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: 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.
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.
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.