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Showing posts from June, 2018

Sermon on Luke 1:57-80, for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, "Benedictus"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. If you have young children, or if you watch how parents with new babies behave—you’ll notice that there’s often a delightful dreaming that goes on. Wondering what their child will be like, guessing at how their little budding personality will flower, dreaming about their future achievements in sports or art or music or learning, or things like these. There’s a sense of hopefulness for their child and the recognition that a child is the birth of something good into this world. Trusting God, we release the fears that cloud our horizons to His care and keeping, and His victory over fear and evil. The naming of a child can be as simple as choosing a family name, as the relatives of Zechariah and Elizabeth wanted to do, for their newborn son John. It’s an honorable and traditional way to give names. Another traditional practice is choosing a name by its special meaning. All around the world,…

Sermon on Luke 15:1-10, for the 3rd Sunday after Trinity (1 yr lectionary), "The Faithful Retriever"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Luke 15 has three of Jesus’ most recognizable parables. Sometimes called the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son, though perhaps the parables would be better identified by pointing to the “Finder” or “Retriever” in each story. But in any case, our reading was the first two. The Pharisees and scribes didn’t like Jesus receiving sinners and eating with them. Jesus shouldn’t be mixing Himself up with that crowd, they thought. The three parables point to God’s powerful love for the lost, and what He does to bring them back. Each parable gets sharper in its application, until in the last one, the Pharisees and scribes are confronted by their own unwillingness to welcome back the lost, in contrast to the redeeming love of God the Father. But back up to today’s parables and reflect. Thankfully, God’s love for the lost has long been on record in the Bible. But we’re ever forgetful, and so constantly need to “redi…

Sermon on Luke 14:15-24, for the 2nd Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr Lectionary), "Turn toward God's generosity"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Meals are inescapably at the center of human life. Eating is a defining feature of our existence—stop eating, and you won’t be sticking around for too much longer. Meals and meal etiquette are at the center of much human culture. A feast or a banquet is an especially important meal—usually greater time and care is taken in preparation; and usually a feast or banquet is a celebration of something significant. Meals, whether a feast or an ordinary meal, are a place where hospitality, friendship, trust, brotherhood, and even forgiveness and reconciliation can be communicated. Meals truly are a key part of our human existence. Today’s Gospel reading is part of a series of mealtime conversations with Jesus. It’s one of many in Gospel of Luke. Zoom out one step further to the whole Bible, and you’ll find dozens more examples of prominent meals with God, feasts or banquets. They are so important because they are often a…

Sermon on 1 John 4:16-21, for the 1st Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr lectionary), "Love Perfected"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. What does it mean to be perfect? Depending on what you are talking about, you could probably stir up some pretty hot disagreement about that word. What defines a “perfect” work of art? A painting, a sculpture, or a story or a song? How closely it reflects reality? Other’s might argue that “perfection” isn’t even a goal we should aim for. They might find the beauty in the irregularities and imperfections of life, the organic beauty of nature, or the jumbled threads that make up the back of a tapestry. Or what defines a perfect person, or perfect parenting, or a perfect job? We might get into similar arguments about right or wrong methods, about the danger of “perfectionism”, impossible standards, etc. “Perfect” can be a contentious word. Do we resent the idea of “perfection” when almost everyone these days says: “nobody’s perfect!”—or do we just want someone to cut us some slack? Whatever your opinions on those qu…

8th Grade Graduation Address, Proverbs 3:1-12 "Miners of God's Wisdom"

Proverbs 3:1–12 (ESV) 1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. 11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
There’s …