The Ties that Bind

Sermon by Rev. Chineta Goodjoin of New Hope Presbyterian Church, Orange, CA

Living Otherly

When we hear how Jesus reinterprets an Elisha story, we become aware of how resistance stories become legitimations stories when the audience feels privileged or entitled. 

Flowing Oil and Floating Axe

We begin a series on Elisha the prophet by reading two stories that are all about persons who are oppressed by debt. It raises the question of the destructive nature of our own debt structure. 

Aha Moments and Oh No Moments

“The Epiphany of the Lord” is a big “Ah Moment” for the magi, who discover that the prophecy of Isaiah had been fulfilled in baby Jesus.  But, King Herod turns this epiphany into a big “Oh No Moment.”  As we begin 2020, are we responding to Christ’s birth more like the magi (do our hearts thrill and rejoice) OR are we responding more like Herod, because we too do not wish to give up our power.  Explore Isaiah 60:1-6 and Matthew 2:1-12 in this sermon and hear God’s surprising challenge to us!

Unwelcomed and Welcomed

The Jesus of Christmas song and scenery is the “sweet little baby Jesus.” The Jesus of Christmas script is the one who comes, destined to struggle and die. Both are true. 

Homelessness and Housing

In addition to Luke’s earthy Christmas narrative, we have John’s “long-haired theological stuff,” an homage to the breath-taking wonder that the Word became Flesh. 

Displacement and Replacement

The Christmas story is both a sacred part of our faith formation and a prophetic challenge to our comfort with the status quo. 

Dislocation and Relocation

When Luke’s Christmas story, says “there was no room in the inn,” it points to a “displacement” that is repeated throughout Jesus’ life and even in his death. Advent prepares us for the one who “had no place to lay his head.” 

The Appetizer Before the Meal

Life can be stressful on its own; and, the holidays bring even more stress to our lives.  Zechariah’s prophecy about his son John (Luke 1:67-79) provides the keys we need to survive and enjoy this week before Advent.  John the Baptist is the prelude to the real feast that God has in store ahead of us.

Hagar’s Story, part 2

If we read the second story of Hagar as Hagar’s story and not as an aside to Abraham and Sarah’s story, we can see that God’s abundance is not a zero sum equation, but provides enough for all.