Sermon for the First Sunday of Advent Based on Mark 13:24-37

This past week was quite the week. The resonances from last Sunday still echo. Frankly, I have never seen any installation service like that before, and I have a lifetime full of them. Appropriately celebrated on Christ the King Sunday, the service was a superb Holy Spirit-filled occasion for us to give thanks for what we have been, and to rededicate our ministry with faithfulness to God’s care of us and the world’s. I am so thankful to so many of you for its planning. More so, I am so thankful to God for the privilege now of ministry for you and ministry with you. It was a great day. Continue reading

Sermon for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost – October 15, 2017

Based on Matthew 22:1-14.

It is an off-putting gospel text to hear for a healing service. A rich fellow throws a wedding party to which his friends will not come. Then, throwing the doors wide open for everyone from the streets, he blows a gasket in anger that one of them came without appropriate attire. How fair is that? He’s a street dude, for goodness sake. But so were the others, who did manage to scavenge something fitting at a Goodwill or whatever. If this parable is about God, and God’s people, the story does not sound at first hearing like a god who is fair. Then again, it is a parable. Jesus is not necessarily talking about real clothes here. Continue reading

Sermon for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost Based on Philippians 2:1-13

Today I have no doubt that pastors throughout the country who follow the lectionary, as do we, are talking about knees. How could they not? How could the climactic verse of Philippians chapter 2 –itself quoted from an early Christian hymn–not command attention? “…so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.”

Yes, today preachers are talking about “talking a knee.” Continue reading

Sermon for A Pentecost 14 Based on Matthew 18:15-20.

Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit. Bidden or unbidden, God is present. When the human spirit soars with care for the neighbor under its wings, it is easy to overlook that God is in the wind. When the human spirit is gladdened by reason serving compassion, all is wonderful and often God smiles anonymously off in the shadows. And when reason serves ideology and the self, and not compassion, humanity is diminished, hate flares, and God is often then kept at a distance, if not angrily ignored. But the reality is that bidden or unbidden, God is present. Whether we ask for God’s presence or not, God is here. It makes a difference to remember that in whatever we do, wherever we are. Continue reading

Sermon for A Pentecost 3 June 25, 2017

Sermon for A Pentecost 3   Based on Matthew 10:24-39

Real leaders tell the truth. Real leaders– genuine vehicles of vision, promise, and hope–tell the truth and they announce beforehand the cost. Then they tell the hearers what resources they have for what is to come. Jesus tells the truth. He does not mince words nor pull punches. He states clearly what the disciples are signing up for, states clearly how personally difficult it will get, and then assures those who sign up that they already are given all they need for the work to come, and everything they need forever after. Continue reading