Sermons

Sermons

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost If there is one thing that is certain it’s that life is unpredictable. Few of us probably need to be reminded of that. Because few of us have not felt the effects of the unpredictability of life. No matter how well we try to plan things out, there always remains the possibility that at any moment something could happen that, at best, will mean taking a detour along a road on which we had not expected…

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost If you’ve ever seen the movie Places in the Heart, you will probably never forget the closing scene. The setting is a small and simple church in Texas.  Every character of any significance in the movie is seated in the pews. The camera moves in on the preacher at the pulpit as he reads the moving verses from the 13th chapter of Paul’s First Letter to the Church in Corinth.  In those verses we hear how…

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost There are two kinds of people that we usually despise. The first are people who can never be trusted to tell the truth.  We all know people for whom a lie is just a more convenient interpretation of reality.  People who just have trouble telling the truth.  Carl Jung once noted that there were only two kinds of people he could not “cure:” schizophrenics and compulsive liars because both create alternative realities. The second kind of…

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost We have two movements to our Gospel story this morning—a coming in and a sending out. First, the coming in: I imagine the townsfolk of Nazareth abuzz that their hometown boy has returned. All gather in the synagogue, anticipating what he is going to say. Very much like you are sitting here today awaiting a good word. St. Mark doesn’t tell us what Jesus said. But a similar account in the Gospel of Luke suggests that…

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote. “How do you measure success? To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a redeemed social condition or a job well done; To know that even one…

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost In his book, “The Conquest of Fear,” the Canadian clergyman Basil King points out that fear causes more misery than all the sin and sickness in the world combined.    He writes, ”We are not sick all the time. We are not sinning all the time. But most people are afraid of something or somebody much of the time.” Of course, reasonable fear is a good thing. In fact, I would argue, a gift from God. Fear…

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost On some level, each of our readings this morning touches on the intrinsic value of the individual, apart from how the world sees us or our potential. When God sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons, God did not choose the son who had the outward appearance of being blessed (by his physical appearance or accomplishments), but instead, chose David, the youngest, whom no one expected. And in the case of Jesus’ parables, the image…

Third Sunday after Pentecost

Third Sunday after Pentecost Forgiveness is one of those acts of the human soul that we all eventually have to wrestle with on a personal level. And while I find it is within the ability of most of us to forgive others and to even forgive ourselves (which most people find to be the more difficult task), I have also found that there are those individuals who feel that they have done some deed so heinous that they cannot be…

Second Sunday after Pentecost

Second Sunday after Pentecost A pastor served a church that happened to be near a synagogue. The synagogue was served by a rabbi who always walked to work on the Sabbath, even though his house was quite some distance away.  The rabbi had a car, but for him it wasn’t proper to drive on the Sabbath, because that constituted work. Sometimes, though, the pastor noticed this same rabbi would ride a bike to the synagogue on the Sabbath.  So the…

Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday One day a little girl asked her father, “Daddy, what is God like?” The question sounded innocent enough until the father actually tried to put his answer into language that a five-year-old could relate to. Finally, he gave the answer for which fathers are famous: “Go ask your mother.” The little girl went to her mother with the same question, “Mommy, what is God like?” The mother soon realized that she had no adequate answer for her daughter…
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