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Between Jesus and the Deep Blue Sea

Sermon by Rev. Dr. Gary Charles, September 27th, 2020 Crowds. I miss them. I miss the energy of being at a concert with the crowd cheering their favorite musicians on stage. I miss the deafening cheers of the crowd when the UVA point guard makes that game-winning basket. I miss the Sunday morning crowd at Cove heading to familiar pews and swaying to Linda playing, “Glory to God.” Even knowing that it is in everyone’s best health interest right now to avoid crowds, I still miss them. Not Jesus, at least not the Jesus we meet in this story from Matthew. This Jesus has no distorted ego need for large crowds to fawn over him, to shout about how wonderful he is, to wear his colorful hats or brigh

How Does the Story End?

Introduction: There is no scholarly consensus on when the book of Jonah was composed. It is safe to say that it was written during a time in Israel’s history when people were not preoccupied in God’s mercy for all people but did demand God’s justice against hated enemies. It is safe to say, then, that it is a book still be written today. Let us pray. Jonah’s story begins: “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, ‘Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me’. But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” Unlike Moses who tells God that his brother Aaron is a much better public speaker

After the Benediction

Text: Romans 12:1-18 For most of my ministry, the Sunday after Labor Day has kicked off a new church year. The choir came back after a summer break. Sunday Schools classes began after a few months off. The summer church attendance slump was finally over. People were back from their travels. And, folks were ready to return to their Sunday church routine. Well, this is the Sunday after Labor Day, but in this very odd year there has been no summer church slump. More people view our virtual worship each week than typically sit in the Cove pews on a Sunday morning. Few people are back from travels because most people have only traveled to buy groceries and pick up medicine. Ironically, the one th

Out of the Depths

Text: Psalm 130 “Lighten up, Gary!” “You can’t be serious, Gary?” “This is Labor Day Weekend and over 10% of the country is unemployed.” “Gary, no matter how politicians try to spin it, this pandemic is about to leave 200,000 Americans dead.” “Gary, we are so tired of the bad news. Why can’t you just say something peppy and cheerful?” All the voices you have just heard are mine. These voices are racing through my mind on Sunday, September 6, 2020. They are largely a variation of the same voices that I have heard all my life whenever national or personal grief hits. These are the voices within me and beyond me that have little patience with grief. These are the voices that say it is fine to

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