Ephesians 2: 11-22

New Resources

  • Conflict

    by Phil Bloom
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 11B)(2021)

    by Doug Bratt
    This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson makes me think of the old commercial for Coca-Cola in which scattered people came together singing, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company. That’s the real thing.” In the unity forged by the Holy Spirit, however, we unite not to guzzle a soft drink, but to live out our baptism as God’s adopted children. That’s why a video that recently made the rounds among friends of Calvin University shows a much more accurate image of the way the Spirit of Christ draws God’s people together. It’s of the Calvin Prison Initiative Prison Choir coming together to sing “Amazing Grace.” (The video itself, after ads, is around 4 minutes long.) But beware: watching and listening to it may cause Jesus’ friends’ allergies to flare up.
  • No More Dividing Walls

    by Bob Cornwall
  • Ephesians 2.11-22 (A Paraphrase)

    by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
  • Proper 11B (2021)

    by Timothy Hahn
  • Proper 11B (2021)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Proper 11B (2021)

    by Israel Kamudzandu
  • Proper 11B

    by Bill Loader
  • Proper 11B (2021)

    by Nathan Williams
  • Proper 11B (2021)

    by Samuel Zumwalt
    Today’s epistle lesson takes me back to my teenaged years and a favorite anthem for “Youth Sunday,” you know, that Sunday congregations put their youth front and center for one weekend each year. So, what’s the name of that song? If you’re over sixty, you know it was “Get Together” by Jesse Colin Young (born Perry Miller) of the Youngbloods and written by Chet Powers (who went by Dino Valenti) of the band Quicksilver Messenger Service. If you’re under 60, you were probably subjected to a summer road trip with your baby boomer parents or grandparents singing along to all their favorite songs while you ignored them. But I digress...

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Christ Is Our Peace

    by Kathy Donley
    One Sunday in the 1940’s, a young woman invited her boyfriend to go to church with her. Both of them were African American, but the church they attended that day was all white and right in the heart of segregated America. The young man waited in the pews while the congregation went forward to receive communion. He was anxious because everyone was drinking from the same chalice. He had never seen black people and white people drink from the same water fountain, much less the same cup. He kept watching his girlfriend. She received the bread and waited for the cup. Finally, the priest lowered it to her lips and said, what he had said to the others, “The blood of Christ, shed for you.” The man decided that any church where black and white people drank from the same cup had discovered something powerful, something he wanted to be a part of. That boyfriend and girlfriend stayed together and got married. In time, they had a son they named Michael. We know him as the Rev. Michael Curry, He is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal church in the USA...
  • Halted Hostilities

    by Richard Donovan
    Elizabeth Sherrill visited China in behalf of her church to see what was happening there. She mentioned that missionaries had labored in that great nation for four hundred years, trying to evangelize the Chinese––with little success. They managed to win only about one percent of the Chinese people to Christ––and most of those were in the cities. After the last missionaries left in 1949, even this tiny minority seemed to disappear. A few older people worshiped in their homes. Then, during Mao's oppressive Cultural Revolution, even those meetings were outlawed. However, when Mao's successors, the Gang of Four, were deposed in the late 1970s, churches began to open. Very quickly, they were packed. "The problem," according to one pastor, "is to get people to leave." His congregation had three worship services on Sunday mornings, but he couldn't get people in the early services to leave so there would be room for the people in the later services. Many of the Christian that Elizabeth Sherrill met were young. She estimated that one-third of the huge congregation that she had visited had not even been born when the last missionary left China. Even then––this was being reported in the early 1980s––Bibles were being printed––by the government, no less. There was a waiting list to get a Bible. People were eager to read the Word, and were finding copies to read. Sherrill said that the repressive regimes of Mao and the Gang of Four actually set the stage for the growth of the church:...
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 11B)(2018)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In the charming movie Babe there is a kind of refrain that describes the social structure (as it were!) of the farmyard at Hoggett Farm where the story takes place. Over and again the narrator of the film would refer to the sheepdogs and their attitudes toward the sheep or the sheep and their attitudes toward the dogs or . . . or, the fill-in-the-blank farm animal vis-à-vis any other animal group. And the line was always the same “Everyone knew that sheep were stupid and there was nothing in the world that would convince the dogs otherwise.” Of course, the humorous irony of the film is that every species thought the same about every other species, except that as viewers we know it’s not true—they are all “intelligent” in their own way. They could talk to each other, reason with each other, respect each other if only they tried. At the end everyone’s affection for the little pig Babe—the pig who thinks he’s a sheepdog—forces the groups to try to communicate. When they do, amazing things happen: they understand each other, can help each other, and can transform life on Hoggett Farm as a result...
  • Holding to the Center

    by Toby Lees, OP
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. These lines from Yeats' poem The Second Coming seem as true now as they were when he wrote them between the two World Wars...
  • Paul's Prayer

    by Alan Marr
    Jenny and I have had more than thirty people live with us over the years. Some stayed only a couple of nights while others stayed for years. Glenda was one of those. She came for a couple of weeks and stayed for 4 years. When she came, we showed her to her room and said "Make yourself at home!" We meant it but she didn't do it at first. We knew she was making herself at home when she took our pictures from the wall and put up her own; when she arranged the furniture to suit her not us; when she purchased her own floor rugs and returned ours. And when she began to have a say in what we watched on TV or what we ate for tea we knew she was feeling at home. Her room reflected her personality, her likes, her longings and the things she valued. The room was no longer ours. It was hers. When we ask Christ to make himself at home in our hearts we are asking him to take our stuff down from the walls and put his stuff up there.
  • Tearing Down Walls (Proper 11B)(2015)

    by Jim McCrea
    Between my second and third trips to Israel, the Israeli government built a massive wall enclosing portions of the West Bank from Israel proper. The wall is 26 feet high and either is or will eventually be 430 miles long. Israel built it as a form of protection from terrorist attacks and they call it the “wall of separation”; however, the Palestinians call it a “wall of apartheid.” What is clear is that the wall causes huge delays for Palestinians traveling to and from the West Bank. At the same time, Israel also created three zones in the West Bank: those open to Israelis only, those open to Palestinians only and those open to anyone. We ran into those restrictions during our visit to Bethlehem, a Palestinian town that’s located inside the wall. Our regular tour guide was Israeli so he was not allowed to come with us. Instead he had to arrange for a Palestinian guide to take us to Bethlehem and he called us anxiously when the crowds at the Church of Nativity meant that our trip took longer than he expected...
  • XXX

    by Rick Miles
    You just might be asking exactly what I had in mind with this morning’s sermon title. Triple X! Relax! Just think Roman numerals and this coming Friday and you’ll get it. The 30th Olympiad, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, will start this week with the opening ceremonies this Friday. Once-every-four-years the Olympics bring together athletes from around the world. This will be the 30th set of summer games held since the modern era began in 1896. London now holds the distinction of being the first city to host the modern games three times, having previously held them in 1908 and 1948...
  • What I Learned in My Time as Interim Pastor

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    I’d also like to tell a story which I have gleaned from Chris Hedges’ book War is a force that gives us meaning. Hedges is a war correspondent who covered the Bosnian war extensively, and he tells of meeting the Soraks, a Bosnian Serb couple in a largely Muslim enclave. The couple had been largely indifferent to the nationalist propaganda of the Bosnian Serb leadership. But when the Serbs started to bomb their town, Goražde, the Muslim leadership in the town became hostile to them, and eventually the Soraks lost their two sons to Muslim forces. One of their sons was a few months shy of becoming a father. In the city under siege, conditions got worse and worse, and in the midst of this Rosa Sorak’s widowed daughter-in-law gave birth to a baby girl. With the food shortages, the elderly and infants were dying in droves, and after a short time, the baby, given only tea to drink, began to fade. Meanwhile, on the eastern edge of Goražde, Fadil Fejziæ, an illiterate Muslim farmer, kept his cow, milking her by night so as to avoid Serbian snipers. On the fifth day of the baby having only tea, just before dawn, Fejziæ appeared at the door with half a litre of milk for the baby. He refused money. He came back with milk every day for 442 days, until the daughter in law and granddaughter left for Serbia. During this time he never said anything. Other families in the street started to insult him, telling him to give his milk to Muslims and let the Chetnik (the pejorative term for Serbs) die. But he did not relent. Later the Soraks moved, and lost touch with Fejziæ. But Hedges went and sought him out. The cow had been slaughtered for meat before the end of the siege, and Fejziæ had fallen on hard times. But, as Hedges says: When I told him I had seen the Soraks, his eyes brightened. “And the baby?” he asked “How is she?”
  • Us and Them: The Dividing Wall

    by Beth Quick
    One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” written in 1914. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” it begins. The poem describes two farmers – the narrator and another farmer who are neighbors. After winter, they find both set out to repair the wall between their properties, which has cracks and gaps after the weather of the season. As they’re walking the line together, the narrator asks his neighbor why they even need a wall, since the narrator has apple trees and the neighbor has pine trees, and it is clear which part belongs to each. The neighbor responds, “Good fences make good neighbors.” But the narrator persists: “‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down.’” But in the end, his neighbor only repeats the proverb: “Good fences make good neighbors.”
  • Zombie Zone or Beulah Land?

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Ever since the dawn of movies there have been 'fright films'. Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman were first on the silver screen. Later on mythical monsters were replaced by urban monsters, and the 'teenage slasher' movie was born - where lonely baby-sitters and popular football players were the special focus of crazed creatures with hockey masks or with really long fingernails...")
  • Don't Be a Stranger

    by Carl Wilton
    The preacher, Fred Craddock, tells a story of a church like that. Sadly, it was a church he once served, early in his ministry. It was located in the hills of Eastern Tennessee. Years later, Fred returned to that church. He brought his wife, Nettie, along for the ride — for they hadn’t been married at time, and she had never seen it. As the two of them drove to the little town, Fred reminisced about a time of controversy in that congregation. The nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory was expanding, and new families were moving into the area. Fred, the young pastor, urged the people of this beautiful, little white-frame church to call on the newcomers, to invite them to join them. “They wouldn’t fit in here,” was the curt reply. A week later, there was a congregational meeting. “I move,” said one of the longtime members, “that in order to be a member of this church, you must own property in the county.” The motion passed, over the pastor’s objections. When Fred and Nettie pulled up to the old church building, years later, it looked to be a busy place, much busier than he remembered. In his words: “The parking lot was full — motorcycles and trucks and cars packed in there. And out front, a great big sign: “Barbecue, all you can eat.” It’s a restaurant, so we went inside...

Other Resources from 2018 to 2020

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Other Resources from 2015 to 2017

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Other Resources from 2009 to 2014

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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The Classics

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