Posts in Jonathan Perry
Small Story, Big Story: Wallbreaker (Acts 10:9-48)

Something there is that doesn't love a wall...and that something is the Holy Spirit. In extremely tumultuous times, God sent an angel to the "enemy" and a vision to Peter to help tear down walls and break down barriers between the Jewish people and the Gentiles—this story shows us all that God's love has always Opening the doors wider so that all would be welcomed in to the kindom of God.

Small Story, Big Story: The Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:27-39)

In the beautiful story of the Ethiopian Eunuch, we meet the very first gentile who was baptized into the beloved family. This person was in every way an outsider—a non-binary, Ethiopian gentile—but they were drawn to Jerusalem in pursuit of a God who loved all. However, once human beings get involved, exclusion usually takes place. And of course, even though they read in Isaiah that they were welcome, they weren’t fully welcome at the temple. On their way back home, they encountered Phillip, and in this story, we see the heart of God at work in a broken world—a heart for inclusion, justice, and love of all people.

Small Story, Big Story: Samaritan Woman (John 4:6-23)

Jesus was constantly breaking down barriers and going to places and speaking to people that he “shouldn’t” have sought out. In one story, Jesus makes the radical decision to speak to a person who was 1. A Samaritan, 2. A Woman, and 3. An Outsider—all big no-no’s in his day. Jesus sees her—sees her story, her worth, and her truth and he invites her to drink of the living water that satisfies the soul and assures her that there’s not a set of behaviors or places that connect to you to God, but instead it’s being open to God from the depth of your spirit and the truth of who you are.

Small Story, Big Story: Esther (Esther 4:14)

Have you ever totally missed the point of a story? Well, here’s one that you may have heard, but with fresh eyes we can see new truths. Esther was a queen, but powerless. She was caught up in the same system of oppression as everyone else under the rule of relentless, all-powerful king. But when the ultimate evil threatened the lives of all of her people, she made the choice to risk her life, reveal her identity, and save her people—for such a time as this.

Small Story, Big Story: Jonah (Jonah 4:6-11)

Jonah ran in the exact opposite direction of where God asked him to go. He didn’t see God’s vision of love for all people, but God’s love is cross-cultural—for everyone—and always loving and kind, even when people aren’t. God seeks out to restore, not destroy—to unite, not divide. God cares about all of us.

Small Story, Big Story: Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego (Daniel 3:12-27)

Three friends made the choice to stand up, literally, and not bow to a golden statue of the king in power. When the king learned that they would not worship him, he had them bound and thrown into a fiery furnace. But, they didn’t burn and even more shocking, there was a fourth being in the fire with them! They only thing that burned away was their bindings. We have a future and a hope, no matter the trial. When we stand up against injustice, God is with us.

Small Story, Big Story: Exodus (Exodus 1:8-11)

We’re beginning a new journey at Open called “Small Story, Big Story” where we will unpack some of the most common Bible stories and find glimpses of the greater story of God’s love in each of them. Today, we begin with the story of Moses and the great Exodus of the Israelite people out of Egypt. As we look a little closer, we begin to see how God hears, draws near, and sends us out to do justice work in our world today!

Stories of Open: Open's Story (Ephesians 3:17-20)

We’re celebrating 2 years of the Open community and all of the incredible people who call it home. So far, we’ve heard the inspiring stories of some of our Open friends, but today, we’ll remember and tell the story of Open as a community—how we came to be, how we’ve grown, and get a glimpse at who we’ll become.

Stories of Open: Contentment (Philippians 4:11-13)

Did you know that the secret to contentment is right here in our scripture library? Contentment is something that many of us have spent so much of our lives searching for, and God has something to share with us. Today, we also have the opportunity to listen to and learn from the story of Paige Dixon of our Open community, and perhaps we will continue to discover the sacred beauty of each of our own stories along the way.

Stories of Open: Mother's Day (Isaiah 66:13)

On Mother’s Day, we gather to contemplate the Mother God and to affirm that God is neither created in the image of man or woman, but transcends it all and lifts us all up as equals. If we all are created in the image of an infinite God, then we need to hear each other’s stories in order to see a more complete vision of God. Today, we also have the opportunity to listen to and learn from the story of Courtney Banatoski of our Open community and perhaps we will each discover the sacred beauty of each of our own stories along the way.

Stories of Open: Witness (Acts 1:8b)

We all have a story to share, an important story of our experience with God and life and lessons along the way. We don’t always think of our story as valued and needed, but your story is sacredly important. If we all are created in the image of an infinite God, then we need to hear each other’s stories in order to see a more complete vision of God. Today, we have the opportunity to listen to and learn from the story of Layton Hernandez of our Open community and perhaps we will each discover the sacred beauty of each of our own stories along the way.

Easter at Open (John 20:11-17)

The celebration of Easter at Open was so life-giving! (Just as Easter should be, of course). This Easter, experience Jonathan's message about Mary Magdalene's story and the ever-present power of resurrection invite us to live as people of a love that overcomes.

Reclaim: King (Luke 13:18-19)

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter that begins the Holy Week. It is the day that we remember and celebrate the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem as king, but as a different kind of king than everyone expected. Kings and kingdoms feel ancient and patriarchal, but there is life to be found when we learn what kind of King Jesus was claimed to be.

Reclaim: Sin (John 13:34)

Sin is a difficult word that has caused a lot of harm in our world. But, when we take a deeper look at the heart of God, it seems that maybe sin isn't a list of don'ts, but something deeper and more true. Let's revisit and reclaim this word and find together that sin isn't our identity, but instead it's what disturbs the flourishing of God's creation.

Holding Space for Lament (Psalm 13)

When life is really difficult, questions begin to arise: "God, where are you? How long? Help us!" The good news is that our faith tradition holds space for lament, but do we? In our time together this week, we intentionally hold space to pray through some of the Psalms, talk about how it's okay to not be okay, and look forward together to a God who hears us.