Sermons
Sunday Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

We Belong to Christ - January 26, 2014

I Corinthians 1:10-18

Imagine with me a debate at a church finance committee meeting. George insists, "The education program matters most to me. If we cut the budget to the Sunday School, I'm out of here." Glenda counters, "I come here for the music. We need to raise the music director's salary." Ashley says, "The youth are the life in this church. Why aren't they included in the general fund?" Walter rises to take his stand: "If we don't take care of the building now we'll just have more costs later, and we won't have an attractive place for any of our programs." At last Darlene asks, "What about mission? Who are we if we don't reach out to the needy?"
To put their debate in the language of our reading from I Corinthians, George might say, "I belong to the Sunday School." Glenda, "I belong to the music." Ashley, "I belong to the youth." Walter, "I belong to the building." Darlene, "I belong to missions."
In Corinth they argued over loyalties to various leaders. In my fictional portrayal the division happens over facets of the church's program. I don't think it really matters whether we argue over leaders or programs, the risk of division is great.

Read more: We Belong to Christ - January 26, 2014

Isolate or Accommodate? - January 19, 2014

Isaiah 49:1-7

A little known piece of this church's history has to do with the German and Norwegian Methodist Churches. Less than ten years after the founding of the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Moscow, the Rev. Carl Erickson organized a Norwegian Methodist Church in 1886. The next year he started one in Blaine. Here's a test for you: does anyone know where Blaine was? (7 miles SE of Moscow, near Genesee.) The Moscow Norwegians lasted until 1915 and the Blaine Norwegian Methodists disbanded in 1955.
The German Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1905 by JA Jahn and later with Peter J. Sehnert as pastor. University of Idaho student, Anetta Mow, wrote in her diary that she and her brother, "attended church on Sundays, going to the large Methodist Church in town sometimes, and quite regularly to the German Methodist Church . . . . Baxter and I felt it would help us to speak German, and it did."
The stories of those ethnic congregations are typical in a couple of ways. As immigrants move to a new land they often prefer to pray in their native language and look to the church to help them retain the values and practices of their homeland. Often within a generation, their children have assimilated into the dominant culture and younger people no longer want to be part of an ethnic church. Many of them disband.
Isolate or accommodate? That is the question, not only for immigrant populations but for the church today. We have not migrated across an ocean. Instead a sea change is happening around us. The world is changing so fast that it seems we are in a new land.

Read more: Isolate or Accommodate? - January 19, 2014

There Are No Distinctions Here - January 5, 2014

Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 1:18-25

Call them wise men, call them kings. Call them astrologers, call them magi. Maybe there were indeed three of them, or perhaps it was only two or maybe more like four. Whoever they were, they are beloved to us, central to the Christmas story. The shepherds may have been the first ones to show up to see Baby Jesus but the story is not complete until these guys get there.
We don't know much about them, only that they came from the East. Traditionally, we say they came from Persia – modern day Iran, but we don't really know for sure, just that they came from far away.
For centuries, the story of the magi's visit to the Child Jesus has been called The Epiphany. The word itself means revealing or manifestation, like pulling the drape off the new piece of art work to finally show it to the public. Epiphany has an "aha" sense to it, like getting glasses for the first time and realizing you can actually see individual leaves on trees, or that moment in class when it finally makes sense.

Read more: There Are No Distinctions Here - January 5, 2014

Infant Holy, Infant Lowly - December 24, 2013

Luke 2:1-20

I love the nativity stories, those tales of Jesus' birth. They were my first introduction to Christianity. My family did not attend church, sing hymns, say bedtime prayers, or read the Bible – except on Christmas Eve. On that night we read the second chapter of Luke, along with "Twas the Night Before Christmas. We sang carols, always ending with Silent Night. It was a warm, family time.
For many years Luke 2 was all I knew about the Bible. I knew nothing of the Old Testament, the life and death of Jesus, or the early church. I knew, "And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn." I sang, "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and "Away in a Manger."
In addition to reading the story, our family had a creche set which we placed in the living room along with the Christmas tree and the stockings hung by the chimney with care. I still have that set. I know now that it is cheap, made of plastic so that it is cracked and chipped. And I love it. I also have a number of others I have acquired over the years, and that first one is still special.
Maybe that childhood introduction to the Christian faith through Luke 2 is why, though I now have much more sophisticated ways to talk about my faith, I still approach it in an incarnational sense. (See, I can use that sophisticated language.) The biggest wonder for me is that God came among us as a human baby, that infant holy, infant lowly, we sing of in the carol.

Read more: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly - December 24, 2013

A Baby’s Low Cry - December 22, 2013

Isaiah 7:10-17
Matthew 1:18-25

The infant whose cry you heard during our Advent Candle Ceremony was Kenadie J.H., who was baptized last Sunday. Her parents, Matthew and Cara graciously agreed to tape her crying well over a month ago when I first wrote the Advent Candle ceremonies and needed an infant's cry.
We are blessed with babies in this congregation, so if I'd waited a few more weeks it could have been Emma N. C. Or I could have gone with a somewhat older child, in which case we might have heard W. King R.
The sound of a child's cry is not uncommon here. When parents apologize to me after worship for the noise made by their children, I say, "I'd rather be distracted and have children in the church than to have no distractions and no children." The cries of our babies are a sign of life.

Read more: A Baby’s Low Cry - December 22, 2013

Current Church News

  • Family Promise of the Palouse

    Moscow First United Methodist Church is honored to be an active participant of the Family Promise of the Palouse providing temporary, safe housing for families in our community who are facing homelessness. Our next opportunity to host is December 3-10, 2017.

Get Directions

Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

Church Mission

The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...