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South Hill UMC

South Hill UMC

By Brian Siegle
Sermons and audio reflections from South Hill United Methodist Church, in South Hill, Virginia.
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Accessorizing – that’s the image from the preaching notes that we might work with this week. The author of Ephesians wants us to realize that we are not left without resources as we seek to be made into disciples and to make disciples.
August 22, 2021
Giving Thanks
The Ephesians text talks about the times being evil, and it is often hard to argue about the brokenness of the world around us. But haranguing what we identify as societal ills will not likely lead to an experience of gratitude. Certainly, the kin-dom we proclaim is not yet fully here, which is what the author of Ephesians is warning readers about. Yet we can see glimpses of that reality around us if we begin to pay attention and call out what is right in our world, what is reflective of God’s grace and kin-dom living. Even more is the call to be the sign of God’s grace in the world, to be the example that living by kin-dom values is not only possible but preferable to the values of a broken world. This is how we give thanks at all times, by living our gratitude each and every day.
August 15, 2021
Speaking Truth
The text begins with a call to be people of the truth. “Putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors . . .” (Eph. 4:25) We often read such a verse and think it must be talking about some deep, profound truth, like Jesus Christ is Lord! And it is that, but not only that. It is truth in general. In a world so caught up in lies and deceit, to be committed to the truth – because we follow one who said of himself “I am the truth” – is to be countercultural in a profound way.
August 08, 2021
A Life Worthy
To declare that there is a life worthy of the gospel is to claim that there is a life that isn’t. There are choices to be made in how we live out our faith. And some of those choices reveal whether we are indeed “rooted and grounded in love” or not.
August 01, 2021
Rooted and Grounded in Love
The only way we can know something as deep and as profound as the love of God that we experience through the grace of Christ is through the witness of the church. How do you understand any one’s love? By living it, by sharing it, by talking about it.
July 25, 2021
He Is Our Peace
We are called to be peacemakers, which isn’t about sitting back and feeling good about ourselves. It is about walking where Christ walked in and among the people.
July 18, 2021
Setting Our Hope
The God who has blessed us in every way – that’s what we’re celebrating; that’s what we are testifying to. So, how do we celebrate such a gift? By telling our story and our stories. Who can help the whole congregation celebrate being blessed? Who can tell their stories in a way that lifts everyone up? Maybe it is the story of beginning when you first said yes to Jesus. Maybe it is a recent blessing, something that reminded you that you were precious in God’s sight. Share those stories, so that all have an opportunity to reflect on how blessed they are.
July 11, 2021
Your Bone and Flesh
Discipleship begins with relationship. With whom are we willing to be in relationship? Who is included in our understanding of bone and flesh? Who is “us” in a world of “us” and “them”? Worship on this day can be about drawing the circle as wide as possible – to acknowledge our common kinship through the Spirit. Let there be less of a nation of boasting and more of a nation striving to be the light on the hill, the shining example of the kin-dom of heaven on earth.
July 04, 2021
Growing in the New Creation
Worship this week is about growing into the new creation that we are called to be in Christ. Jesus told stories. And some of them weren’t even stories, but metaphors, or images. They were hints of stories, glimpses of something just out of reach. We need stories to help us see what living as a disciple is like. We tell our stories, and we tell stories of others as examples of a faithful life.
June 13, 2021
Being Renewed
Jesus went home and found a disturbing environment. Sometimes the place we think will renew us does the opposite and becomes draining. Those we thought were on our side turn out to be against us. It happens in families and in communities both. How do we reinterpret the beloved community of faith? What does it mean to be one family in God?
June 06, 2021
Born of the Spirit
The word, or concept, believe in the Gospel of John is more than a head thing. Nicodemus had a head thing. But he didn’t have a heart thing. Or a soul thing. He wasn’t leaning into Jesus the way Jesus wants us to lean into him. He wasn’t hungry for Jesus the way Jesus wants us to be hungry. I am the bread, I am the gate, I am the way, the truth and the life. He wants to be all for all—our light in the darkness, our hope in the midst of the world’s despair. He doesn’t want to be a side show, or a sometime friend. He wants to be the center of our lives and hopes and dreams.
May 30, 2021
Spirit Poured Out
Pentecost worship is about joy, and the invitation is to let the Spirit be poured out on you. But remember, that “you” is plural. Let the Spirit be poured out on all y’all. It was because they were gathered together that this happened.
May 23, 2021
We Are Yours
One of our values is community. We are in this together. So, while we stand, on this Ascension Sunday, looking to the Christ departing from us into heaven, we stand together. We stand side by side.
May 16, 2021
No Greater Love
We are called this day to celebrate the love that has been poured out on us and then to strive to exemplify this love in our lives. Some of that loving is nurturing and supporting and caring, like the mother we describe at our best. Like the mother many of us had.
May 09, 2021
LIsten to My Voice
The real question for us today is not, “Will God speak to me, to us today?” Instead, will we listen for that voice that is speaking? Jesus doesn’t say, “Listen and maybe I’ll have something to say.” He says, “Listen to my voice.” “I am speaking” is the implied message, so pay attention.
April 25, 2021
Touch and See
Jesus is trying to ground the disciples’ faith in the reality of his presence, in the concreteness of his being. He told them to touch him; he ate in front of them. He was announcing that he was real. What can we provide, what hands-on proof can we give that Jesus is alive among us? Of course, we have been in a pandemic and touching is still not something we want to engage in. But we can still give examples of lives being touched, hearts being touched.
April 18, 2021
Unless I See
Thomas’s question is the world’s question: “What do you have to show us about your faith? How can we see the risen Christ through you?” Unless I see.
April 11, 2021
Terror and Amazement
Easter is a day to feel, even more than to understand. It is a day to accept more than a day to explain. Even though our foundations have been shaken, we move forward, because that is where the Risen one is going. He is going ahead of you. Let’s keep moving forward.
April 04, 2021
Easter Sunrise 2021
Early in the morning... the celebration begins!
April 04, 2021
The One Who Comes
Palm Sunday is not just Palm Sunday; it is more properly Palm/Passion Sunday. That slash is important. It is a reminder that there is risk involved in taking the side of the marginalized. There is danger in trying to upset the status quo. And just when you think you’ve won your point and gathered your crowd, you discover you are alone again.
March 28, 2021
Written on the Heart
That the gospel is countercultural is beyond debate. But texts like this one are so subtly against our way of thinking that we might not even realize the pull to deny this proclamation even as we preach it. Yet, how can we make such a claim about a magnificent vision of the kin-dom of God? It seems something that we all long for on a regular basis, particularly during a time of unrest and division. This is a utopia worth claiming, so why would we be reluctant?
March 21, 2021
Look Up and Live
This is another occasion of Jesus predicting his death and the doorway that it opened for all of us. And by “another occasion,” we don’t mean how repetitive, but instead we mean we need to pay attention here. This is important.
March 14, 2021
All These Words
The Commandments are often wielded like a hammer, but what if instead, we hold up this vision of living in community as an invitation, as a choice that the world has not yet tried. Instead of restrictions, it could focus on the commitments we make to one another within the life of the community of faith. It could be a celebration of who we are as the body of Christ. It could be a reminder that we live in covenant with one another. Maybe, it is time the church leads by example.
March 07, 2021
Walk Before Me
Rending of the hearts, or what we have come to see as giving something up for Lent, has become somewhat anemic these days. Abraham gives an example of a true rending, a true sacrifice. It makes our no chocolate or coffee for a few weeks seem kind of meager. Yet, a sign is a sign. It is about our willingness and our patience.
February 28, 2021
This is the Sign
Message from South Hill United Methodist Church, in South Hill, Virginia, on Sunday, February 21, 2021.
February 21, 2021
Ash Wednesday
Message from Ash Wednesday Worship at South Hill United Methodist Church in South Hill, Virginia, on February 17, 2021.
February 18, 2021
She Began to Serve
Let us celebrate service today, but not as another call to do more, to give more, to work harder or to fill our overburdened schedules with work. Yes, there is always a call to more service. But instead, let’s celebrate service by saying “thank you.”
February 07, 2021
What Have You to Do With Us?
We are people on a journey of transformation, and it isn’t always easy. Today, we acknowledge the hard work of becoming disciples and of setting aside the weight that clings so closely, of handing over the reins of our lives so that we can be led into wholeness. And so, we can proclaim wholeness to the broken world around us.
January 31, 2021
Follow Me
How do we convince people that following Jesus is not simply about a state of being, but a call to doing? Certainly, there is a need for training, for preparation, for growing as disciples; but the end is always an outward focus, always looking for ways to connect, to widen the net.
January 24, 2021
Anything Good
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” That’s our guiding phrase from our gospel text for this week. “Anything good?” Surely you can hear how that sounds. Surely in our contentious environment, you hear the presupposition behind the sarcasm. You can hear the prejudice tucked away in such an innocuous joke. We are potentially dealing with some difficult topics this week. They are not difficult because they are complicated but because they are threatening. And personal.
January 17, 2021
Tearing Apart the Heavens
We survived 2020, and while there might still be lingering effects of the pandemic and the unrest, it is time to embrace a new possibility, a new hope. The heavens have been torn open. But this isn’t a threat; it’s a promise of something new, something better.
January 10, 2021
Living the Celebration
We’re wrapping up Christmas this week. Some may have already packed everything away; others may still be sitting in the glow of the lights and tinsel. But the goal isn’t to shuffle it all away, but rather to embrace the fullness of the community that we have become – incorporating the new but becoming one in Christ.
January 03, 2021
Enjoying the Company
There is an inevitable let down after Christmas. This is December 27, only two days after the day that most are still digesting. The other phenomenon that normally occurs at this time is that folks are starting to depart; families are returning home; people are going back to work. That may all be different now, even as we will still be recovering or enduring the pandemic. But there is still a shift in thinking, in focus. Christ has come!
December 27, 2020
Waiting on the Threshold
It’s the fourth Sunday of Advent, and the tug of war is over. Christmas now takes center stage. We need to relive the first coming of Christ, even as we still anticipate the second. We need to live into the first. We are on the threshold of a new world.
December 20, 2020
Deck the Halls
After finding the mess and cleaning it up, what now? Decorations! We reflect our inner experience with our outward appeal. When we are a place of joy and invitation and inclusion, our environment reflects that. When we are a place that understands the depth of pain and suffering, of the ugliness in our world, then our doorways open to a place of comfort and beauty and welcome. Having reflected on our need to address the mess, we now set about bringing beauty and light into the world.
December 13, 2020
Clean up Crew
This second week of Advent, we pray. We pray as though we were members of a clean-up crew, knowing we are making a difference in the world and in the lives of those around us. But prayer doesn’t prevent us from acting or from giving or serving or working. The clean-up crew has plenty to be doing.
December 06, 2020
This Place is a Mess
Advent is a penitential season, which means that we aren’t just preparing our external space to receive the Guest and our guests. We are also preparing our internal space for that reception. Spoken and sung prayers of confession can be accompanied by times of prayer at the altar rail, or in the pews, that give space for and invitation to new commitments. We begin the season of Advent by acknowledging our need to clean house, because “Company’s Coming”.
November 29, 2020
In Christ's Glory
Reign of Christ or Christ the King Sunday is an opportunity to be reminded who is the one we have chosen to follow. It is an opportunity to give thanks for the author of salvation and the one who has given us the gift of the church, the fellowship of the body that we celebrate each time we gather in person or online.
November 22, 2020
Enter into the Joy
In every gospel message, there is a call. But let it be a call to joy, not to shame or to heaviness. Let it be a call to the possibilities of transformation and growth. Invite the community to more— more love, more joy, more fellowship, and connection.
November 15, 2020
The Shout at Midnight
This worship experience is both an inspiration to live each day aware of that presence and to acknowledge that all of us are closer to the one we follow than we realize.
November 08, 2020
These Are They
All Saints Day falls on a Sunday this year. John Wesley considered it one of the greatest celebrations in the life of the church. “How superstitious are they who scruple giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of his saints!” said Wesley in 1756. Year after year, he commented on the celebration of the saints. It was a festival he dearly loved.
November 01, 2020
On These Two Commandments
Reformation Sunday is an interesting event. In one sense, it has become an opportunity for all non-Catholic churches to celebrate their history that Luther and then others led in a break from the Roman influence in Europe. Some historians claim that it was on October 31 that Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Wittenberg church door. So, this is the Sunday closest to that event.
October 25, 2020
Think On These Things
Does it seem that there are simply too many things to think about these days? It’s overwhelming, to say the least. It just might be time for a reset.
October 11, 2020
That I May Gain Christ
The world with which we desire to be in communion is broken and that part of our ongoing hope as followers of Jesus is that we proclaim the kin-dom of God until he comes. We announce the worldwide communion until it becomes a reality. We’re pressing on toward what God has in store.
October 04, 2020