Sunday, April 30, 2017

April 30, 2017 - Easter 3A

In the name of the Crucified and Risen Lord. Amen.
            If you were here last Sunday, you know that I wasn’t. I was on vacation and worshiped over at First Methodist, after all, the Wesley brothers were Anglican priests. I’ve taken the Sunday after Easter off for several years in a row now, and each Sunday after Easter the Gospel text is always the story of Jesus appearing to disciples, minus Thomas, who doesn’t, at first, believe that the Jesus is Risen. Since I haven’t preached on that text in several years, as I sat in a pew over at First Methodist and listened to a fine sermon by their pastor, I couldn’t help but have some ideas on how I would have approached that text. When I got home, I wrote down the ideas that came to me and came up with six different sermon themes based on that text.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 16, 2017 - Easter

In the name of the Risen Lord. Amen.
            As it is every Easter, my first word to you this morning is welcome. In the name of our Crucified and Risen Lord, welcome. As Martin Luther once said, “Our Lord has written the promise of Resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” How right he was. It is a blessing to gather on a gorgeous day, in a beautiful church full of wonderful people in their Easter best to celebrate the Resurrection.

Friday, April 14, 2017

April 14, 2017 - Good Friday

In the name of the Crucified God. Amen.
            One recent theologian, when writing on the Crucifixion has written “The cross must always be interpreted and re-placed at the center of Christian faith. There is a centrifugal force at work in human nature; we want to spin out and away from the offense of the cross.” And she’s correct – all you have to do is compare Good Friday attendance to Easter Sunday attendance to see that the Cross is a challenge. Another theologian has said “The Cross is not and cannot be loved.” The Cross is bloody, it is repulsive, it is a disgusting instrument of violence. And yet, St. Paul is able to say “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” The Cross really is at the crux of our Christian faith.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 13, 2017 - Maundy Thursday

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            “Behold what you are; become what you receive.” That is a paraphrase of part of a sermon given by St. Augustine in 408. Behold what you are; become what you receive. There are a lot of things that could capture our imaginations on Maundy Thursday. Jesus gives us a new commandment, that we love one another. We see what Gospel leadership looks like in the washing of feet. The starkness of betrayal will move us as the altar is stripped and we leave in darkness and silence. We also celebrate the Last Supper tonight; often it is referred to as the “Institution of the Holy Eucharist,” as our Lord tells us to “do this in remembrance of me.” When we focus in on the Eucharist, indeed we see all of these Maundy Thursday themes at play. So this sermon will focus on our reading from 1 Corinthians and the Sacrament of our Lord’s Body and Blood.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

April 9, 2017 - Palm Sunday

Let us pray – True and humble king, hailed by the crowd as Messiah: grant us the faith to know you and love you; that we may be found beside you on the way of the Cross, which is the path of glory. Amen.
            “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.” Those are the opening verses to an ancient hymn of the earliest church which St. Paul quotes in his letter written from prison to the church in Philippi. These seven verses that we heard from Philippians this morning may well function as one of the earliest creeds of the Church, and they give us insight into what is at the core of Christianity and this week, which we call “Holy.”

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April 2, 2017 - Lent 5A

Almighty God, may you guide us to seek your Truth: come whence it may, cost what it will, lead where it might. Amen.
            “Can these bones live?” “Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die - do you believe this?” These are questions of hope. Can we trust in something that seems impossible? Can we believe in something that seems to be contrary to our everyday experiences of death? Can we live our lives with a foundational story of abundance and life instead of one ruled by fear and death? This morning, that is question before us, can we be a people of hope?