Worship with us Sundays at 11 - Venga a adorar con nosotros los domingos a las 11

Category: Pastor Kaji’s Blog

The Primary Heralds of God’s Word

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 22, Jesus tells the story of a king who sends out his slaves to go and invite people to an amazing banquet in honor of his son. And the slaves go, and they try to get people to come, and they keep turning the king down, until one day everything goes to hell. And the slaves go out, and instead of inviting a small group of people, they invite everyone. And everyone gets to come to the banquet – they’re good or they’re bad, anyone can be there. When I hear the story that Jesus tells of this banquet that’s like the kingdom of heaven, I get a little concerned, because he’s talking about slaves. Why would God need to send slaves for people to listen to? Then I realized something. What is more beautiful than uplifting the voices who would be the least likely to be listened to? And I realize that, in order to find God and to hear God most closely, we have to find the ones who were least likely to notice, pay attention to, the least valued in society. They are the first and primary heralds of God’s word. So, if you’re finding yourself feeling discarded or set aside, if anyone tries to tell you that you’re not important, realize that God speaks first through you. Amen.

Pastor Kaji’s full sermon is available here.

“Gun Violence, Mental Illness and Misplaced Anger”

As we see violence in homes, violence in communities, what we’re seeing is misguided anger.

“Come To The Vineyard” by The Rev. Kaji Douša

“Do you feel a special closeness, a spiritual nourishment from the things that are most important to you?”

Pastor Kaji’s full sermon is available here.

Forgiveness actually has to do with debt – “The Patience Required in Forgiveness”

Sermon by The Rev. Kaji Douša. Access the full sermon here: https://youtu.be/NZScZGXE4aA

“The Gates of Heaven are Wide Open”

So, in our passage from Matthew 16 today, Jesus says to Simon Peter, “Peter I give you the keys to the kingdom.”  And this has been really important in the development of the Church, because the Church understands itself as having the power of the keys. What does that power mean? Does that mean that some people can get in and other people can’t? What I understand Jesus to be saying, is that through the Church, you get to know that the gates of heaven are wide open.  So come on in. That’s what I hear Jesus to be saying to each of us. Amen.

Full sermon: https://youtu.be/p6lLXB5B0lg

“God does not bring the storm to you, God is the one who calms it”

See Pastor Kaji’s full sermon here: https://youtu.be/zafcgSoUJeQ

“Bring Them In” by The Rev. Kaji Douša

A family in Panama City, Florida, recently had an experience that taught me something about church. So, it was a normal, hot summer day, and the family decided to go, like many did, to the beach. Because they figured they would get the wonderful refreshment of the water. As the children played along the edge of the beach, the mother perhaps turned away for one second and then looked back, and it was any parent’s worst nightmare. Because as she looked, she did not see her children anymore, and she panicked. And she looks closer and looks all around and sees, wait a minute the children who were just right in front of me, now are way out to sea. So, of course, she did what anyone would, and ran in after her children. As she went closer and closer, she realized what had happened, a riptide had pulled them out into the water and as she went in, she too got caught by the riptide and was stuck. So then others saw what was happening and they heard the yelling, and they came to try to rescue them and they too got stuck by the riptide because each person tried to do it on their own. What they discovered was the only solution was to create a human chain from the shores of the beach. And each person linked arms with each other. And as they each came, and another person came, and another family saw what was happening, they realized that they had a role to play and they went all the way out into the depths of the water. And this woman at the end, then, who was an excellent swimmer, and almost died in the process, pulled in each person who had been stuck. She wouldn’t have been able to do it without that human chain. And this is the lesson we learned: we can’t, we can’t do it, we can’t do these things on our own, but when we connect to each other and we recognize the common humanity between each of us, between every human in the world, we recognize that they each are in the struggle together and then we pull the people in to safety. That’s the role of church. Amen.

Pastor Kaji’s full sermon is available here: https://youtu.be/t1LguDjcMgM

“Here & Now” by The Rev. Kaji Douša

Today I wanted to address a strand of Christianity that seems to be singularly focused on the future. And so they pay very close attention to right now and today as being the opportunity to prepare ourselves for whether or not at some future date we will be able to enter the Pearly Gates.. And here’s the problem with that: if we’re singularly focused as people of faith on whether or not we get to go to heaven, then we’re not paying any attention to what’s going on today in our world. And there are real issues that Christians need to notice and to respond to. So, if we’re only focused on tomorrow, then we don’t care about the earth, because we are going to leave the earth anyway. If we’re only focused on tomorrow, then the only people whose lives matter are the ones who agree with us. So, my hope is that we can focus on today, because God needs us here and now. Amen.

Full sermon: https://youtu.be/z6EkbQPrk_w

 

“No Matter What” by The Rev. Kaji Douša

At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, here’s what Jesus says, “All authority on heaven and on earth is given to me. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And lo, I am with you, even until the end of the age.” Now it’s turned out that what we call in the Church the “Great Commission” has felt like a commission that gives “authority over,” but not necessarily a sense of “joining with.” And there are times when people have gone on mission to convert others with a feeling of superiority, as in they held a position of God’s love that the people they hoped to convert did not have. I think we’ve learned, and I hope that we have learned from God, that that was never Jesus’ intention in offering the Great Commission.  Because, think about the community that Jesus was speaking to – these were people who shared all things in common, people who gave everything they had for the sake of the poor, and for others who had been forgotten by community. And so, in today’s age, I ask us to consider, has Church offered you, or has learning about Jesus offered you, discomfort that made you feel worse about yourself than before you knew anything about him?  Or, has learning about Jesus opened up the beauty and the truth of the Gospels of a God who at the end of the Gospel would say, “Lo, I am with you, even until the end of the age!” I am with you, I will never abandon you, there is nowhere on this earth you can go where I won’t be with you. If Church, or if the words you’ve heard from Scripture have made you feel as if you are separated from God, I hope you will know that God intends better for you. That God is pushing through whatever Church, or those of us who have interpreted Scripture wrong from time to time might offer.  And know the God who said, “I am with you,” is not a liar. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

“God Will Never Leave You Orphaned” by The Rev. Kaji Douša

In the Gospel of John, chapter 14, Jesus says, “I will never leave you orphaned.” What does this mean? Because, so many of us find ourselves in battles, and feeling as if we are on our own, or like we’ve been abandoned. I believe that Jesus says this because he knows that the world will do that. He knows that we will find disappointment and we’ll have moments of hurt and pain. And wondering who’s with us. And as Jesus says this, it’s because he knows how the world works. And he says, “I will not leave you abandoned, I will not leave you orphaned.” Just because he knows that so many other forces will. But when everything else is wrong, it might even feel empty, know that Jesus steps up. Even if everyone else seems to have left you, God never will. God will never leave you orphaned. Amen.

Pastor Kaji’s full sermon: https://youtu.be/ehvLSk_ZnQ0

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