Sermons

Read or download the text from past sermons.  The most recent sermon is typically available online by 3 PM each Monday.
 
 
 
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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

June 9, 2024

Based on Galatians 3:27-28. Baptism Beyond Binaries

It is a stunning reversal from the Paul we think we know: the one who is quoted in his letter to the Corinthians as telling women to keep silence in the churches; the one whose condemnation of idolatry in his letter to the Romans is misinterpreted to condemn faithful and loving same gender relationships.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

June 2, 2024

 

Based on Mark 2:23-27. Gleaning Grain on the Sabbath.

When and how do we eat?

The most basic of ordinary questions for Ordinary Time, for every living creature, human and more-than-human alike. From the cry of a baby for its mother’s breast to the roar of a lion for a piece of meat to the plucking of grain from the fields surrounding Capernaum for a few of the earliest disciples of Jesus, the most basic of ordinary questions for every living creature becomes when and how do we eat?

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

May 26, 2024

 

Based on Isaiah 6:1-8, selected verses. The Call of Isaiah.

Over the past couple of weeks several of you have asked how I am doing with all the transitions going on at SPC.

Truth be told, I have to laugh at the irony of the question. It seems, in hindsight, my very arrival as your pastor has brought nothing but transition!

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

May 19, 2024

Based on Psalm 104. The Spirit Renews the Earth.

Just about everything we do in the church, if we trace it back far enough, can be attributed to the wisdom of the earth.

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Debbie Romano

“Blessing the Distance”
May 12, 2024

Our lesson this morning comes from the Gospel of Luke chapter 24. I will offer a reflection on several verses in the chapter as we listen for God’s word in scripture and in Spirit.

(50-53) “Then Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple blessing God.”

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist
May 5, 2024

Based on Psalm 98. All Creation Sings with Praise

I wanted to have a hymn sing today. You and I lifting our voices in grateful song with the psalmist and the earth, the rivers and the hills, the world and those who dwell in it. Then came Tuesday, with its escalation of student campus protests against the war in Gaza. And I am compelled to speak in response.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist
April 28, 2024

Based on John 15:1-4. Vine, branches, fruit.
Also based on “What is the earth asking of us?” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

It seems providential, if you believe in such things, that a Presbyterian Pastor would move into a home in upstate New York with a grape vine winding its way along the columns of the front porch.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist
April 21, 2024


Based on John 10:11-16, selected verses.

When Jesus says, I AM, throughout the Gospel of John,
he evokes the name of God revealed to Moses at the Burning Bush.
God tells Moses, when speaking to the people, to say:
I AM has sent you.

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Christa Mastrangelo Joyce
April 14, 2024
 

This past summer of 2023, The Barbie movie made its debut in the US and quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon. It was very low on my list of movies to see, however, until our own Mary Ann Hitt posted on social media that not only had she seen it, but that she loved it. If Mary Anne says so, it must be true, I thought. And so it was that I became one of more than a billion people to see this movie.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

March 31, 2024

 

Based on John 20:11-16. Mary supposes Jesus to be the gardener.
Also based on Littlefoot, 19, by Charles Wright. “The bird hour.”

In my family, my husband is the gardener.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

March 24, 2024

Based on Mark 15:24, And they crucified him.

Also based on “A People’s Historian” by Kenneth Carroll

If we want to recover, we have to tell the truth. A terrible story has to be told.

This is the premise for any form of healing. From addiction, from abuse, from violence, from historical harm. First, we have to admit we have a problem.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

March 17, 2024

 

Based on John 12:20. Now my soul is troubled.

According to Phoebe Zerwick, writing this week in The New York Times, her mother made an announcement as her breathing became labored on the day before her death in upstate New York:

I have a new leader, Phoebe’s mother said.

Who is that? Phoebe replied.

Mark, Phoebe’s mother answered. He’s going to take me to the other side.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist
March 3, 2024

Based on Exodus 20:6

Showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation

In the past couple of weeks, more than one of you has shared with me that the SPC History Project, with its unveiling of our pro-slavery heritage, has shaken your sense of enthusiasm when it comes to defining this church we love so much.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

Feburary 25, 2024
 

Based on Genesis 17:15

Sarah shall be her name.

Many of you know that the congregation I served in upstate New York before I came to SPC includes a sizable population of immigrants from the West African nation of Togo.

The first challenge I encountered in this cross-cultural context of ministry came through the most basic of questions: What is your name?

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist
February 18, 2024

Based on Mark 1:12

And the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness.

Many years ago, when I first moved to Tucson, Arizona, I was warned about the prevalence of what they call The Tucson Headache.

The air is so dry and the humidity is so low that water near the surface of the human body evaporates almost immediately. I would joke that my hair would dry before I got out of the shower! My eyelids would crack. Bridges would cross rivers with no water in them.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

February 11, 2024

 

Based on Mark 9:2-9. Transfiguration as Inner Work

A couple of years ago, one of our members here at SPC reached out to me with a historical question: what was the congregation doing in the days leading up to the Civil War?

The assumption was that we were actively engaged with the social justice issues of the day, in much the same way we try to be now.

It broke my heart to respond gently, but truthfully, that we were not. In fact, quite the opposite.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

February 4, 2024

 

It can seem as if we have been abandoned, when the person who has stepped up in a moment of crisis to heal us and restore us to some semblance of sanity is called to move on.

How could you leave us! we might cry out. We still need you. What will we do without you?

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

January 28, 2024

 

Based on Mark 1:16-20. Fishing for a Movement.

We, as a communal species, are at a pivotal point in our human evolution. So says Deborah Threadgill Egerton, author of Know Justice, Know Peace: A Transformative Journey of Social Justice, Anti-Racism, and Healing through the Power of the Enneagram.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist
January 21, 2024

Based on 1 Corinthians 7:29-31. Paul Prepares for the End of the World

One of the most beloved prayers in the recovery community, that is not often known beyond that community, is termed The Set Aside Prayer.

God, the Set Aside Prayer, says, help me to set aside everything I think I know about addiction, about recovery, about myself, and even about you, God, so that I might have a new experience with all of these things.

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Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist
January 14, 2023

Based on Psalm 139:1-18. The Beauty of the Body

Early in my ministry, as many of you know, I worked with college women around the country to claim a Christian faith that empowers women. Many of us had experienced a Christian faith that does not empower women, or people of color, or the LGBTQIA+ community, or people who live in poverty, and on and on. Much to the chagrin of Jesus, I would suggest.

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