Sermons

Sermons

First Sunday in Advent

First Sunday in Advent So, today is the first Sunday of Advent, when we mark the beginning of a new liturgical year.  And during the week, as I was reflecting on this, I started thinking about how as children we have so many “beginnings”.  For children, everything is “new.”  Conversely, though, I also then started thinking about how the older we get, the more “endings” there seem to be.  At first, I thought this was a pretty depressing realization to…

Christ the King (Last Sunday after Pentecost)

Christ the King And Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this, I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. I still remember the first time I heard Christ referred to as “King.”  I was actually a teenager and had been invited to attend a prayer meeting in Palo Alto. The large auditorium in which we met was bare except for…

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving In our Gospel for today there’s one word that gets repeated over and over again: the word ‘Worry’. It’s something that Jesus warned against on many occasions. He says in verse 25, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear”. And again in verses 27-28, he says: “And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your…

Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost When I was 25 years old, I was living in New York City and had just been promoted to Account Executive as part of a team managing a $60 million advertising account for the agency that employed me.  I had a window office on the 12th floor looking out on Madison Avenue.  I had a wonderful apartment in Gramercy Park.  I had friends, and enough disposable income to enjoy living in New York.  Then, on a…

Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost Many of you probably remember the original Godfather movie from the 1970s.  It’s about an aging patriarch of an organized crime family who transfers control of his empire to his reluctant son, Michael.  As the film goes along we discover what this responsibility and the power that goes with it does to Michael. The closing scene of The Godfather is particularly memorable.  It is, as we are gathered today for, a baptism. Michael Corleone’s nephew is being baptized,…

All Saints (observed)

All Saints’ Day Today’s Gospel is not my favorite to preach about on All Saints’ Sunday.  I much prefer the Year A lectionary when on this day we hear the Beatitudes – Jesus’ beautiful list of the different conditions of human experience in which we are “blessed.” Today, though, we’re given the raising of Lazarus – a story that is familiar and uplifting, if not a little awkward. In the raising of Lazarus, we enter just in time to witness…

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost We’ve all heard the advice about buying real estate—it’s all about location, location, location. Well, turns out it’s also a good rule in biblical interpretation. Anybody who’s interested in knowing the deeper meaning of a biblical text can benefit a great deal by looking around its scriptural neighborhood. And this morning’s gospel reading is a good example of that. At first glance, the story of Jesus and Bartimaeus looks like a typical healing story.  Jesus helps…

Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost

Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost Proper 24B18 I have a question for you.  How do you define a fulfilled life? What I mean is, what is it about your life that, when all is said and done, will leave you feeling “satisfied”, “successful”, or “complete?” I ask this because we are now into our 7th year together as pastor and parish, and I’ve been wondering about how we all as a congregation feel about how we’re doing with defining our purpose. How…

Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost Our readings this morning are all about judgment and redemption—or, more specifically, our wrongful doings and God’s judgment of our actions and forgiveness of our wrongful doings.  In a slight twist on this theme, our Gospel readings are about a young man who comes to Jesus with what he thinks is a deep and challenging question about forgiveness: “Good Teacher,” he says, “what must I do to get into heaven?”  In other words, what must I do…

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (observed)

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (observed) In our beloved Grace Cathedral stands a beautiful statue of St. Francis of Assisi by Benjamin Bufano.  The posture of Francis in that statue is in the shape of a Tau cross. Tau is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and was used symbolically in the Old Testament as a sign to admonish the people to be faithful to God throughout their lives. Those who remained faithful throughout their lives were called the…