Showing posts from December, 2015

Sermon on Luke 1:39-45, for the 4th Sunday in Advent, "Faith is not opposed to waiting"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. In today’s Gospel reading, we have two remarkable women, Elizabeth and Mary, waiting with contentment and great joy, for the fulfillment of God’s promises, and for the birth of their two special sons—John the Baptist and Jesus. Advent is a time of waiting, and for us the wait is nearly over, as Christmas comes this Friday. So much of life is filled with waiting. Today we’ll see in our reading what the gift of faith is, and learn how faith is not opposed to waiting. Faith is the gift of the Holy Spirit. And it’s not just a gift for the old and patient (or more patient), but equally the Spirit’s gift for the young and eager. Young children are often opposed to waiting. Christmas and gift opening has to be NOW—as soon as I see that present! Young adults are often opposed to waiting—wanting to immediately have that thing I want—car, clothing, jewelry, girlfriend or boyfriend, paych

Sermon on Philippians 4:4-7, for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, "Calm, Cool, and Collected"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. On this 3 rd Sunday in Advent, the theme of the day is “Joy”—marked by the lighting of the pink candle on the wreath, and heard in our Old Testament and Epistle lessons. Joy certainly fits the seasons of Advent and Christmas, as we wait and expect the coming of Jesus. However, many people wonder or fear whether joy can be real, or whether Christians can still have reason to rejoice, when there is so much evil on the loose in this world. The Roman Catholic Pope even made world headlines recently, for preaching after the Paris terror attacks, that this year’s celebration of Christmas would just be a “charade” because of the worldwide war, violence, and hatred that is consuming humanity. Can joy really be authentic and genuine this season, or in the midst of so many troubles, from our world news, down to our national, local, congregational, family, and even personal circumstances? Must the troubles and “bad new

Sermon on Luke 3:1-14, for the 2nd Sunday in Advent, "God's Calling in our Baptism"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. With its rugged, rocky terrain, deep gorges, and steep mountain ridges, the island of Maui might reflect some of the same engineering challenges pictured in the words of the prophet Isaiah, in today’s reading. We read about John the Baptist: Luke 3:3–5 “ And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God”. Minus our luscious green plant life, our Maui landscape gives a pretty good picture of the same challenges of making straight and level roads, filling valleys and gorges,