Sunday, June 30, 2019

June 30, 2019 - Proper 8C

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be always acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            This morning, I want to present the other side of the coin. Last Sunday, we heard St. Paul say in Galatians that “We are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” I used that verse to offer a reflection on God’s amazing grace and said that the point of the Gospel is not to get people to accept Jesus, rather it is to get people to trust that Jesus has already accepted them. This means that faith isn’t about what we have to do because we don’t have to do anything – instead of earning our salvation, we are to enjoy it. And all of that is absolutely true; I’d stake my life on it.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

June 23, 2019 - Proper 7C

O Lord, forgive the sins of the preacher, for they are many; that people will hear only of your love and grace in these words. Amen.
            We’ve finally arrived at summer. I realize that school has been out for weeks and that the first sunburns of the season have already healed up, but it’s finally liturgical summer. This year, Easter was fairly late, so that pushed back the dates of Pentecost and Trinity Sundays, and so we have now finally, in late June, arrived at what is sometimes called “Ordinary Time” or “the Season after Pentecost.”

Sunday, June 16, 2019

June 16, 2019 - Trinity Sunday

In the name of God the Holy Trinity Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Today is the Feast of the Holy Trinity, one of the Principal Feasts of the Church year. It’s a fairly unique feast day in that its basis is not a Biblical narrative or a specific person, but rather a doctrine of the faith. Today, our focus is on the nature and essence of God, which is, admittedly, a rather lofty topic. It is the revelation that God is Trinity that makes Christianity unique. When it comes to interfaith dialogue, we can find a lot of common ground. But the Trinity really distinguishes our beliefs from that of other traditions. This is because the doctrine of the Trinity goes right to the core of belief, as everything that we believe is rooted in God, and the Trinity is fundamentally who God is.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

June 9, 2019 - Pentecost

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire and enlighten us with thy celestial fire. Amen.
            There are many ways to think about the Holy Spirit, whose gifting to the Church we remember and celebrate on Pentecost. The Catechism tells us that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. So the first thing to grasp is that the Holy Spirit is God. And there are many other names for the Spirit, all of which tell us something about what it is. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is described as the Advocate, telling us that it is God’s work of interceding on our behalf, sort of like a defense attorney. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is called the Holy Comforter, reminding us that God’s presence with us is one of peace and support. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is described in terms of natural elements, such as wind and fire, both of which remind us of the Spirit’s power and ability to come and go throughout the world. And sometimes the Holy Spirit is described as breath because all life and vitality emanate from God.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

June 2, 2019 - Easter 7C

Lectionary Readings

Grant, O Lord, that in the Holy Eucharist we might behold what we are and become what we receive. Amen.
            This sermon, unlike the last four that I preached, is not a part of my doctoral thesis project. However, the topic will still be the Eucharist. This is the encore that you didn’t necessarily ask for, but nevertheless, is being given. First of all, I want to thank you all for your attention to those four sermons and for filling out the response sheets. I took last week as vacation and worked on writing the chapter of my thesis about those sermons and your input was incredibly insightful and helpful in doing that work. I did get everything done that I had hoped to last week and now just have one more chapter to write. The reason why I want to continue to consider the Eucharist though is that you all raised some really good points and questions in the surveys that I’d like to respond to in order to round out that sermon series.