Come and See

The Rev. Patrick Schlabs | John 1:43-51

After John’s poetic prologue, his gospel becomes a story of witnesses who invite others to come and see Jesus. In an age where many are disillusioned with typical and stereotyped modes of evangelism, what can these stories of witness teach us about inviting others to come and see? Join Patrick Schlabs as he examines the encounter between Jesus, Philip, and Nathanel, and finds that Jesus’ pursuit of us is the base of all witness.

The In-Between Space

The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson | Mark 1:7-11

John the Baptist strikes a singular figure within the Gospel narrative, entering Israel’s culture at a turning point unlike any before. His ministry of baptism was an exposition of Israel’s sin and of God’s mercy, and was a foretaste of the coming Kingdom. What is it, however, that sets John’s ministry apart? What makes the Kingdom he heralds so different? Join Peet Dickinson as he hears John’s cry in the wilderness, and in so doing turns our eyes to the eternal King.

Expectations & Hopes

Pastor Ryan Thompson | Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-6, 9-11

Christmas comes loaded with anticipation of what might be received, yet inevitably brings some measure of disappointment. Did the amazing story of Christmas and Epiphany, which culminated in the witnessing of the infant Jesus, also prove underwhelming for those who originally experienced it? Why does such great expectation often lead to great disappointment? Join Ryan Thompson as he looks back on the Christmas story, explores the tension of the “now” and the “not yet”, and finds the One who is the ultimate fulfillment of all hopes.

Awaiting the King

Mr. Jacob Graudin | Psalm 96

While we tend to keep politics and religion at arm’s length during the holidays, Christmas deals directly with both. The Incarnation of Jesus brings with it an answer to the perennial question of politics and religion both: “Who’s in charge?” Today’s reading from Psalm 96 announces the kingship of Almighty God with crackling clarity, casting down all rival powers and principalities. Join Jacob Graudin as he revels in this proclamation, and celebrates the reality that, in Jesus, our King has come, and our King is coming.

Uninvited, Unknown, Unfazed

The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson | Luke 2:1-20

Jesus is born and “laid in a manger, because there was no place for [him] in the inn.” This detail is more than a footnote; indeed, it is a central aspect of Jesus’ Nativity: unnoticed and unknown. Why is the Word of Creation not welcomed by his own Image-bearers? Why would he come, even when uninvited? Join Peet Dickinson as he expounds the story of Jesus’ birth and finds comfort and our commission as followers of the Incarnate Son.

The Undeserved, Impossible Promise

The Rev. Patrick Schlabs | Luke 1:26-38

Christmas marks the strange reversal of expectations: a virgin and a barren woman both become pregnant, a forgotten people ignore the coming of their deliverer, and a King is born in squalor. Yet this upside-down story is the story of the Gospel, and rings loud the truth of a God whose love knows no bounds. Join Patrick Schlabs as he examines Gabriel’s visitation to Mary, and finds God’s age-long promises coming to fruition.

Those Who Dream

The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson | Psalm 126, Isaiah 65:17-25

Although our society often venerates famous “dreamers”, visionaries who lead the way forward, yet it is also the case that to be called a “dreamer” can be a dismissal, a relegation of one’s vision to mere fantasy. Today’s readings from both the Psalms and the prophet Isaiah present dreams not based in fantastic escape but in a hope in God’s faithfulness. Join Peet Dickinson as he looks at the kingship of Jesus and sees a future hope that should cause us all to be wakeful dreamers.

The Comfort and Commission of Advent

The Rev. Patrick Schlabs | Isaiah 40:1-11

Chapter 40 of the prophet Isaiah begins with the cry of “Comfort, comfort!”, a call directed towards a devastated, exiled people. Yet along with the call of comfort, we also find a commission to return to their calling to reveal God’s glory to the whole world. The season of Advent speaks a similar word in our hopeless world as God’s people are called to declare and display the hope of Christ’s coming kingdom. Join Patrick Schlabs as he peers into Isaiah’s message of hope, and finds within it a commissioning of God’s people to become, in the words of missiologist Michael Goheen, “people whose very lives point to the culmination of history.”

Beginning with the End

Mr. Jacob Graudin | Isaiah 64:1-9, Mark 13:24-37

The first Sunday of Advent brings with it the start of the new liturgical year, yet our readings for this Sunday speak of judgement and endings. However, as the poet T.S. Eliot reminds us, “the end is where we start from.” Join Jacob Graudin as he explores the prophet Isaiah and the Gospel of Mark, and finds the imperative that the Christian must begin with the end in mind.

Power and the King

The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson | Ezekiel 34:11-20

During Christ the King Sunday, we approach the dangerous question of power. Is it inherently corruptive? Is it a neutral force? Both the prophet Ezekiel and Jesus speak forcefully about power in today’s readings, both our broken use and God’s just use of it. Join Peet Dickinson as he examines Scripture, finds us convicted, and witnesses the power of the true King.

Our Primary Hope

The Rev. Danny Clark | Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom is loaded with a sense of immediate expectation, an expectation the Christian story finds met in the future return of Christ Jesus. Why is so much strong expectation loaded onto this future return? How are followers of Jesus to live in light of this? How does this parable call us to prepare? Join RUF director Danny Clark as he peers into this future expectation and finds within the deepest hope of the Christian.

Heroic Love

The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson | Ephesians 1:15-23

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians opens with thanksgiving for the city’s Christians and a prayer on their behalf, that God would continue to reveal to them the “immeasurable greatness of his power.” How does God do this, and what shape does this power take in the lives of Christians? Join Peet Dickinson as he explores these questions through the lens of the Sermon on the Mount, and finds what it means to possess power in the Gospel, and even what it means to be a saint.

Listen & Speak 2017: Session 3

Andy Crouch | Being Known

One of our greatest needs as human beings is to be in community. We were designed to be “looking for someone who is looking for us.” This facet of the imago dei is a key element of the church’s mission in the empire of technology. Andy Crouch argues that the church can be a place that people can be known and loved. This is especially important for those on the fringe of society. We are called to be a community of welcome for a lonely world.

Listen & Speak 2017: Session 2

Andy Crouch | Work and Rest

As part of being created in the image of God, human beings are called to reflect God’s creative capacity. Namely, we are to engage in work that involves giving order to creation and filling it with abundance. When our work engages our hearts, souls, minds, and strength then we can also embrace true rest in enjoyment of our work.

Listen & Speak 2017: Session 1

Andy Crouch | Heart-Soul-Mind-Strength

What is a human person? Andy Crouch argues that God has designed us to love him with our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This must inform our understanding of work, rest, technology, and vocation.