Ralph Breaks the Internet: Finding Rest for Your Souls – July 5, 2020

Rev. Susan Holden preaching

Scripture: Matthew 11: 25-30 “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 28-30)

Six years after Wreck It Ralph, Ralph and Vanellope are now life-long best friends. Their lives couldn’t be more perfect, until Vanellope’s game, Sugar Rush is broken and unplugged. But luckily, thanks to the newly installed WI-FI router in the arcade, Ralph and Vanellope now embark on an adventure to find a Sugar Rush steering wheel and save Vanellope’s game. But on their journey, Vanellope discovers a new place she would like to call home and it causes some insecurity in Ralph which strains their relationship. In the end, there is only one thing he can do.

Bohemian Rhapsody: Finding Welcome – June 28, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 10:40-42 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10:40)

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biographical drama about Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the British rock band Queen. The band reached unparalleled success in the 1970’s but Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, eventually shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. 

Freddie Mercury was the least likely person to be a rock star and in scripture we see God use the least likely people to accomplish his will. Queen describes themselves as misfits welcoming other misfits and scripture tells us Jesus welcomed the outsiders. Freddie let success and fame destroy himself and his relationship with others. Scripture reminds us that pride goes before a fall. With the help of his friend Mary, Freddie gets his life together and reconciles with the band. Jesus tells us if we want to be right with God we need to be right with others first.

Mary Poppins Returns: Finding Life in Unlikely Places – June 21, 2020

Scripture: Matthew 10:24-39

Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)

In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. So where does this story point us toward the Gospel?

Crazy Rich Asians: Hope Does Not Disappoint Us – June 14, 2020

Scripture: Romans 5:1-8

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

Crazy Rich Asians is a 2018 Romantic Comedy based on the 2013 novel of the same name. The film follows native New Yorker and Chinese American Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family. Rachel is shocked to find out that her boyfriend’s family are the biggest real estate developers in Singapore and extremely wealthy. The film deals with Rachel trying to be accepted by his family. So where does this film point us toward the Gospel?

Black Panther: Put Things in Order – June 7, 2020

Scripture: Genesis 1: 26-2:3; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Gen. 1: 27-30)

Black Panther is a 2018 superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The movie takes place in the fictional country of Wakanda. Wakanda is a rich nation whose technology surpasses all the other nations because they have a rare metal called Vibranium. A young man named T’Challa becomes king and the new Black Panther after the untimely death of his father. However, a family secret leads to his downfall and he must overthrow his cousin to reign again as the Black Panther. So where does this movie point us to the gospel?

 The Heart of the Matter – Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020

 Bishop Robert Hoshibata preaching

Scripture: “On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:37-38)

“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability… ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon those bound, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy . . .’” (Acts 2:4, 17-18)

Throughout this season, we have proclaimed that love is that which binds us (the root of “religion”) to God, to Jesus, to each other. Love IS our religion. On the day of Pentecost, the church received the power of the Holy Spirit to let this message flow out to all. The power of this message is ever-so important to spread in the world today. Let us be a community of messengers letting living truth flow from our hearts.

Open the Eyes of My Heart – May 24, 2020

Open the Eyes of My Heart – May 24, 2020

Scripture: I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you . . . (Ephesians 1:17)

You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what [Abba, God] promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:48-49)

The story of the last time the disciples saw Jesus is a story of blessing. Jesus says that as witnesses to his presence and resurrection, they too will be filled with the power to carry on his ministry, to be his hands and feet in the world. To see the world through the eyes of Jesus is to see through the eyes of love.

Kept in Our Hearts – May 17, 2020

Paige McDowell and Olivia Goforth preaching

Scripture: Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. (1 Peter 3:13-22)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever… They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” (John 14: 15-21)

To “sanctify” something is to set it apart as holy and consecrated. The resurrected Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit will be with them when he is gone. Holiness resides within each one of us. It calls us to see that holiness in others. It calls us to do the right thing in the name of Love, even when the right thing isn’t popular.

No Trouble in My Heart – May 10, 2020

Scripture: Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God. My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. Let your face shine upon you servant; save me in your steadfast love. (Psalm 31:5, 15-16)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:1-2)

Jesus himself cried out to God from the Hebrew Scripture that were his holy texts, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” He reminded his disciples, and reminds us, to trust in God when our hearts are troubled. Steadfast love is what God shows and what we are called to offer each other.

Hearts Overflowing – May 3, 2020

Scripture: Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46)

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:1-10)

Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd several times in his ministry. In this passage, the sheep know the shepherd’s voice and they follow because this Shepherd offers abundant life. What does a loving Christian community look like? What would it take to live with glad and generous hearts?