Sermons

Sermons

Second Sunday in Lent

I think all of us are familiar with the term “unconditional love.”  It’s a wonderful notion: to be loved just as you are, with no preconditions or expectations.  It is a concept that is central to the Christian faith.  But as wonderful as it is, there’s something missing from unconditional love.  It’s great to love someone unconditionally, but sometimes life requires a sense of commitment that unconditional love just doesn’t include.  You might love someone unconditionally, but that doesn’t mean…

First Sunday in Lent

Even though our current prayer book has been approved for use in the Episcopal Church for more than 40 years, it’s still surprising to me how many people are not aware that in it are two versions of the Lord’s Prayer.  If you’re not familiar with them, you can look in your prayer books on page 364 at the top, where you’ll see there is the traditional version on the left and the contemporary version on the right.  There are…

Last Sunday after Epiphany

It has been said, “It is seldom that the same man knows much of science, and about the things that were known before science.”  That is because when the only valid way for our sense of what we know to grow is through the accumulation of knowledge, there is no room left for wisdom. Knowledge is gained by attaining proof. Wisdom is granted by God and is a mystery. Because we live in an age in which “proof” reigns supreme,…

Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

The Church makes many claims about God – about who God is, and what God does, and what God is like. And the biggest of all—the one that is at the core of all of our claims—is that God is love. We sing songs about the God of love. We pray to the God of love. We offer the gift of ourselves to the God of love. And then, this morning, which happens to be the Sunday of Valentine’s Day…

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

How many of you have known people who inspired you by their patience and commitment?  People who remained faithful – especially through a period of trial. Simeon and Anna were elderly Jews who remained faithful and who held on to their hope and faith in God.  Simeon and Anna believed that God would not leave the chosen people forever, so, they did what they could, and they waited.  One translation of the Gospel text says that Simeon “was upright and…

Second Sunday after Epiphany

A young farmer was standing in his field one day when he observed a peculiar cloud formation. The clouds formed the letters G, P, C. Being a good Christian, he concluded that it must be a message from God.  He thought to himself, “God is calling me to Go Preach Christ!”  So, the young farmer rushed to find his pastor and the leaders of the church and insisted that he had been called by God to Go Preach Christ.  Respectful…

Baptism of Our Lord

There are many things we learn from our faith.  We learn how to treat other people.  We learn what priorities to set in life.  We learn moral guidelines to use in making decisions.  But what you believe is the most important thing we learn from our faith depends on who you listen to. The gospel writers, for example, have a difference of opinion concerning what is of primary importance in our understanding of the defining element of our faith—the identity…

Feast of the Epiphany (observed)

Way back in my first semester of seminary, in a course titled Introduction to the New Testament, our professor made a comment that stuck in my mind. He said the Gospel of Matthew is the “most Jewish” of the four gospels. What he meant was that the writer of Matthew consistently quotes the Hebrew scriptures to demonstrate to his readers that Jesus is the Messiah, the fulfillment of ancient prophecy, the hope of Israel. For that reason, I thought it…

Christmas

Tonight means different things for different people. For children it’s one of the most exciting nights of the year. For their parents it might mean something else. One unknown mother expressed her wishes at Christmas in a letter to Santa.  She wrote, Dear Santa, I’ve been a good mother all year. I have fed, cleaned, and cuddled my children on demand, visited my doctor’s office more than my doctor has, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to…

Fourth Sunday of Advent

One of the things I love about this time of year is the opportunity to visit with friends in their homes.  I’d say that over the past few weeks I’ve attended holiday gatherings in no fewer than half a dozen different homes.  And like lots of people, many of these friends like to line up the holiday cards they have received on the shelf above their fireplace.  So, when you enter the living room you see not only how many…