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Advent Reflection: Keep Awake (Though You Are Sleeping)

As Christians, Advent, is not simply the countdown to Christmas, rather it is a very serious season for us, because it enables us to reflect upon the idea of time, and that our lives are lived between two the Advents: Christ’s first Advent, born in the meekness of a manger and death upon the cross, and his second Advent, when he will come again for us in glory to judge both the living and the dead. Our Gospel reading today from Mark 13 is the climax of Jesus speaking in great detail and vividness about the end of time and…

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Seven Last Words: Reunion

By Rev. Jacob Smith Our sermon text for this Good Friday is the 7th word spoken from the cross which comes from Luke 23:46, where Jesus says in a loud voice, “Father into your hands I commend my Spirit.”\ One of the profound realities that we learn from the cross is that Christianity, contrary to any other belief system, is actually extremely counterintuitive.  It is as my former colleague the Rev. Nancy Hanna use to say, “Christianity is ‘Flip-flop Sense.”’ For example Good is Associated with the darkest Friday in human history, the cross a brutal instrument of execution is…

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Seven Last Words: Triumph

By Rev. Jacob Smith Throughout the season of Lent we have been walking through the Seven Last Word’s of Christ.  As I have said, the seven last words come from the seven last statements of Jesus found in all four Gospels and function as a thread which weaves the four Gospel accounts together, making the cross story one profound testimony of God’s unquenchable love for humanity, specifically you. Back in 1998, that great radio show, “This American Life” aired a program which revolved around the theme of people’s last words. The host of the show Ira Glass pointed out, in…

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Seven Last Words: Abandonment

By Fr. Jacob Smith The text for today comes from Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34, where Jesus from the cross cries out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” With this statement Matthew and Mark are highlighting that Jesus has drank the dregs of despair on the cross, and so the church chose the word abandonment to associate with this phrase. This is rock bottom. It is the Far Rockaways the day after Superstorm Sandy. In a day and age when much of the church would prefer to talk about, glory, strength, our purpose, prosperity – you name…

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Seven Last Words: Salvation

Today, we look at the second word “salvation” which is the result of forgiveness that comes from God, through Jesus death on the cross. And I want to talk to you about three things that revolve around this second word, salvation.  First, most people think that salvation is earned by becoming something.  Second, what does the cross actually teach us about salvation?  Third, where does this word salvation tell us God is actually at work in our lives? This word salvation is derived from one of the most powerful moments not only in the Bible, but in human history. Two thieves were…