Sermon: Reign of Christ Sunday, A Good Sunday for Mennonites – Matthew 25:31-46, Ephesians 1:17-23

When you are very good at doing things for God, you start to look around and you notice that other people aren’t feeding, clothing, welcoming people at all, or maybe they are not doing it efficiently enough, or in the right way. We can be like the famous do-er Martha, who was judgemental of Mary. We can become judgers. we can put ourselves in the role of God, deciding who is a sheep and who is a goat. Mennonites have been pretty quick to put their judging hat on, and it’s not just about who is working hard in the feeding, clothing and welcoming department.

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Sermon: Our Bodies as Gift and Sacrifice – Romans 12:1-13

Today I want to talk about our bodies as a gift–the fact that they are a gift from God and that we are called to give our bodies as a gift, as a sacrifice, back to God.  I was asked by your pastor to share a bit about a decision I made four years ago to donate a kidney, and how that relates to our faith in God.  Why are we all called to give our bodies to God, and what does that mean?

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Abundant Life: Peter on the Road with Jesus

Abundant life, he says.  That’s what he came to give us.
A somewhat surprising answer, since me and my friends
might have suggested that he had come to bring us abundant
blisters, leading us up hill and down, from morning to night.
Or an abundance of crowds,
or an abundance of Pharisees to argue with,
or an abundance of riddles;
those stories with their twists.
An abundance of days filled with amazing healings,
miraculous feedings, abundant piles of bread.
Abundant numbers of jaws dropping as even the dead are raised.

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Sermon: “What about him?” Comparisons in the Community of Faith – John 21:15-23

I picture an old, old man sitting at a table. He sits at a table near an open window.  He can see the hills of Ephesus through the window.  Another person sits with him, a person with vellum and ink.  He’s writing.  The old, old man, whose name is John, is telling a story, a story about a Saviour, a man named Jesus.  The word became flesh and dwelt among us. John has spent his life telling stories, telling about meeting Jesus by the sea, the years they spent together, the healings, the miracles, the teaching.  The terrible days when Jesus was crucified, and then about his rising from the dead, his appearances. John has been sitting in this chair, at this table, telling the story for days, weeks perhaps, trying to get it all down.  He’s been asked to have this story written down…

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The Anti-Magnificat (if I had been Mary)

Dear God:
Thank you for the invitation
you so kindly extended,
inviting me to become pregnant
with the Prince of Peace.
What an honour to be asked,
and I am so grateful for your confidence in me.
The world needs a Saviour and it is to your credit
that you have remembered your promises.
I totally support your endeavors in this regard.
Circumstances being what they are,

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Mutiny on the Disciple Ship

Getting on board the disciple ship
was not what I expected.
I imagined clear sailing,
Jesus at the helm,
the congregation a happy crew
learning the ropes together. 
Back then, I didn’t know how close quarters
can sometimes drive us
to gnawing on the ties that bind.
Conflicts rolling over us like sea billows.

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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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