Sermon for A Pentecost June 4, 2017

“Jesus is Lord.” Do we say that? Do you want to say it with me? “Jesus is Lord!.” Do you say that because I asked you to? Would you say it if I did not? Would you say it in a conversation with another? Maybe you would say that with some qualifications? Maybe explain what “Lord” means these days? Probably say it in a way that distinguishes you from others? Want to say it again? “Jesus is Lord.” Continue reading

Sermon for A Easter 3 Build Us Up, Send Us Forth Capital Campaign, Part Two

Christ is Risen! Alleluia! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! Having just replied as you’ve been taught, does it feel more like an echo now than a first excited exclamation to say that? Or all too back into ordinary time, are we cast back into the mindset of those two upset disciples walking a dusty rocky road in a world that again bears no promise for them? Continue reading

Sermon for A Epiphany 7 February 19, 2017

Duane LarsonWalter Brueggemann is a contemporary theologian who does not hedge his words. He is one of the most prolific and prophetic preachers alive.  A popular quote of his aligns closely with the point of our scripture lessons today. He says, “The crisis in the church has almost nothing to do with being liberal or conservative; it has everything to do with giving up on the faith and practice of our Christian baptism and settling for a common, generic U.S. identity that is part patriotism, part consumerism, part violence, and part affluence.” Continue reading

Sermon for A Epiphany 6 February 12, 2017

Duane LarsonBased on Deut. 30:15-20; 1 Cor. 3:1-9; Mt. 5:21-37
It was a long slog for the alto soloist. Not because the music was uninteresting and strewn with vocal passages of the character of high craggy mountains and deep dark valleys. But because, evidently, the soloist was overwhelmed by the flu in front of the full house. Verdi’s Requiem, ramped up by the Houston Grand Opera, was magnificently produced. The conductor commanded forces of the size and sound of the whole Fifth Army. Verdi’s music was as powerful and well-performed as ever. And somehow the alto soloist sang all she had to sing: with conviction, power, nuance, and expert technique. Continue reading