Showing posts from November, 2016

Sermon on Matthew 21:1-9, for the 1st Sunday in Advent, "Successful Journeys and Clear Destinations"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Today the cycle of the church year begins anew, with the First Sunday in Advent. We renew a journey of sorts, a journey that lasts us one year—a journey along the places and paths that Jesus followed, from the time He was anticipated as Savior, to His birth in Bethlehem, through His ministry, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. This first half of the church year, we call the “Festival Season.” It wraps up with Pentecost, when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, and follows with the part of the church year that we just finished, is the long “non-festival” season of the church year, or “ordinary time”. Sundays that review the rest of Jesus’ teachings, leading up again to the anticipation of His return. Along the journey, we get to know Jesus better and better, not as a friend who joins us occasionally, but as our constant companion who leads us and has finished the jour

Sermon on 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, for Thanksgiving Eve, "Living Generously"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. On Sunday we spoke of how we are members of Jesus’ Kingdom as fruitful branches growing from His Vine. Joined to Jesus we are green, alive, and bearing fruit. Today in 2 Corinthians 9, Paul zeroes in on one particular spiritual fruit: generosity. The well-known phrase, “ God loves a cheerful giver .” Immediately upon hearing this phrase, our minds go to money, and our hands go to protect our wallet. Or they might , anyhow, if we think this passage is only about how generous our offering will be in the plate. But while Paul certainly appealed to the Corinthians for financial support for the Christians in poverty in Jerusalem—the Biblical picture of generosity is bigger than cash. It’s a stock phrase in churches, but true nevertheless, that stewardship can be described as giving of our time, talents, and treasure. That’s simply to recognize that there are more ways to give, than just

Sermon on Luke 23:27-43, for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, "I See a Gracious, Suffering King"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Today marks the Last Sunday of the Church Year, which focuses again on Jesus’ Kingship. And Jesus’ Kingship is shown through the cross. The prayer of the day today states that Jesus reigns among us by the preaching of the cross. Unlike any earthly kings or powers, Jesus’ rule is marked by His self-sacrifice on the cross, His defeat of the grave, and the constant preaching of this good news, that has gone on for 2,000 years, spreading His reign to the ends of the earth. No other king has or ever will rule in this way. This understanding encircles the whole church year—we always watch for and live under the reign of our crucified and risen King. What brought Jesus to this cross? It’s startling to realize that Jesus’ teachings and His love brought Him there. The other two criminals were brought there by their evildoing, as one eventually admitted. But Jesus came innocently and voluntaril