Feb. 17, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Feb 17, 2019 in Epiphany, Sermons

Luke’s version of Jesus’ beatitudes is always disturbing. We really don’t want to be those things Jesus says are “blessed” – poor, hungry, weeping, reviled. We also notice with just a little squirm, that we spend a fair amount of our lives working towards all those things he says are impending woes. We consider it a good thing to have sufficient income, and not have to worry about security or those we love going without. Furthermore, I like laughter—it is one of the more joyful and God-given noises of this life. So, what is Jesus getting at? He is talking to us and about us when he addresses these words to his disciples and the crowds that day. The first thing I want to draw our attention to this morning is not our usual concentration on the words, “blessed are they” or “woe to you.” This morning lets focus on the word “with”—it’s from the opening lines; Jesus came down with the twelve apostles and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.

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Feb. 10, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Feb 10, 2019 in Epiphany, Sermons

The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany (Year C) February 10, 2019 Jesus is rather presumptive to commandeer someone else’s boat, and yet it makes sense in the service of allowing more people to “hear the word of God” as our gospel says. I usually don’t pay much attention to this part honestly, and now that I think about it, it seems quite important, because God is like that in our lives too. God doesn’t ask permission to step into our life’s boats, to tell speak the Good News. God simply does it. After teaching, he presumes to tell Simon how to do his job, telling him to put out into deeper water...

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Feb. 3, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Feb 3, 2019 in Epiphany, Feast Days, Sermons

The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple: Candlemas February 3, 2019 Celebrated since the 4th century, the church has called this at times the Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin, The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and Candlemas Day. It seems a familiar rite that parents bring their new baby to the place of worship for special blessing, as we hear in today’s gospel, and it might recall for us infant baptism more than ancient biblical teaching. We need to remember though that it was tied up in a ritual of powerful transformation though, when women who had given birth...

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Jan. 27, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Jan 27, 2019 in Epiphany, Sermons

By the time we follow the story of God’s people and come to chapter 8 of Nehemiah, the people had returned to Judah, rebuilt the temple and restored the city walls. We learn that they have settled into their cities which sounds joyfully fulfilling for a people who for multiple generations have long been in exile. The yearning to feel a sense of home has come to fruition! You’d think that was the end of the story so to speak, yet they still had much to sort out—how would they now live together? What is their new identity as people of God now that they are no longer diasporic? What is to prevent this devastating ‘divine punishment’ from happening again?

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Jan. 20, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Jan 20, 2019 in Epiphany, Sermons

Most of you know I love museums and art, mosaics and icons in particular. I’ve been looking at centuries of art depicting Jesus’ miracle at the wedding in Cana, and what surprised me is that many of them show her fading politely into the background or speaking to Jesus’ back as he turns away to do the important part, his head angled as if he’s maybe half-listening. Others don’t even include Mary! [See image above] I noted also the servants who fill the jars with water are there, but are usually shown as smaller, diminutive, sometimes darker even or in dull colors, because, like Mary, they are of lessor importance to the ‘main event’ and that’s how a person’s importance was shown. They are usually bent over their task, not looking up at Jesus as the disciples do. Yet the servants are the first to see the miracle, and Mary is the one who initiated it, even arguing Jesus into doing it, yet they are crowded out by the ‘important people.’

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Jan. 13, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Jan 13, 2019 in Epiphany, Sermons

The Christian church doesn’t much engage in this sense of being baptized with fire. We’re scared off by the very idea of one coming who clears the metaphorical threshing floor saving the grain and burning the chaff, for fear we or those we love be part of that chaff, or lest we be seen as those who think our way of faith sees others as chaff and we as exalted grain. We think the Holy Spirit descending as a dove is some wild miracle the likes of which we 21st century Christians will never see, one given to only those cool biblical first century ‘baptizees.’ Certainly, intelligent reality-based proper Anglicans would never expect it!

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