Event – Lent

Sermon: Prosper the Work of our Hands–Dealing with Doubt – Mark 9:14-29, Psalm 90

Right after this high point, both literally and figuratively in Jesus’ life, he comes down the mountain straight into this unholy mess that we read about in today’s gospel story. He descends into an argument. The scribes are arguing with the disciples; there is a man whose son has a demon, and the disciples have not been able to heal him. Jesus descends into the reality that his disciples are stumped, they seem to be ignoring the hurting person and instead are involved in arguing with the scribes. What was it like for Jesus to come straight off the mountain and into this messy scene?

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Sermon: Transfiguration and the Story of Our Lives – Mark 9:1-13, 2 Peter 1:16-19

 Sometimes we don’t give a thought to Jesus’ mental state as he walked this road to Jerusalem. We think, “He’s our Saviour, he chose this, he was fine with it.” Was he? We know for sure that he was filled with agony in the garden. Was he entirely peaceful about his identity all the other hours and days of his short life? Think about your own life, when there is something that you dread in the future, do you save all the worry and anxiety up for one night? Or do you carry it all for days and months? Perhaps the transfiguration was an encouragement for Jesus himself…

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Sermon: Crosses in the Context of the Family – Mark 8:27-38

It is hard to bear your cross, to maintain your identity on the home front. Sometimes I think the great challenge is not “Love your neighbour as yourself”, but actually, “Love your family as yourself.”  Often, we put our best effort to be kind when we have an audience in the wide world. But then we let our guard down and act unlovingly in private. Sometimes we can be people who are model Christians at church and at work, where everyone can see our loving and selfless actions, but when we get home, we act like tyrants…

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Poem for Lent: Jesus’ Angels

It was a miracle really, that we were there at all.

We sold our trade goods remarkably quickly

and set off for home far earlier than expected.

The long trek through the wilderness went so fast,

it was mid-day when we came to the spring where we always stop.

Having gained so much time, we decided to spend the night.

My son Cornelius took the notion of climbing the high mountain,

“I came to see the world, Father,” he said to me!

It’s our last trip before he becomes a centurion,

he’ll see the world soon enough.

I sent two servants with him (there are lions in these parts),

and the rest of us settled in for a long nap in the shade…

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner www.leadinginworship.com” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at carol@leadinginworship.com

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