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Upcoming Services

October 13
The Reverend Dr. Eric C. Smith
Luke 17:11-19
We aren’t the first people to organize our world in terms of insiders and outsiders. In Jesus’ world, people segregated themselves by ethnicity, religion, nationality, and class. This story from Luke is designed to upend our expectations about who’s an insider and who’s an outsider, because the story is all about the way the outsider—the Samaritan—was the only one who returned to show thanks to Jesus. It’s a parable for our own time, and a warning to us that when we divide ourselves and shut people out of our lives and our society, we shut out important relationships and life-giving community.

October 20
The Reverend Jenny Shultz-Thomas
Faith in Unexpected Places
Luke 18:1-8
This parable sets the reader up to expect false promises in the way of God’s quick avenging of those who cry out for justice in much the same vein as saying, “bad things don’t happen to good people,” or “justice always prevails.” As we know life to be fraught with contradictions and defined by paradox we must listen more deeply to the question posed: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Perhaps the Son of Man will find faith, but as in the persistent widow, it may be in unexpected places.

October 27
The Reverend Jenny Shultz-Thomas

Luke 18:9-14
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Anytime you draw a line between who’s “in” and who’s “out,” this parable asserts, you will find God on the other side. So often in human history, we have marked progress by the advancement of the majority. Unfortunately, as the majority forges ahead, self-righteously, the real kin-dom of God is left behind, along with our souls. There is a real opportunity for soul-searching in Jesus’ words, and at this time in human history, perhaps the beating of our collective, sinful and privileged chest, is in order?