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Sermons

Love that Abides

John 15:9-17 Rev. Elizabeth Michael Preached at University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, NC New Testament scholar Frances Taylor Gench offers this short description of Jesus in the gospel of John: “Wordy is the Lamb.”[1]  Indeed Jesus is a little loquacious in the fourth gospel.  We read today from chapter fifteen, the second of four consecutive chapters that together form Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse.”  Some 2700 words

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The Making of Witnesses

The Making of Witnesses Margaret LaMotte Torrence Sixth Sunday after Easter May 6, 2016   Today, we hear the final words of the gospel of Luke. Jesus’ disciples are gathered together, and have just heard a report that Jesus is alive.   Luke 24:36-53 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled

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What is Good About this News?

Matt Moorman Isaiah 53.7-12 Acts 8.26-40 April 29, 2018 Why does this story matter?  Is it simply an account of how the church’s membership and mission initially opened to Gentiles, or to people, like the eunuch, who were considered ritually unclean?  If that’s all it is, then the writer of Luke-Acts would’ve spent far less time filling the story with such rich, literary details.  Is

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The Shepherding God

Psalm 23 Preached by Rev. Elizabeth Michael University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, NC April 22, 2018   The Reverend Doctor Sam Wells begins his book, The Nazareth Manifesto[1], with three scenarios, each of them quickly familiar to most people of a certain class who have attempted to celebrate Christmas in our modern world. First, he invites you to imagine shopping for a gift for the

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After Breakfast

Margaret LaMotte Torrence John 21:1-19 pp. 115-116 Third Sunday of Easter April 15, 2018 “After Breakfast”   One of the gifts of growing up in the church is that each season becomes layered with memories. I cannot sing “Silent Night” without remembering every sanctuary in which I have spent a Christmas Eve. We begin to sing and suddenly I can feel velvet pew cushions, hear

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The Marks of the Church

Margaret LaMotte Torrence Sunday, April 8, 2018 The Marks of the Church John 20:19-31 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his

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The Rhythms of Easter

The Rhythms of Easter Margaret LaMotte Torrence Easter Sunday April 1, 2018 Matthew 28:1-10   After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance

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The Road to Glory

March 25, 2018 Palm/Passion Sunday Mark 11:1-11 “The Road to Glory” Reverend Elizabeth Michael   In my biblical studies classes, we were taught to pay attention when the pace of scripture slowed way down.  Especially in Mark…Mark who moves the quickest of the gospel writers, whose favorite word is “immediately” and who rushes Jesus on from scene to scene with hardly a breath or extra

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Youth Sunday

  Jeremiah 31:31-34 Psalm 51:1-2, 6-12 John 12: 20-33   Katie Billings – Jeremiah 31:31-34 It was January 28th, a Friday afternoon, and I anxiously sat in AP Biology, my last class of the week. With each passing minute, I could feel my heart rate accelerate, then finally, the bell rang. I rushed out to my 97 honda accord, Wanda the Honda, sat through the

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Snake Stories

March 11, 2018 Fourth Sunday of Lent Numbers 21:4-9/ John 3:14-21 “Snake Stories” Margaret LaMotte Torrence When I am in my office during the week, I can always hear Kate Rogers coming, and it always makes me smile. Kate likes to make the rounds when her morning at preschool is over. She dispenses hugs, gathers various snacks, and generally spreads cheer wherever she goes. Sometimes

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