perfect? No, that is no…
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Last week we heard a parable about mercy. This week we hear a parable about grace. Like last week’s parable, this story is meant to shock us. God’s grace, like his mercy, is unfathomably generous. So generous, that we will always struggle to understand it. As we consider the Parable of the Vineyard Workers (Matthew 20:1-16), we will ponder the dept…
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Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost Romans 13:8-14 A community where love is the reason for everything. This is one way of talking about the new community that the Spirit of Christ has called into existence through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. What does it mean for love to be the reason for everything? We don't love per…
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Matthew 16:13-20 Our Seminarian in Residence, Leigh Pylman is preaching. This week, Jesus asks us the piercing question, "Who do you say that I am?" So simple, and yet, our response to this question will inform our whole worldview. Who do you say that Jesus is? We'll ponder Peter's response to Jesus, and consider how Jesus, as the Messiah and build…
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This Sunday we welcome Tony Pizarro to the Grace pulpit. Tony is a friend of Grace who attends when his schedule permits and often supports out volunteer efforts with Breakthrough Urban Ministries. Tony works at North Park University as Assistant Director of the Writing Center and Lecturer. He also serves as a steering committee member for the Illi…
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This Sunday’s homily will be a reflection on Jesus’ parable which is often referred to as the Wheat and the Tares. It is a story that encourages us to live faithfully, patiently, hopefully and lovingly in a world where evil things continue to happen. In her homily, Laura Winn, will ponder several important questions, among them this one as framed b…
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This week our text for our homily is Jesus’ Parable of the Sower from Matthew 13. It is a parable about hearing Jesus’ words in such a way that, as one New Testament scholar puts it: “the whole person is captured”. This parable is a very timely one for 21st Century Christians who, when we are honest, must admit that it is hard to hear Jesus for all…
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Homily Preview: We are back in the Gospel of Matthew this Sunday where Jesus assures his disciples that "whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple" will be rewarded. The words come at the end of a discourse about mission and hospitality, a discourse full of dire warnings and triumphant hope. This S…
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Homily Preview: In our homily this Sunday we will talk a bit about compassion. Matthew uses this word to talk about Jesus’ reflexive response to the vast human need he witnesses (Matthew 9:36). We will explore the context in which Matthew makes his remarks and we will use that exploration as the jumping off point to think together about what it loo…
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Earlier this week on Trinity Sunday we pondered the mystery that God reveals God's self in three co-equal persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We tapped into the wisdom of the early church and thought together about God's love as the energy and motivation for all God does in creation, redemption, and even in judgment. We will continue to ponder Go…
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I took quite a few Spanish classes in high school and college. At one time I could read a Spanish language newspaper with reasonable comprehension. Sadly, I have lost - for now - much of what I knew. I still make a feeble, yet sincere effort, to say something that might be comprehensible to those I know or meet who speak Spanish as their native ton…
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In the Christian calendar we are coming up on the end of Eastertide. We will celebrate The Feast of the Ascension on Sunday, May 21st, followed by Pentecost Sunday on the 28th. So, it is fitting that the next two Sundays have us thinking about Jesus' promises to the disciples about what life will be like after the cross, resurrection, ascension and…
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The homily is from John 10. This is the passage where Jesus identifies himself as the good shepherd. The scripture reading before communion is from Acts 2, where the the early church community is described as being one where people organize their lives so that each may be a blessing to the other. We are going to put these two passages together as w…
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Homily Preview: This Easter Sunday, like every Easter Sunday, we will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. Our focus will be on the way in which the early church understood Jesus's resurrection. His followers, who will found the church of which we are a part two millennia later, had expected to relate to Jesus as a …
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Fifth Sunday in Lent John 11: 1-45 This Sunday we have the opportunity to sit with the incredible story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This passage includes a beautiful discourse between Mary of Bethany and Martha of Bethany (Lazarus’ sisters) who come to their Teacher, Jesus, with their grief and their questions. Together, we will ponder…
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Fourth Sunday in Lent John 9:1-41 This week is the Fourth Sunday in Lent. In our homily text we are looking at the miracle of healing the man born blind. John’s Gospel is filled with long discourses describing Jesus’s divinity. In here, John 9 gives us a glimpse of the kingdom of God, where creation is redeemed, and opens our eyes to the greater pu…
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Homily 03/12/2023 We are delighted to had the Rev. Frances Nelson in our pulpit this week. Rev. Frances is a dear friend of Grace Chicago and is part of the City Classis community. We are eager for her to guide us through this remarkable passage of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Frances graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary wi…
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This week is the Second Sunday in Lent. In our homily text we meet the fascinating Nicodemus. He is captivated by Jesus and his teaching but he doesn’t want to be seen talking to Jesus by others. He comes to see Jesus under the cover of night. He is from the aristocratic class and a religious leader in Israel - he has a lot to lose. In their brief …
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Last week we took a look at the Beatitudes through a wide angle lens and with particular questions in mind. We thought about things like the importance of recognizing them as being addressed to a community, a group of people who, through Christ’s empowering presence, enact patterns of behavior that are consistent with God’s coming kingdom. Living l…
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Homily preview: This Sunday we hop over to the gospel of John for one week to consider John’s account of Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the first disciples. There is much for us to ponder together as we continue in this season of Epiphany, contemplating the revealing of Jesus as the Son of God, and what it means that God is human in the person o…
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Homily Preview: Matthew 25. In the portion we’ll be reading and prayerfully considering during the homily, Jesus tells a story to illustrate how God thinks about the vulnerable and the weak, and what our responsibilities are towards these sisters and brothers. We’re looking forward to the Spirit’s leading as we ponder Jesus’ words and seek to align…
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Homily Preview: Advent always begins with a bang. We get apocalyptic language and the like. It is sometimes asked, why does the church calendar begin a season as cozy as Christmas with the jolt of apocalyptic imagery? The answer is that the church has always recognized that the time in which we live is in between two advents, Jesus’ incarnation and…
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Homily Preview: Momentous day ends the Liturgical Calendar and our time in Luke. Join us as we reflect on our journeys through Luke culminating in Luke 23 and Christ's crucifixion. There is much for us to consider as we reflect on how the humiliation and rejection of Christ on the cross offers us a picture of the reign of Christ and points us to th…
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Gospel of Luke. The passage before us includes Jesus' prophecy that the Jerusalem Temple would be destroyed. This did come to pass in the year 70. But you are probably wondering how Jesus' words about that historical event can speak to us today? Well, our concerns are different in their particularity than were the disciples when they heard this pro…
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Homily Preview: We are looking forward to reflecting on another remarkable story from the Gospel of Luke this Sunday. The reading recounts an incident in which some of the more powerful religious leaders of Israel ask Jesus a question that is designed to trick Jesus into giving an answer that in one way or another could be shown to be flawed, thus …
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Homily Preview: This Sunday we look forward to being back in the Gospel of Luke where we will read a remarkable story about a man named Zacchaeus. He hears that Jesus is going to be passing by so he climbs up into a sycamore tree to make sure he has a good view. Jesus spots him up there and tell him to hurry down. Then, in front of everyone, Jesus …
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Bob preaching about we will take a look at yet another of Jesus' parables: Luke 18:9-14. In this parable we learn that God is not impressed with those who are impressed with themselves, even in the slightest. But God does show mercy, without hesitation, to those who know they need it. We will also think together about another dimension of the parab…
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Leigh preaching our lectionary journey through the Gospel of Luke, as Jesus gets closer and closer to Jerusalem. Homily Preview: Sunday, we continue our lectionary journey through the Gospel of Luke, as Jesus gets closer and closer to Jerusalem. In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable about a widow seeking justice who does not take "no" for an answer. De…
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