Dec. 24, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Tue, Dec 24, 2019 in Christmas, Sermons

Like many of you this year I unpacked our nativity scene or crèche, arranging Mary, Joseph and the shepherds, even a tiny bird. It is a ritual our family has always done, and maybe yours does too. The one here at church has detailed figures that invite children to touch and inquire, and we bless animals and figures as they come each week to the crèche. Yours may be very different, perhaps handmade, or from far away, maybe the indestructible Lego version. Artists create them as if the first Christmas happened in their own country, to people and animals looking like their neighbors. Each culture makes it their own, thereby placing us in the scene.

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Dec. 22, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Dec 22, 2019 in Advent, Sermons

The Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year A) December 22, 2019 One of my more perplexing sabbatical sights was in the Galicia region of Spain in a church’s side chapel. On the left is a statue of the archangel Gabriel looking like he just landed. He has a strong stance and a small message scroll in his hand. He’s pointing in annunciation to a larger-than-life-size richly crowned Mary, who is raised above and behind the altar, where she would dwarf any priest who stood there. Here is Gabriel bringing the good news of the annunciation fresh from heaven, —yet this Mary is about 7 months pregnant! She...

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Dec. 8, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Dec 8, 2019 in Advent, Sermons

Do you ever come into this sacred space and feel ‘peace which surpasses understanding’? The feeling of Yes! THIS is what I need! Some days I can almost hear your collective psyches breathing a sigh of spiritual contentedness. Perhaps we marvel at how good it feels – and then wonder at how frustrating everyday life around us can be. Is there anyone here who hasn’t wrestled with our world or societal context recently? Who doesn’t look around and think, “This is not the way it’s supposed to be”?

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Dec. 1, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Dec 1, 2019 in Advent, Sermons

The First Sunday of Advent (Year A) December 1, 2019 Have we finished the turkey and the leftover pumpkin pie yet? In the days leading up to Thanksgiving and days since then we’ve reflected on how much we are thankful for, and yet simply giving thanks is not the end point for Christians. Aren’t we moved when often we are more blessed by giving than receiving? We may be thankful for basic needs fulfilled, for health, for relationships we treasure, and thankful for our faith, and yet that’s not where it ends, or it’s just like coupon day at God’s Black Friday giveaway. Our response to such...

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Nov. 24, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Nov 24, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

When we baptize a child we like to think of beautiful scriptures; Jesus tenderly calling children to him, Jesus as shepherd, or his own baptism. Today we hear the story of Jesus’ crucifixion instead, and it is juxtaposed with the blessing words of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. So to begin with, Heidi; “May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.” It is my prayer for all of us, and may you also know the passion of Christ who gave himself for you, may you know him with you when you feel pain or suffering, and may you know a love so great that he gave himself for you, for Heidi Marie. 

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Nov. 17, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Nov 17, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Imagine the scene we just heard about; people gathered in the shade of the beautiful temple’s bleached limestone walls and porticoes, sun shining brightly as ever, and the temple’s grandeur breath-taking, and leaves even the tallest among them feeling small. The building stones are eight feet on each side, and the structure towers above the city as if it has grown out of the ground right there instead of taking years of toil to quarry the stones from limestone cliffs, shape them, and move them into place. You’d take two or three strides to walk past even one stone, and here comes Jesus instead of being humbled by the immensity or jubilant at spending time in a place of such beauty, is the ultimate killjoy in this moment; “the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” It’s nearly impossible for them to imagine—and yet even as Luke writes this gospel he’s of two minds—the sharp recollection of being there with Jesus and the others that day at the grand temple grounds, and then writing after Jesus’ death and resurrection, when short decades passed. During that time they would see the Romans reduce the temple to devastated rubble. Does Luke recall how unthinkable and unbelievable Jesus’ words of prophesy sounded back then, even as Luke lives in its aftermath! Here Luke is telling us in hindsight what they experienced back before they could fathom this apocalyptic end.

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