Season after Pentecost

Nov. 25, 2018 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Nov 25, 2018 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’ (John 18:38) I don’t know why the lectionary cuts off that last line of their conversation, but I think it’s important we include it today. This is Christ the King Sunday, and Pilate asking “What is truth?” has everything to do with Christ as king, because Jesus is that truth. His Kingdom is not about defining truth or arguing who is right, rather Christ is that truth himself, so saying Christ is our king is about living as if he were that truth. His reign or kingship is not about choosing content, making rules, living under governance by successive royalty, or even electing a monarch as leader. Rather it is about character. The ‘Kingdom of God’ is not ruled by a king but by commitment which recognizes and serves God’s truth as incarnate in Christ.

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Nov. 11, 2018 – Remembrance Sunday – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Nov 11, 2018 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

We began our worship this morning with a stanza of a poem “For the Fallen” by Robert Laurence Binyon. It’s often read at services on Remembrance Sunday throughout the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US and beyond, although it’s writing predated this day of honor by several years. You see, like the majority of us today, Binyon was never a soldier himself. Visiting the cliffs on the north Cornwall coast, Binyon was painfully moved by the start of what was then called ‘the Great War’ and by the already high number of military casualties. This poem was the result of that powerful visit, and like so many others, he was forever changed by what that war did to his fellow countrymen. Too old to enlist himself, within the year he volunteered at a British hospital for French soldiers, and then the following year caring for soldiers taken in from the Verdun battlefield.

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Nov. 4, 2018 – All Saints’ Sunday – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Nov 4, 2018 in Feast Days, Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Icons of All Saints show Jesus surrounded by many saints, similarly our celebration of All Saints today, including today’s baptisms, depicts the heart of what a saint is. Christ is at our center too, represented in our altar, our cross and our gathering. Today the ‘altar cloth’ made up of all those saints whom we love and see no longer, and like in our gospel, some of us are still dressed metaphorically in mourners’ clothes, and yet that altar is alongside a font in which the newest among us will be baptized. In the icon, all of the saints are arrayed around Christ with countless dimensions of brilliance, color, individuality and symbols of their faithfulness, and they reflect the luminosity of Christ like those we have named on the All Saints ribbons! They are lives through which we can see God from a multitude of different perspectives. Keep that image of the icon in mind this morning, remembering that Christian icons are always a path for entering into relationship with the Triune God. Like Jesus’ life-affirming action at Lazarus’ tomb that day, they are an instrument through which God becomes accessible to humanity, and the same is true of baptism.

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Oct. 28, 2018 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Oct 28, 2018 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Mostly we think of Bartimaeus as a story of healing, yet today as we pair it with the story of Jonah what comes forth quite clearly is a story of faith and call. Bartimaeus is son of Timaeus, which means honored, highly prized, or valued. So Bartimaeus, a man who is blind and begging alongside the road to —- is called the son of the honored one. Strange irony given the crowd tries to shout him down and dispense with his cries to Jesus for help. They pay him no honor—though to be fair, he’s only the son of the honored or highly prized. As if to join in with the fun of name-word-play Mark says Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus calling him “Son of David” — the first time he’s called this in Mark’s gospel, and now occurs at the end of his ministry while he’s on the road out of Jericho and towards Jerusalem and his final days leading to the cross.

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Oct. 21, 2018 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Oct 21, 2018 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

 The 22nd Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 24B) October 21, 2018 How reassuring that even the disciples are not immune to such very human traits! James and John seek that greatness or ‘top dog’ status that all of us have wanted at some time or another, it’s what our culture says we should aspire to. Jesus’ response is difficult but doesn’t dissuade them. They affirm a willingness to pay the price of being baptized with the baptism that Jesus is baptized with. Even so, Jesus says it’s not up to him. When the others are angry that James and John sought such an honor Jesus basically tells them...

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Oct. 14, 2018 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Oct 14, 2018 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Words have power—that’s what this letter to the Hebrews is about. And if words have power, how much more so does God’s Word? And God’s Word as made flesh in Jesus? The Jews knew this truth and believed that once uttered words took on an existence of their own. It ceased to be just a sound with a particular meaning, it had power and went forth and did things. That might sound abstract or even primitive to us, but what of the words in our history? Holocaust. Slavery. Incarceration. Freedom. Vote. “I have a dream…”  Yes, words have power for us, beyond the instance of their uttering. The letter to the Hebrews says that the word of God is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.” Another translation is the word of God is “instinct with life”! Certainly, some words and writings pass into oblivion and are essentially ‘dead’ with no living interest, yet the word of God is more. The word of God is effective; whenever it is taken seriously things happen. God’s word isn’t merely read aloud in churches nor studied until known, it is something to be done.

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