34 episodes

A live recording of sermons preached each Sunday at Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland, with the Rev. Dr. Tom Blair, the Rev. Amy Carlson, and the Rev. Jenn DiFrancesco. Updated weekly!

Second Presbyterian Church, Baltimore Second Presbyterian Church

    • Christianity

A live recording of sermons preached each Sunday at Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland, with the Rev. Dr. Tom Blair, the Rev. Amy Carlson, and the Rev. Jenn DiFrancesco. Updated weekly!

    “And the Walls Came Tumbling Down” - Sermon for March 29, 2020

    “And the Walls Came Tumbling Down” - Sermon for March 29, 2020

    Nobody has every said, "A crisis? Yippee!" But the children of God are called to "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Yes, even in times of unprecedented fear such as this. As Rev. Tom describes, like a trapeze artist jumping from one swinging bar to another, we will have times when our lives are up in the air, with no security to ground us. In these times, we are not called to find shelter too quickly, to pray for stability to soothe our worries right away. No, Jesus did not claim that his time with us would end all suffering, but foresaw that even the most splendorous of humanity's works are temporary and could crumble to ruin, leaving not one stone upon a stone. Such is what happened to the Temple in Jerusalem, and also to countless other buildings and institutions glorifying God throughout history, and also to many livelihoods and lives in peril right now. But as Rev. Tom teaches, no such structures can limit God. God's love is found not only in peaceful times and serenity, but most strongly in times of suffering. Here and now is where God's love is found, reaching out to others, in compassion and healing. Do not despair; God is here. (Bible reading - Mark 13:1-8, 24-27, NRSV)

    Adult Seminar: "Learning to Walk in the Dark: Because Sometimes God Shows Up at Night by Barbara Brown Taylor" - Beginning next Sunday, April 5, 11 AM following worship. For technical reasons, you will have to leave the worship meeting and log on separately to attend the Adult Seminar at this link: https://zoom.us/u/abjRcspWR. (Dial-In: 1-646-558-8656; Meeting ID# 308 659 340.) We will be reading and discussing "Learning to Walk in the Dark," which is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Learning-Walk-Dark-Because-Sometimes/dp/B00IA69FG6/. The Kindle version is free with Kindle Unlimited.

    One Great Hour of Sharing - Restoring Hope, Feeding the Hungry, Empowering the Oppressed. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, we are reminded that the most vulnerable in our midst suffer first, most, and longest. For over 70 years during Lent, OGHS has supported these vulnerable people among us. Please give generously. Text “SeekShareServe” to 73256, and select the OneGreatHourSharing2020 fund.

    • 15 min
    “The Recipe of Love” - Sermon for March 22, 2020

    “The Recipe of Love” - Sermon for March 22, 2020

    There's a saying: "A cook is only as good as the ingredients." If the essentials for a good recipe aren't there from the beginning, then the cook cannot make what's needed. As Rev. Amy describes today, whether it's cooking without sugar, building a house without a foundation, or trying to follow the law of God without knowing the love of God, we cannot succeed without the basics. When Jesus disputed with the scribes of the Temple, he didn't argue about burnt offerings or how to meticulously perform sacrifices. He spoke of love - love for God and love for neighbour - a transformational love that brings us all closer to the kingdom of God. Rev. Amy shows how in this time of crisis, isolation and fear, this focus on our basic need for love is needed more than ever. When our lives seem ready to crumble like a cookie, love is the one special ingredient that can bind us together. (Bible reading Mark 12:28-37)

    With in-person worship cancelled due to the pandemic, consider making an offering online or through the mail if you are financially able. Your continued support for is important to maintain Second’s ministries to our congregation and to the many mission organizations that serve those in need in Baltimore and beyond. Thank you. You may text your offering to 73256, entering “SeekShareServe” in the message box. (Please don't set up another account if you already have a Realm account as it creates accounting confusion.) You can also make a one-time gift through the church website: https://secondpresby.org/give-now/

    Pastors' Zoom Office Hours - On Mondays through Fridays we will hold pastor "Zoom office hours" between 10 am and 12 noon. Anytime during this time, you can click the office hours link and meet a pastor on Zoom to talk, laugh, pray, cry, etc. Link: https://zoom.us/j/358828399. Meeting ID: 358 828 399. Phone: 1-646-558-8656.

    Easter Memorial Flowers - The Chancel Guild plans to decorate church for Easter inside and out, and to share that with the neighborhood and online. Donations for Easter memorial flowers will be received until Palm Sunday, April 5. The donor’s name, along with the names of the persons remembered or honored, will be printed in the bulletin. The lilies and other flowers will be delivered after the Easter services to our shut-ins by the Deacons. Email names to Joyce Zimmerman, jzimmerman@secondpresby.org. Checks may be made payable to Second Presbyterian Church with a notation at the bottom “for Easter flowers” and mailed to the church at 4200 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore MD 21218.

    • 14 min
    "Another Brick in the Wall" - Sermon for March 15, 2020

    "Another Brick in the Wall" - Sermon for March 15, 2020

    Today's church services were held online only, due to coronavirus concerns. The full 11 AM service can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/secondpresby/videos/690774551660768/

    The Church has always needed to face uncertainty. Whether this uncertainty was viruses, war, poverty, or other calamities - the followers of Jesus have always been a part of this world and its troubles. As Rev. Tom describes, Jesus and anyone who would be his disciple must face another difficulty - they never really fit in. In the reading from Mark, a vineyard owner and his servants face violent opposition from those entrusted to grow the vineyard. Even his son is not immune to their wrath. Our pastor from Pennsylvania describes how Jesus' spiritual purpose on Earth is like a keystone - not fitting in with the expected pattern of bricks in a facade, because it has a deeper, special purpose within the whole. As Rev. Tom describes, we too are called to act in a new way within community, to build on the foundation of the keystone, to support the whole world in the process of God's redeeming works. (Bible reading - Mark 12:1-12, NRSV)

    We ask you to remember to continue giving. In times like these, our financial demands tend to increase rather than decrease. We encourage you to give online at www.secondpresby.org/give-now/. (And you can always mail in a check.)

    Collecting Food Bags for Families Affected by Virus-related School Closures or Income Loss - We are in close contact with CARES about potential needs for the marginalized during this pandemic. Many students at Guilford Elementary/Middle School (and around the city) rely on breakfast and lunch provided by the school. If schools close due to the coronavirus, our community children could go hungry. Others in hourly service jobs may go without pay or lose their jobs. We are proactively putting together food bags (using our t-shirt bags) of non-perishable foods. These will be handed out by GEDCO CARES if schools are closed. If not, the food will be distributed during regular CARES Food Pantry hours.

    For Each T-Shirt Bag:

    2 boxes spaghetti

    2 jars spaghetti sauce

    2 boxes Velveeta Shells & Cheese

    4 Ramen noodle packages

    2 boxes of cereal (Frosted Flakes & Honey Nut Cheerios)

    6-pack of individual sweetened apple sauces

    2 cans green beans

    6 or 8-pack box of granola bars

    2 cans tuna

    2 cans of a hearty soup

    Drop off bags in the Mission Corner or at the church office during regular business hours, Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM.

    Habitat for Humanity Spring Build Days - Saturdays, March 21, May 2, May 30; and Fridays, April 17, June 12. New Habitat for Humanity build days in the Woodbourne-McCabe neighborhood will start up in March and are currently scheduled through November. We are looking for volunteers. If interested, sign up online here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904094ba8a922a3fb6-habitat. Rev. Jenn DiFrancesco at jdifrancesco@secondpresby.org can also answer your questions.

    Mission Book Group - Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour. We are postponing our March book group until April - Wednesday, April 15, 7 PM, Westcott Room.

    • 15 min
    "More Than Meets the Eye" - Sermon for March 8, 2020

    "More Than Meets the Eye" - Sermon for March 8, 2020

    For ages, people have referred to those without awareness or discernment as blind - metaphorically speaking. Whether the blindness is physical, intellectual or spiritual, all types of blindness separate us from others and from good gifts that could be right in front of us. Today, Rev. Tom describes the story of Jesus meeting the blind beggar, Bartimaeus. Although it's short, the story has an important detail - that Bartimaeus left behind his only possession - his cloak - to reach Jesus. This cloak was more than a garment to Bartimaeus; it was the only way the blind beggar would be able to catch and hold onto the money given to him. But now that Jesus was healing his sight, that tool would no longer be needed. Rev. Tom reflects on what it is that we need to let go of, things that no longer do us any good, in order to receive God's blessings too. (Bible reading - Mark 10:46-52, NIV)

    "MARKed by Christ" Lenten Bible Study, Mondays through April 6, 7:30 PM via Zoom and Thursdays through April 9, 9 AM, Westcott Room. Our weekly Lenten Bible Studies on the Gospel of Mark began this week. We had a nice turnout online though Zoom on Monday. if you would like to receive a link to join this Monday, click here (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe-OI03PquOxORITvrEFE8nAH7wosDRLSHgxCD2ReSncd6rag/viewform) to opt in. For those who prefer to meet in person we will also be offering a Bible Study at 9 AM on Thursday mornings. Through the study of scripture we will open our hearts to recognize how we have been MARKED by Christ and called to be disciples.

    Habitat for Humanity Spring Build Days - Saturdays, March 21, May 2, May 30; and Fridays, April 17, June 12. New Habitat for Humanity build days in the Woodbourne-McCabe neighborhood will start up in March and are currently scheduled through November. We are looking for volunteers. If interested, sign up online here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904094ba8a922a3fb6-habitat. Rev. Jenn DiFrancesco at jdifrancesco@secondpresby.org can also answer your questions.

    Mission Book Group - Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour, Wednesday, March 18, 7 PM, Westcott Room. As a child, Elias Chacour lived in a small Palestinian village in Galilee. When tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million forced into refugee camps in 1948, Elias began a long struggle with how to respond. In Blood Brothers, he blends his riveting life story with historical research to reveal a little-known side of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This book offers hope and insight that can help each of us learn to live at peace in a world of tension and terror.

    • 13 min
    "The Look of Love" - Sermon for February 16, 2020

    "The Look of Love" - Sermon for February 16, 2020

    Bible reading - Mark 7: 1-23

    Today, Rev. Tom describes how Jesus deals with hypocrisy, and how we can deal with it too - not with hypocrites (though those are always present), but the hypocrisy within ourselves. As he illustrates in two stories, humans have a hard time being true to themselves - our desires simply make us blind to our own true motivations. Jesus needed to rebuke the Pharisees not because they didn't respect the law or didn't think it mattered, but because they were following rules that they thought were better than God's. Like a driver being inundated with constant barrage of traffic signs and lights, we can't keep every traffic law, and soon stop following them, but drive for our own desires. But Jesus finds the Spirit behind God's law, and shows how following that can cleanse us of all law-breaking - by working on and changing our hearts, where all desires for law-breaking resides.

    Birmingham, Alabama School Concert Choir to Sing at Second, Sunday, February 23, 11 AM - The 110-member concert choir from the Indian Springs School of Birmingham, Alabama, will perform the anthems during our 11 AM worship service next Sunday as part of their Washington DC area tour. Indian Springs is a private boarding and day school for students in grades 8-12. The choir has garnered critical praise for their sensitivity and "exciting, vibrant" singing. Please join us next Sunday for this special addition to our worship service.

    Lent 2020: "MARKed by Christ" - Mark’s brief Gospel shares numerous encounters as Jesus meets people in all kinds of life situations. In Mark’s Gospel, everyone matters. They may be very ill, very self-centered, very possessive, or very set in their ways (not unlike us.) Mark’s brevity demands our attention. And Jesus joins in their life’s journeys. He understands people all too well, undercutting self-defenses and delivering invitations (albeit challenging ones) to all who will hear. Can we allow ourselves to be touched by Jesus this season and take some new steps along with him in our journey of faithfulness?

    Ash Wednesday Worship Service, Wednesday, February 26 - Light Meal, 6 PM, Smith Hall. Worship 7 PM, Sanctuary

    "MARKed by Christ" Lenten Bible Study - Mondays, March 2 to April 6, 7:30 PM via Zoom. Thursdays, March 5 to April 9, 9 AM, Westcott Room. (Zoom Tutorial - February 23 & March 1, 10 AM in the Cafe.) This Lenten Season, as a part of our series MARKed by Christ, we will continue the Lenten tradition of offering a Bible Study. Together in community we will read and reflect on the Gospel of Mark. This year, we are trying something new by offering this Bible Study via Zoom, an online video chat. Zoom is very user friendly and will enable us to gather from the comfort of our homes without interrupting busy family schedules, worrying about driving at night or in inclement weather, and even allowing our members who live out of state to participate as well! Our zoom study will take place Mondays at 7:30 PM. For those who prefer to meet in person, we will also be offering a Bible Study at 9 AM on Thursday mornings. If you have never used Zoom and would like some help with it, we will be meeting at 10 AM in the Cafe on Feb 23rd and March 1st to offer a brief tutorial. Through the study of scripture we will open our hearts to recognize how we have been MARKED by Christ and called to be disciples.

    • 15 min
    “How Much Baggage Do We Need?” - Sermon for February 9, 2020

    “How Much Baggage Do We Need?” - Sermon for February 9, 2020

    Good project managers don't plan a project without know they have the proper resources of people, materials and time. But as Rev. Tom describes today, Jesus also knows what his followers need to NOT have. The baggage that we all carry around with us can weight us down, keeping us from our true calling in Christ. Jesus helps us with holding on to the unshakable faith that truly sustains us, and also removes those parts of our lives that burden us with pain and anxiety. Like Auguste Rodin, who created sculptures like The Thinker and Danaid by removing the parts of the stone that don't belong, Jesus removes the unnecessary parts of us, until only the necessary remains - love and true faith that God will work goodness in this world, whatever we might have to set aside. As Christians, we are called to follow our Lord, who gave up everything - humbling himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

    (Bible reading - Mark 6:1-13, RSVCE)

    Lenten Devotional Contributors Wanted - Second's Christian Nurture Council, in charge of coordinating education and fellowship, has organized Advent and Lenten devotionals for several years. We're hoping to attract a wider variety of contributors this Lenten season so we're issuing an open invitation. Anyone in the congregation who feels moved is encouraged to contribute. You will be provided with instructions, Bible verses, and a due date. We are open to personal and heartfelt expressions of your faith during Lent - a prayer, a reflection, a picture, etc. What a wonderful way to contribute your talents to our faith community during this holiest of seasons! Please sign up with Shay Herman at herman7003@comcast.net or 410-591-4594.

    Sisters Circle College Care Package Project - Second is collecting items for Sisters Circle College Care Packages till February 24th. Sisters Circle is a long-term mentoring program beginning in elementary school and continuing to offer support to young women as they pursue college education or post-high school vocational training. We would like to provide each of their 25 young women with care packages as they prepare for spring semester finals. The suggested NEW items we would like to include in the package are:

    • Post-It Notes

    • Pens/Pencils/highlighters

    • Erasers

    • Fun Socks

    • Chapstick/lip balm

    • Herbal Tea and Hot chocolate packets

    • Granola bars, microwave popcorn and other small non-perishable snacks

    • Individually wrapped hard candies and chocolate

    • Travel Size toiletries

    • Stress Ball

    • Playing Cards/Uno Cards

    Please drop off items in the mission corner in the basket labelled “College Care Packages”.

    • 19 min

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