Lent, Lent 1B, Mark 1:9-15, Sermon, Life, Wilderness,

The Most Important Day Of Your Life – A Sermon On Mark 1:9-15

In some ways the past year has felt like a long never ending season of Lent. It has been a time of fasting, self-denial, and giving up; a time when people and things have been lost or taken from us; a time that is continually pointing to our mortality and the fragility of life.

What are you doing with all that? And what is all that doing with you?

Unless we face our own mortality we can never claim the fullness of life. Unless we recognize the fragility of life we will never discover its true value. Continue reading The Most Important Day Of Your Life – A Sermon On Mark 1:9-15

Sermon, Epiphany 3B, Mark 1:14-20, Letting go, Follow me, Detachment

What Needs To Be Left Behind? – A Sermon On Mark 1:14-20

“Follow me,” isn’t only about going somewhere, it’s also about leaving behind. That’s the hard part for most of us. We’re pretty good at accumulating and clinging but not so good at letting go. More often than not our spiritual growth involves some kind of letting go. We accept Jesus’ invitation to follow, not by packing up, but by letting go.

We can never get to a new place in life unless we are willing to leave where we are. We can never hold anything new or different unless we’re willing to drop what’s already in our hands. That means letting go of our nets, getting out of our boats, and walking away from old man Zebedee. Continue reading What Needs To Be Left Behind? – A Sermon On Mark 1:14-20

Heart, Listening, Truth, Sermon, John 1:43-51, 1 Samuel 3:1-20

Deep Listening – A Sermon On John 1:43-51

If 2020 showed us anything it revealed how necessary that kind of deep and intentional listening is, and how difficult it is to sort through all the voices we hear, both within and outside ourselves, and discern a truthful way forward. I don’t expect that kind of listening to be any less necessary or difficult in 2021.

Who are you listening to these days? Who are you not listening to? What are you listening for? What do you want to hear and what do you not want to hear?
Continue reading Deep Listening – A Sermon On John 1:43-51

Sermon, Mark 1:4-11, Acts 19:1-7, Social Justice, Baptism, Baptism of Jesus, Responsibility

All Are Responsible – A Sermon On Mark 1:4-11 And Acts 19:1-7

Last week, some of you may remember, I ended my sermon by asking this question: Will we, in 2021, be different from and better than how we were in 2020?

There’s not much about the first ten days of 2021 that suggests we will. I think it’s still an open question and, I hope, still a possibility. But after the events of last Wednesday and the assault on our nation’s capitol I’m just not so sure we will be.

As I reflect on the events of last Wednesday I keep going back to words from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.” Continue reading All Are Responsible – A Sermon On Mark 1:4-11 And Acts 19:1-7

Flight to Egypt, Sermon, henry Oshawa Tanner, Matthew 2:13-15 19-23, New Year, Future, Joseph, Herod

Will We Be Dreamers Or Searchers In 2021? – A Sermon On Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

We’re three days into the new year, a time of change and transition often marked by the calendar more than the circumstances of our lives or world. Regardless, the 2020 year end reviews are well underway with commentaries, assessments, and judgments. For some, maybe most, “Good-bye 2020,” could just as well be “Good riddance, 2020.” And “Hello, 2021,” could just as well be “You could’t get here soon enough, 2021.” We’ve quickly greeted the new year with predictions, wishes, and prayers.

I read this in the news, op eds, and on social media. I hear it in the conversations I have with others and in the silence of my own heart. Will 2021 be different from and better than 2020? I suspect all of us, at some level, are asking and living with that question. Continue reading Will We Be Dreamers Or Searchers In 2021? – A Sermon On Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

Sermon, Christmas, Incarnation, Word of God, John 1:1-18

“The Work Of Christmas” – A Sermon On John 1:1-18

I think most of us hear about the Word becoming flesh and living among us and we immediately assume it’s about Jesus. I don’t disagree with that. We see him enfleshing the Word of God throughout his life; enfleshing forgiveness, love, mercy, peace, gentleness, nonviolence, wisdom, compassion, generosity. That was his way of being and living.

But what about you and me? What about the Word becoming flesh in us? Continue reading “The Work Of Christmas” – A Sermon On John 1:1-18

Christmas Day, Luke 2:8-20, Sermon, Pondering

Now What? So What? – A Christmas Day Sermon On Luke 2:8-20

It’s so quiet this morning, so calm, so empty. Christmas Day is one of my favorite services every year. It’s just us and the baby.

Most years I come to Christmas morning with two questions: Now what? So what? I never seem to have a final and lasting answer. So, once again, I come to Christmas morning with the same two questions. Continue reading Now What? So What? – A Christmas Day Sermon On Luke 2:8-20

Nativity of Jesus, Sermon, Luke 2:1-20

By Way Of The Interruptions – A Christmas Sermon On Luke 2:1-20

It began about nine months ago. Life was interrupted when the unexpected and unimaginable happened. And I wondered, “How can this be?” Life was changing and things were getting too real too quick. The government made travel decrees. Some family, friends, and businesses closed to us and said, “No, you can’t come in.” Things just aren’t like they used to be. They probably never will be. So much has changed. It feels like it’s been one interruption after another.

You know what I’m talking about, right? I’m sure you do. It’s not too hard to figure it out. It’s in the air. It’s all around us.

You know, don’t you, that I’m talking about Mary and what she might have thought about the past nine months of her life? I’m talking about the first Christmas. That is what you thought I was talking about, right?
Continue reading By Way Of The Interruptions – A Christmas Sermon On Luke 2:1-20

Priest, Ordination, Sermon, Isaiah 6:1-8

Hold The Tension – An Ordination Sermon On Isaiah 6:1-8

As important as this evening is, it is only the evening of your ordination. And while what we do this evening matters and makes a difference, what will matter most and make the biggest difference is what you do with your priesthood tomorrow, the next day, the one after that, and, God willing, the one ten or fifteen years from now.

I don’t know what those days will be like for you. And neither do you. You don’t know what your priesthood will ask of you or give you. None of us do. So I’m going to give you some words from Isaiah 6:1-8 that might help. Continue reading Hold The Tension – An Ordination Sermon On Isaiah 6:1-8

Sermon, Witness, Advent 3B, John 1:6-8 19-28, Mary Oliver

Can I Get A Witness? – A Sermon On John 1:6-8, 19-28

When was the last time you could not help but tell about something you saw, heard, or experienced? It was simply more than you could hold or contain and you just couldn’t keep it to yourself. You had to tell about it.

Before you answer, let me clarify what I am talking about and what I am not talking about. I’m not talking about a juicy scandal, scoop, or gossip. I’m not talking about what you heard or saw someone else say or do. And I’m not talking about simply recounting the events of your day. Continue reading Can I Get A Witness? – A Sermon On John 1:6-8, 19-28