This week we explore Paul’s writings to an early church, torn up by competition and divisions among them. Paul tells them that although they are different, each one of them is filled by the Holy Spirit and so is given different spiritual gifts in order to build up the community for the better. He urges them to think of themselves as the BODY OF CHRIST, an image that is powerful in helping us understand the kind of unity we are called to as Christians. We are not called to be the same or even to always get along and agree. We are called to a relationship with fellow believers where we are committed to continuing our shared life together. In these divided and polarizing times, what can we learn from a message like this? How can the church be profoundly countercultural in living out this challenging unity?
On this Father’s Day, we acknowledge the important role of fathers and father figures in our prayer. But we also continue our focus on the often overlooked third person of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit. We have discussed how She is the literal breath of God filling us with life. We have discussed how She is our Advocate and Helper; a gift from Jesus, knowing He could not be with us in the flesh forever. And this week, we revisit the story of Pentecost, where the Spirit birthed what we now call the Church. What was this new thing that God was creating? What was the Spirit’s role in that? What is Her role in our church in bringing us together today, with all the unique challenges of 2021?
This week, we continue on in our sermon series for summer exploring more about who the Holy Spirit is and how She works in our real lives. We come to a story of Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” in the Gospel of John; He has gathered His disciples in the upper room for the Last Supper. He washes their feet and shares with them final teachings and last words. It is emotional and hard like many moments in real life, but what does Jesus say to ultimately comfort them? They will never be left alone. He is leaving them with an Advocate, the Spirit. Learn more about how the Spirit is an Advocate and Helper for us this week.
COA’s Second Summer Sermon Series
“NEVER STOP GROWING” Begins on July 11th
This sermon series will explore in depth the fruits of the Spirit promised to us in Galatians chapter 5. These fruits are signs that Christ and the Holy Spirit are living and active in our lives, but none of us is perfect. Because of the Spirit, we never stop growing: in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. What would our families, workplaces, friendships, and sense of our place in the world look like if we focused on growth in these things? How does our world define them and maybe how would God invite us to redefine them in the life of faith?
WEEK 1: Love WEEK 6: Generosity / Goodness
WEEK 2: Joy WEEK 7: Faithfulness
WEEK 3: Peace WEEK 8: Gentleness
WEEK 4: Patience WEEK 9: Self-Control
WEEK 5: Kindness
This Sunday our own Clerk of Session and longtime COA member Lawrie Gardner preached a message on John 3:1-17. She has a gift for preaching, and our church was blessed to hear from her!
Link to readable sermon PDF