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

Category: Pastor Machado Sermons

SERMON ON VIDEO: “Can I Get a Witness?” by Rev. Dr. Daisy Machado, Dec 14, 2014

SUNDAY SERMON PREVIEW: “Can I Get a Witness?” by Rev. Dr. Daisy Machado

Dear Friends of The Park,

“Can I Get a Witness?”

It seems as if the two biblical narratives were hand picked for us this Sunday! Both the text from the prophet Isaiah and the text from John’s Gospel address the need to bear witness and isn’t that we need to be doing given the reality that we as a nation are facing right now? We need to bear witness. After the disappointment of the grand jury decision in Ferguson, MO followed by a similar decision by the grand jury in Staten Island what we need more than ever are people who are willing to bear witness—willing to stand and say clearly that something is wrong and that change must happen. At Union Theological seminary, where I teach, the students have mobilized to create a public witness to the need for racial justice in this nation. The majority of the students have been a part of numerous public actions to protest both grand jury decisions and what these imply. Using key phrases like “Black lives matter” and “This is what theology looks like” these seminary students have raised a voice that refuses to be silenced, a witness that decries the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner and calls the nation to rethink what policing should be about in communities of color while throwing a light on the darkness and death that racism engenders.

I titled my sermon “Can I Get a Witness” because while singers like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Run DMC, Eminem and others have used the phrase, the origin of the phrase can be traced to the African American church. The phrase “can I get a witness” is an invitation for others to affirm what they are hearing, to testify that what they hear is true. Truth-telling is implied when one is a witness. In the Gospel text we are told that John takes on the important role of witness, and what is the truth to which he is witnessing?  He is described in v. 6 as “a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.”

In a similar manner the text from Isaiah 61 is also about bearing witness, about truth-telling. In this text the prophet (Servant) describes how when the Spirit of the Lord fell upon him he could do nothing else but to bear witness. He, like John, is bearing witness to the new “thing” God is doing that will “bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…” (v.1)

Surely to bear witness is a very important task in any society at any time but it is a task that also challenges us. Karoline Lewis, who is a professor of preaching, says that there is also a troubling aspect to witnessing, to testifying, which is the “inseparability of that to which we witness and our own identity… That is, we are demonstrative of a truth outside of us but in doing so it reveals our own truth.” While witnesses who serve as truth-tellers may not be popular they are necessary—to tell what they have seen, to utter what others choose to ignore. So what will be our truth in this third Sunday of Advent? What we will testify to this coming Sunday? Let’s think how we can make this Advent one of testimony, of witnessing to God’s reality in our lives. And remember that when we testify that testimony will also, as Prof. Lewis says, testify to “who we are, who we have chosen to be, to whom we have committed ourselves, and on what we are willing to stake our lives, our truth.”

The readings for Sunday: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; John 1:6-8, 19-28.

See you Sunday at The Park!

Reverend Dr. Daisy Machado
Professor of Church History and former Dean of Academic Affairs – Union Theological Seminary

VIDEO SERMON: “Finding Value In The Other” by Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado, Aug 17, 2014

SUNDAY SERMON PREVIEW: “Finding Value in the Other,” by Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado

Dear Friends of The Park,

Whether on television or on the internet or in printed media the nation is keeping its focus on the crisis of the thousands of unaccompanied minors that have crossed and are crossing the southern border of the U.S. It seems almost unimaginable that a parent would be willing to send their child on such a long and dangerous journey to el norte.

This past May during my immersion class to the Texas/Mexico border we heard from the lawyers working at The Young Center that they had represented a six-month old sent by his mother to the U.S. from Guatemala in the care of a twelve-year old. That both children survived this perilous and merciless trip is a testament to God’s mercy and to the reality of so many along the miles of this journey that offered their protection to these two vulnerable and innocent lives.

The question on the lips of the media pundits is, “So what do we do?” Indeed, I think all of us are wondering how can anyone stop this flow of youngsters whose parents feel that the only possibility of any hope for their son or daughter is to get him or her out of their countries and to the U.S.

But an even more daunting question is how can it be that so many citizens of this nation have responded to the arrival of these children with hatred and vitriol? How can it be that a nation founded and created by immigrants now only seems to offer rejection and condemnation to this new generation of immigrants?

Perhaps we can find a lens to help us examine the current immigration crisis in the touching and tender narrative found in John’s Gospel. The story is not about immigrants but is instead about finding the worth of one human being despite the fact that person has been judged and has been found wanting, has been deemed “less than”, of not much value.

So John introduces us to a woman, caught in adultery (an illegal behavior), waiting to be stoned to death, surrounded by those who live basking in their righteous and legal behavior. Her unhappy fate seemed to be sealed until Jesus arrives and finds worth and value in a woman the religious leaders had discarded as useless and sinful.

Perhaps that is what we need to think about as we consider the immigration crisis our nations faces today—how do we, as the people of God, find worth and give value to those immigrants that so many in our society have deemed useless free loaders, “illegals”, law breakers? This narrative dares to ask the question that we all need to answer: How do we find value in the other and why does it matter?

Readings for Sunday: John 8:1-11; Ephesians 4:32-5:2

See you Sunday at the Park!

Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado

Sunday Sermon Preview: The Truly Good Shepherd

Daisy Machado

Dear Friends of The Park,

The two texts for this week are not only well known but are also very simple and moving texts. The image is a moving one, filled with tenderness, even for us urban dwellers who may have never even seen a live sheep up close—the image of the shepherd who carefully, faithfully, and lovingly watches over his sheep.  And this is no ordinary shepherd, but this is the good shepherd so different from those who approach the sheep as thieves and bandits who can bring no good.  Let me share with you this wonderful paraphrasing of Psalm 23 by Eugene Peterson:

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows;
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I’m not afraid when you walk by my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

In preparation for the sermon this coming Sunday, I invite each of you to say this Psalm as a prayer at least once throughout your day. Savor the words and images. Listen to the words in your heart of hearts—“you let me catch my breath”—“you send me in the right direction”—“I am not afraid when you walk by my side”—“you revive my drooping head”—“your beauty and love chase after me.” How truly marvelous that God does all this for us, and how often we remain so unaware!

Readings: Psalm 23 & John 10:1-10

See you Sunday at The Park!
Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado

Sunday Sermon on Video: “When Seeing is Not Enough” by Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado

March 30, 2014

SUNDAY SERMON PREVIEW: “When Seeing is Not Enough” by Rev. Dr. Daisy Machado

Daisy Machado

Dear Friends of The Park,

The texts for us this Sunday are packed full of action! In the Old Testament narrative we find Samuel looking for a new King for Israel. We find in the story a Samuel who despairs because King Saul has become so corrupt he has failed as king. And then Samuel despairs again when he looks upon Jesse’s sons and cannot see any “kingship-material” in any of the young men standing before him. In the Gospel narrative we are introduced to a man blind from birth that Jesus heals on a Sabbath. This healing lets loose all kinds of reactions from his neighbors, his parents, and the Pharisees as it becomes clear that the blind man, who can now see, stands in the midst of those who having sight remain blind. In both narratives the main religious figures, Samuel and the Pharisees, though they have sight, remain blind to God’s presence and God’s intervention. They can’t believe what they are seeing! Samuel’s blindness had to do with his inability to see in the youngest of Jesse’s son, David, what God saw. The Pharisee’s blindness had to do with their rejection of Jesus and their rejection of the both the miracle and the man healed. In both texts we are shown that there are two kinds of blindness and one is more terrible than the other.

The truth is that nowadays we don’t often spend much time in real darkness. If we’re out at night there are streetlights or headlights to illumine the way. At home there’s the comfort of light bulbs and the glow of TVs; even those who explore outdoors can take light with them. Yet if we carefully consider our lives, darkness is not all that strange to us. Circumstances can seem hopeless and we can’t see a way out. We can sink into depths of depression and can no longer see an end to the despair. Sometimes we cower in the moral darkness of things concealed and secrets hidden from sight. This loss of sight, this kind of darkness is truly frightening. Yet all is not lost. We know this when Jesus clearly declares to his disciples, “I am the light of the world.” We are reassured that when God’s light shines in our lives, when we believe in that Light, we are given the power to be more than the darkness, to be more than the dust from which we have come. Join me on this last Sunday of Lent as we reflect upon these wonderful narratives that remind us that often seeing is not enough.

Readings on Sunday: I Samuel 16:1-13 and John 9:1-41

See you Sunday at The Park!

Rev. Dr. Daisy Machado

Sunday Sermon: “God-shaped Hole” by Rev. Dr. Daisy Machado

March 9, 2014

Sunday Sermon Video: “God-shaped Hole” by Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado

March 9, 2014

Sunday Sermon Preview: “God-shaped Hole”

Daisy Machado 1Dear Friends of The Park,

The lectionary readings for this morning juxtapose two very distinct stories of human encounters with a figure representing evil, a figure that comes to challenge God’s teachings, and a figure Bible identifies as the devil. One encounter occurs in a setting of beauty, flowers, plants, a place of safety, harmony, and human bounty and the other occurs in the harsh landscape of a desert which is a place of extreme heat and cold, where life in any form must struggle greatly to survive, a place that is barren and dangerous. Surely both narratives capture our imagination but what makes them even more interesting is that they introduce the idea of temptation and human response to temptation but even more, they introduce the idea of a devil, one who comes forth to make an offer and one whose offer will lead to consequences that can bring suffering and even death.  This kind of temptation and this kind of tempter take us to another level of thinking and speaks directly to our faith as Christians and to the commitments that we have or have not made to our faith. Why is this so? Because in these texts we find what I think are some of the core themes of human life: the struggle of humans against evil, the struggle of humans to trust God, and the struggle of humans to understand themselves.

I invite you to join me on Sunday as we examine and reflect upon these beautiful and profound narratives that speak to us of the human need for God and of our struggle to respond to that need.

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday morning at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to turn your clocks forward.

Readings on Sunday: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11.

Rev. Dr. Daisy Machado