Sermons

Sep. 8, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Tue, Sep 10, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Harsh as it sounded just now, our gospel continues from last week with Jesus’ teaching on priorities, and where we place the needs of our souls in that list of priorities. Yet to hear Jesus’ say we are unable to be his disciples unless we ‘hate’ mother and father, sister and brother, and so on, feels in direct contrast to his gospel of love. The word hate here doesn’t connote ‘feelings’ though, it’s not about an emotion of hate at all, rather about how we act and think of one thing as more important than another. This reading refers to placing people and possessions in order after what is most important; faithfully following the Holy One. Last week Mother Ann spoke of Augustine’s realization that he and fellow Christians had put too much trust in the material things that fall victim to moths and rust.

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Sep. 1, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Sep 1, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Recently I had some banking to do, and ended up waiting longer than expected to see the manager.  As I settled into a chair, I picked up a copy of the local paper, and began skimming.  A business logo caught my eye—a heart, encircled by a ribbon of letters that spelled out “seeking,” expressing the lyrical notion of Heart Seeking. Catchy. The logo aligned with the photo of a beaming life coach, as he described himself, a guide for hire who would lead me to conscious self-empowerment, and a flow of personal energy. Wow!

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Aug. 25, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Aug 25, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

The 11th Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 16C) August 25, 2019 Amazing Grace If you’d like to sing along with me, that would be ok.  It might be tempting. Atlantic tempests were gusting wildly through the spring of 1748, and the latest storm sent shivers down the spine of even a seasoned sailor like John Newton.  He and a fellow crewman were set to furiously cranking the bilge pump, forcing gallons of onrushing seawater back out of the keel. They paused only once—to lash their own bodies to the base for fear of being swept away. Though not a religious man, at the height of the storm John...

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Aug. 18, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Aug 18, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Today a good deal more is known about what it takes for forests to thrive. Researchers have discovered concentric rings of charred bark in old growth timber, spaced roughly at 5-10 year intervals.  The rings signify a recurrent pattern of brief, self-limiting flames, which healthy, established trees easily survived. The pattern fades early in the 20th century, as the Forest Service starts suppressing these spontaneous burns. No longer are surplus seedlings naturally razed, nor breathing room renewed between trunks. Meanwhile nature-loving homeowners are pressing deeper and deeper into the thickening forests, even as searing summer droughts are turning the undergrowth into tinder. In 2018 the inevitable happens: the Paradise wildfire roars to life in California, and devours an entire town. 

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Aug. 11, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Aug 11, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Early in the life of the Church, everyone wanted to know when Christ would be returning.  Believers told and retold the story of his Ascension, and his solemn promise to come again in glory and reign forever.  Every day their eyes scanned the horizon, in hopes of glimpsing his approach among the clouds.  But since no one could say how long they’d have to wait, as time passed their convictions flickered.  Today we are still watching and waiting as they did, striving to trust in Christ’s promises to us, even when they are not yet fulfilled. This is where our faith lives, in the stretches of time between the stresses of the here and now, and our eternal hope.

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Aug. 4, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Aug 4, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

In our New Testament reading today, Paul commends new Christians for their growing faithfulness.  For some time now he has been watching them struggle against old habits which formerly set them at odds to God. Now he is seeing them strive toward inspired new behaviors that draw them closer. It doesn’t happen overnight, so each morning they take a deep breath, and begin the work again.  ‘You have stripped off your old self and all your old habits,’ he encourages them, ‘and clothed yourselves with a new self, reflecting the image of your Creator! Way to go!’

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