Sermons

Sermons at Pearl seek to engage the ancient stories, poems, and letters in the Bible through imaginative oration that rouses our wholeness as human beings. The act of the sermon at Pearl is space to ponder the sacred, opportunity to consider the mystery and love of God, and provocation to slow down, to think deeply, and to be stirred and inspired to bountifully live.

Current Series

Reconstructing Romans

How do you help different groups of people with different ways of living, imagine and ultimately desire, life together? This is the rhetorical task of Paul in Romans. The revelation of Jesus as messiah leads Paul to reimagine the scriptures, people groups, salvation, and community. Unfortunately, since the medieval age and Luther’s focus on individual salvation, Romans has often been used to divide people and to debase those who do not believe specific precepts. In this sermon series, we will examine Paul’s provocative attempt to knock down walls of hostility in Jesus’ name. Furthermore, we will follow in Paul’s footsteps to consider how the messiah, as revealed through Jesus, helps us to reimagine and ultimately desire life together in a world rife with difference. 


Recent Series

Practicing Resurrection

At the center of the sacred story we tell, week in and week out, is Resurrection: life from death, light from darkness, creation from chaos. This story has occupied a central place in the Christian imagination because it points to a new way to live. In this series, we are exploring the way of life Jesus sets forth in his Sermon on the Mount. The Resurrection speaks over every life, “You, whoever you are, whatever your circumstances, you are blessed because God is with you.” This vision of the with-God life opens up resurrected ways of being such as belonging, love and trust in community, and non-anxious relationship with one another and with the Divine. This series will suggest practices for living Christ’s wisdom within the texture of our ordinary lives.


Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross are a fourteen step Catholic devotion that commemorates Jesus’ final day on earth, which culminates in his death and burial. The fourteen devotions, or stations, focus on specific events of his last day, beginning with his condemnation. The stations are commonly used as a mini pilgrimage as individuals move from station to station. The stations are commonly found in churches as a series of fourteen small icons or images. They can also appear in church yards arranged along paths. At each station, individuals recall and meditate on a specific event from Jesus’ last day, specific prayers are recited, and then individuals move to the next station until all fourteen stations are complete.

This sermon series invites us into pilgrimage with Jesus. From his condemnation to his being laid in the tomb, we will sit before pictures—painted by words—that invite us to ponder Jesus’ last hours. Sitting, observing, and ultimately feeling, we will be encouraged to more deeply experience Jesus’ suffering, which we hope will evoke sorrow, compassion, and gratitude. Ultimately, it is our desire that by entering into the depths of Jesus’ despair, that longing for resurrection will be aroused and burst forth from within us as we begin to look past death to the hope of Easter life.


Community of Welcome: Epiphany 2019

Jesus conversed with tax collectors late at night, he visited the homes of those that the religious called “sinners,” and around a table on the night he was betrayed he broke bread and poured wine while declaring, “This is me, for you.” Sharing at Jesus’ common table reminds us that God sustains everything, includes everyone, and is drawing us all together to feast as one. This sermon series therefore intends to elevate our Christian vision of hospitality by pondering ancient stories that cast anti-hospitality and hospitality narratives. Our hope is that these stories awaken in us divine love that facilitates a way of living that recognizes God’s sustenance, makes room for others, and urges us toward generosity and self-giving.


Voices From the Wilderness: Epiphany 2019

In Epiphany the church basks in the light of Christ revealed to us. Yet simultaneously we live in a world divided by difference, riven by power structures that alienate and marginalize. To our surprise, the light of God shines upon us from the other, as God listens attentively to the voice of cries from the wilderness. In showing his mercy to the oppressed, God is revealed to them in ways the powerful do not know, so that our salvation is wrapped up into listening to their voices.

This sermon series situates us as attentive listeners to marginalized theological voices that offer the wisdom of community and belonging to our fracturing power structures. After laying a theological groundwork for attentive, non-reactive listening to marginal experiences of God, we will train our attention on three voices that are too often diminished at the table in American Christianity. From the voice of Native American theology, we will the witness of the Harmony Way. From the voice of Ecotheology, we will hear the witness of creation. From the voice of Womanist theology, we will the witness of community and table.


Christmastide 2018


Apocalyptic Light: Advent 2018

The Church intentionally established the seasons of Advent and Christmas during the darkest time of the year. It is during this dark period that our hearts especially long for warmth and light. Biblical apocalypse is a kind of light that shines into the darkness to warm our hearts. It is a light that illuminates difference; it is a light that calls us forward into the very heart of Divinity. This sermon series therefore intends to ponder a few of the apocalyptic writings in Revelation that distinguish kings, kingdoms, endings, and ultimately, nativities. It is our sincere hope that this series is an advent of light that warms our hearts and prepares us to sing once again, “Merry Christmas!”


Christ the King


Rhythms and Values

As many of us return to more consistent pace and pattern, after summer, it can be helpful to remember and reflect upon why we do what we do. This sermon series therefore intends to remind us of the rhythms that we are intentionally cultivating together and it celebrates our values, which define the fundamental elements of our essence and character.


Bible Primer

It is common to spend time reading particular verses, sections, chapters, or specific books in the Bible. However, this practice makes understanding how the whole Bible fits together and comprehending its larger motifs, difficult to follow. So, this series intends to cover every book in the Bible, in two weeks. Week One will propose a framework for how all of the books of the Bible work together and it will begin to cover the books that do not progress the Bible’s overall story. Week Two will pick up where Week One left off by covering the remainder of the books that do not progress the biblical narrative and then it will conclude by telling the story of the Bible. 


Oversight Team Reflections

During the month of August each year, we take time to hear from the hearts of our Oversight Team as they share their dreams for Pearl Church.


Galatians' Glory

This sermon series explores an ancient letter that remains relevant for Christians today, who like the Galatians, come to realize that their Christianity is not actually representative of Jesus’ good news to the world. The apostle Paul is indignant with the churches in Galatia because they have turned from a gospel of grace to a gospel of works. According to Paul, this means that the Galatians have forsaken good news and replaced it with bad news. He therefore writes a letter to remind the Galatians about the good news of Jesus and to compel them to return to a gospel of grace. This series therefore intends to do the same: to remind us that Jesus’ gospel is deeply good, and to compel us to live abundant lives enveloped and animated by glorious grace.


Pondering Divinity

This sermon series intends to ponder divinity. To be clear, the point of this series isn’t to boil divinity down to fifteen points, or one hundred points, or one thousand points – as if we can exhaust definition for the ineffable. Nor is this series an attempt at explaining God in systematic theology categories such as communicable and incommunicable attributes. That’s been done before and it’s often onerous, which ironically, doesn’t feel very divine. Instead, this series seeks to delight in pondering crazy, confusing, beautiful, and textured attempts at understanding and appreciating ultimate reality, by considering ancient stories and thoughts about God in the Hebrew scriptures and in the New Testament.


An Ode to Easter: Eastertide 2018

An ode seeks to celebrate a particular subject in the form of a song or poem. In this same spirit, this sermon series intends to offer odes to several Easter themes that encourage our celebration of the sheer glory of Easter. Those themes that we will seek to laud will include gardens, peace, repentance, care, fruit, and love. Our hope in celebrating these themes however, is more than joy or thanksgiving. It is participation. We desire these themes to have meaning, relevance, and consequence for our community in this season of Easter, 2018.


Cross Carrying: Lent 2018

Five times, Jesus is quoted as telling his followers to take up their cross. But what exactly does that mean? Is cross carrying a metaphor for suffering? If so, how does one carry suffering? Is cross carrying a path that leads to crucifixion? If so, what does that look like today, when people aren’t being crucified? Throughout Lent we are encouraged to participate in Jesus’ passion, which includes suffering, cross carrying, and death on a cross, but what does it mean for us to carry a cross, today? What does it look like for us to be the kind of Jesus followers who do what Jesus exhorts, which is to pick up their cross and follow him? 

This sermon series seeks to explore the meaning of cross carrying. Then, in the midst of this exploration, it intends to offer practical ways of carrying crosses that align our lives with Jesus’ way of being in the world. Finally, this series hopes to cast a vision for cross carrying that extends beyond just suffering and death, to the glory and new life that Jesus says is the result of following him.


Voices from the Wilderness: Epiphany 2018

In Epiphany the church basks in the light of Christ revealed to us. Yet simultaneously we live in a world divided by difference, riven by power structures that alienate and marginalize. To our surprise, the light of God shines upon us from the other, as God listens attentively to the voice of cries from the wilderness. In showing his mercy to the oppressed, God is revealed to them in ways the powerful do not know, so that our salvation is wrapped up into listening to their voices.

This sermon series situates us as attentive listeners to theological voices that cry out from the wildernesses of oppression and injustice in our society. After laying a theological groundwork for attentive, non-reactive listening to marginal experiences of God, we will train our attention on three voices that are too often diminished at the table in American Christianity. Across the power-divide of race, we will hear the witness of black theology to the God who liberates. Across the power-divide of gender, we will hear from feminist and queer theologians who witness to the God who overcomes binaries. And across the power-divide of class, we will listen to Latin American theologians who discover the preference of God for the poor.