Sermon, Advent 1B, Mark 13:24-37, Apocalypse, Darkness,

New Life Emerges From The Dark – A Sermon On Mark 13:24-37

Today’s gospel, like all apocalyptic literature, takes us to those threshold moments that leave us wondering whether things are falling apart or falling into place. By now most of you know me well enough to know that my answer to that is, “Yes. Yes, they are.”

I’m betting every one of you could tell a story about a threshold time in your life. I wonder what that threshold is for you today. Continue reading New Life Emerges From The Dark – A Sermon On Mark 13:24-37

Thankfulness, Thanksgiving, COVID-19

Thankfulness In 2020

“What could we possibly be thankful for in 2020?” That’s the question Steve Hartman of the CBS Evening News recently asked his kids in this video.

I suspect many of us might be asking ourselves the same question Mr. Hartman asked his children. His daughter answered, “Well, instead of saying what we’re thankful for, we could say what was hard for us.” Yes, we could. It’s been a hard year in so many ways. But does difficulty negate or diminish Thanksgiving or giving thanks? Continue reading Thankfulness In 2020

The Great Judgment, Matthew 25:31-46, Sermon, Christ the King Sunday, Sheep and Goats,

Sheep Or Goat? Yes We Are – A Sermon On Matthew 25:31-46

So what do you make of today’s gospel (Matthew 25: 31-46)? Is Jesus separating the good from the bad? Is Jesus saying some are welcome and included in the kingdom but others are rejected and excluded? Is Jesus keeping score of what we’ve done and left undone and then handing out rewards and punishment? And if he is, are you in or out, a sheep or a goat?

I wonder if we’ve misunderstood what’s happening when Jesus separates. Maybe the separation Jesus makes doesn’t look a thing like the separations we usually make. Maybe the purpose of the separation Jesus makes is the exact opposite of the purpose for which we often make separations. Continue reading Sheep Or Goat? Yes We Are – A Sermon On Matthew 25:31-46

Oil Lamp, Sermon, Matthew 25:1-13, Proper 27A, Parable of the Bridesmaids

Pushing Back The Darkness – A Sermon On Matthew 25:1-13

Where is there light in your life and the world today? And where is there darkness in your life and the world today?

I wouldn’t be surprised if for many or even most of us our first answer is based on how we feel and what we think about the results of our presidential election. But that is not what I am asking about and I hope that’s not the basis for any of our answers. I am asking about something more important than that. I am asking us to look deeper than that. Continue reading Pushing Back The Darkness – A Sermon On Matthew 25:1-13

Here We Are – A Baptismal Sermon On the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12

Emmitt, though you are only four and a half months old you are never too young to hear the Beatitudes for the first time, and neither are the rest of us too old to hear them again for the first time. Today you are being immersed in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) as a way of being, a path to be followed, principles by which to guide your life. They describe the divine life, the life of Jesus. And whether that life exists in this world depends on you and the rest of us. We never accomplish the beatitudes as a task completed. Instead we strive, day by day, to live into them. Continue reading Here We Are – A Baptismal Sermon On the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12

Reading The Book Of Nature

There is “a great book,” Saint Augustine says, “the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Note it. Read it.” St. Anthony also knew about this book. Once when a visiting philosopher asked how such a learned man as he got along in the desert without the benefit of books, Anthony replied, “My book is the nature of created things, and … Continue reading Reading The Book Of Nature

Love’s Only Hope In This World – A Sermon On Matthew 22:34-46

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

These, Jesus says, are the two commandments on which everything else hangs. They are two sides of the same thing. You can’t truly have one without the other. This is about more than our feelings or affection for God and one another. It’s about our commitment to the life and well-being of the other. It’s a choice we make every day – to love or not to love.

I wonder what that love looks like. I wonder what your life and my life would be like if we held those two commandments as the guiding principles for what we do. I wonder what we might create and achieve if we embodied and lived those commandments. Continue reading Love’s Only Hope In This World – A Sermon On Matthew 22:34-46

There’s Got To Be More Than This – A Sermon On Matthew 22:1-14

If what we hear in today’s gospel (Matthew 22:1-14) is really what the kingdom of heaven is like, then I’m not interested.

Who needs God’s kingdom – at least as Jesus describes it today – when we already have more than enough leaders throughout the world who are abusing their power, when violence is perpetrated on a daily basis, when people’s lives are being destroyed, when cities are burning, when some are excluded and told they don’t belong? We don’t need God’s help to bring that about, we’re pretty good at it by ourselves. Continue reading There’s Got To Be More Than This – A Sermon On Matthew 22:1-14

Between What Is And What Could Be – A Sermon On Isaiah 5:1-7

Isaiah describes how God dug a vineyard, cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines. Then God built a watchtower in the midst of the vineyard and hewed out a wine vat in it. And now God want to know, “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?” God “expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.” (Isaiah 5:1-7)

How can that be? That God wouldn’t or couldn’t get what God expects or wants doesn’t fit with many of the images and concepts we have of who God is and how God is. Continue reading Between What Is And What Could Be – A Sermon On Isaiah 5:1-7

A Prayer And A Pledge For The 2020 Presidential Election

The following liturgy and pledge were prepared after a conversation the vestry (the parish’s governing body) had about how we want to be toward one another in the time leading up to the 2020 presidential election and afterwards. The liturgy incorporates a theme expressed in my sermon, We Are Nineveh. The vestry and clergy of St. Philip’s are taking the pledge and inviting others to … Continue reading A Prayer And A Pledge For The 2020 Presidential Election