Central Presbyterian Church

Massillon, Ohio

"Consider the Ravens"     Rev. Tricia Petraven

Psalm 139:1-12

Luke 12:22-34

"Contradictions of the Heart"

James 3: 1-12

Romans 7: 14-25a

      “And the tongue is a fire,” James observes.  “The tongue is placed among our members as a

world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire

by hell.”  Wow!  That’s pretty strong and vivid language.  Yet every one of us can nod shamefully,

almost laughingly through our embarrassment, because we know that what James says is spot on.

Who of us have not said things we’ve regretted the instant we said them?  I know I have.  We all

would like to delete from our hard drives the vicious words we may have hurled in rage; at loved

ones, friends, work associates, acquaintances, people we don’t know. Just over the past week, we

may remember having said some things in anger, malice, or simply carelessness we’d like to take

back; or some things we’ve texted or tweeted…… 

 

“COMMUNION AND PEACE IN CHRIST”

  Ephesians 2:11-22

  John 17:20-26

 

This morning, the theme of our worship service is built upon two important and interrelated

principles.  The first principle is communion.  Communion is defined as the sharing and exchange

of intimacy on a spiritual level.  For the church of course, communion is enacted by our coming

together at the Lord’s Table to partake of the elements of bread and juice, representing the

broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ. 

"Being the GODLY PEOPLE"

Psalm 25: 1-9; Philippians 2: 1-13

Matthew 21: 23-32

"Will God Provide Our Deepest Needs?"

Exodus 16: 2-15

Philippians 1: 21-30

Matthew 20: 1-16

"Bridges Over The River Kwai"

John 20: 19-23

Psalm 32: 1-5

      One of the greatest post-World War II sagas was written by French novelist Pierre Boulle in 1952. 

Its title: The Bridge Over the River Kwai.  Five years later, Sam Spiegel produced a film version of the

novel which featured actors Alec Guinness and William Holden.  This masterpiece chronicled the

work of a group of soldiers forced by their Japanese captors to build a railway bridge across a very

difficult mountain range between Burma and Siam.  Eric Lomax, a British soldier who was captured

while stationed in Singapore, was a real-life survivor of that group of prisoners. 

"Tableside Sermons and Passing It On"

   2 Timothy 1:3-7

   Proverbs 4:1-9

     In our age of mass mobility, it seems few adults settle in the town of their upbringing.  In the

near twenty years I’ve served this church, hardly any of the children of this church family whom

I’ve been privileged to baptize, confirm, and/or marry still remain in this area. It would probably

be safe to say that many of the grandparents listening to this morning’s message are separated

from their grandchildren by many miles.  In my own case, six of my eight grandkids live some

distance away.  I thank the Lord every day that two of them live just minutes from me.

"When You Wish Upon A Star"

Colossians 1: 1-14

Psalm 46: 1-7

This morning, I’d like us to begin by focusing our attention on two particular little words; words

which are often used interchangeably in our present generation’s looseness with the English

language.  Those words are hope and wish.

      What comes to mind when we think of the word wishWish list?  Wishing well?  “When you

wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are?  Some of us may wish we knew then what we

know now.  Some might wish that I preach a short sermon today. Two of my favorite little scenes in

the film “It’s a Wonderful Life” are when George Bailey – in both his youth and early adulthood –

walks up to that cigar lighter in Mr. Gower’s Drug Store and flicks it while making this wish:  “I wish I

had a million dollars.”  Both times, it lights.  And do you remember George’s reaction?  “Hot dog!”

"Of The Vance Avenue Gang And God's Outstretched Arms"

Luke 14: 16-24

Isaiah 56: 3-8

      I don’t remember exactly the year.  It may have been 1964 or 1965.  But I do remember the

names of the members of the Vance Avenue Gang.  There was me, Kristine Dinell, Gino Lalama

[who, believe it or not, was not a blood relation], Martha Whitney, Karol Waite, David Colarossi,

and Arlene Gault.  We ruled the ten hundred block of Vance Avenue….. at least as well as a gang

of eight and nine year-olds could, or until Arlene’s older sister Gail or Karol’s older brother Karey

would chase us away].  Otherwise, we established and held fast our borders and boundaries.  If

another kid wanted to ride their bike, or sled ride, or play catch, or flip baseball cards in the ten

hundred block of Vance, they had to get the okay of our Vance Avenue Gang.  Actually, if they got

the approval of Kristine Dinell, they were fine, because Kristine could easily beat the tar out of any

of the rest of us in a wrestling match.  And how well one wrestled determined one’s authority in

the gang’s pecking order.

"Mirror, Mirror On The Wall"

Luke 18: 9-14

Psalm 25: 6-12

      “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”  How could we forget these words

refrained over and again by the queen of vanity in the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves?

On one level, these words remind us of this parable of Jesus about a righteous Pharisee and an unrighteous tax collector………

or is it perhaps the other way around?