Sunday, January 28, 2018

January 28, 2018 - Epiphany 4B

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            What difference does Jesus make in your life? It’s a seemingly simple question, but the answer makes, literally, all the difference in our lives. Sure, we all say that religion is at the core of our principles and priorities, but judging by the society that we live in, that’s little more than lip service. We might notice that people of faith seem to fare no better than staunch atheists when it comes to income, health, or just sheer luck; and then the question is whether or not the demands of faith are worth it. And so instead of giving 10% to charity, we settle on 2%. Instead of keeping the Sabbath with rest each week, we only take a break on vacation. Because, at the end of the day, do the disciplines and ideals of a 2,000 year old religion that was established in the Middle East really have anything relevant to say to our time and culture beyond “be nice” or giving us some comfort in difficult times? In other words, does faith in Jesus actually have anything to do with our world and lives today?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

January 21, 2018 - Epiphany 3B

Lectionary Readings

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            One of my many flaws is that I like things to get resolved quickly instead of dragging on. Just ask my wife about my refrain of not having things “halfway done.” No, when there is a project or task at hand, I immediately get to work on it. Perhaps this idiosyncrasy of mine is why I find Mark’s rendering of the Gospel to be the most compelling.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

January 14, 2018 - Epiphany 2B

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Have you ever had an experience that you just had to share? Maybe you heard a piece of music that you couldn’t wait to tell your friends about. Or you ate at a restaurant that was phenomenal and so you insisted that someone join you the next time that you go so that they can experience just how good it is. Perhaps there’s a particular spot in nature, a view of a beach or mountain, that you couldn’t wait to show someone how beautiful it is. Or after your child was born, you couldn’t wait to have all of your family and friends meet this amazing new gift to the world. And you tell these people – you won’t believe what I’ve experienced and words will fail to describe it, so you’ve got to come and see.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

January 7, 2018 - Epiphany 1B: Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            You all have seen the footage of the landing crafts, full of infantry, landing on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. This invasion by the Allied forces began the decisive victory over Nazi Germany and changed the course of world history. Though the war did not end that day, the tide of the war changed and D-Day began the process of the liberation of Europe. Many of you can probably recall one of the famous photographs of that day taken from inside a landing craft showing cloudy skies, a beach lined with artillery, and hundreds of troops. And though these troops were all individual men, the photos generally show them only from the back, obscuring their identity and portraying them as the collective savior of Western democracy. The reason why I’m beginning this sermon by helping you to imagine the D-Day landing is that image is precisely the one that will help us to understand what Mark is saying as he introduces us to Jesus.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

January 6, 2018 - Feast of the Epiphany

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            “O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright; westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light!” The Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ centers on a star. The star attracts the attention of these magi from the east and leads them to Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Messiah. The star of Bethlehem led these magi to faith. It could be, but I very much doubt that any of you have come here tonight because you followed a star here. But something did draw you here tonight. I wonder what it was?