Choose an Ending

Isaiah 25: 6-9/Mark 16:1-8                 4.1.18

When our sons were into reading chapter books, I remember their keen interest in reading the books where you could choose your own adventure.  It was a whole series that was very popular in the late 1980s and the 1990’s.  You came to a certain point in the plot and then you could decide the next steps the main character would take and then be directed to skip to the next part of the story, depending on what you chose.  The process continues throughout the book, providing a wide variety of possibilities for the endings, depending on the reader.  These books invited re-reading again and again, for the story could be different each time.  The idea of choosing your own adventure drew in reluctant readers and encouraged young people to be creative in shaping the stories they read.

When you think about it, the gospel of Mark kind of operates like a choose your own adventure book at the end. The very earliest, and therefore described by scholars as the most reliable, copies of the gospel end at v. 8, kind of with a cliffhanger.  The women have come to the tomb expecting a body to honor with burial spices and they are surprised.  Continue reading

DYING TO LIVE

Delivered by Ruling Elder James Parks

March 18, 2018

Jeremiah 31: 31-34, John 12: 20-33

When Makenzie, our church office manager, and I talked about today’s liturgy she said the sermon title caused her to think of the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. And that’s exactly the kind of change that Jeremiah and Jesus are telling us in today’s texts is God’s way.

In school we all learned about the amazing process by which a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly. The story usually begins with a very hungry caterpillar hatching from an egg. The caterpillar stuffs itself with leaves, growing bigger and bigger. One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon where it radically transforms its body. Eventually it emerges as a butterfly or moth, in all its magnificent beauty.

In a sense, the caterpillar has to die in order to live again as a butterfly.

In today’s text Jesus is telling us that just like the butterfly we have to die to live as God created us to be. Continue reading