Sermon, Marriage, Wedding, 1 John 4:7-16, Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7, Love

The Beautiful Risk – A Wedding Sermon

Those are not demands we make on each other. They are gifts we offer each other. And with a true gift there is no holding back. It’s all or nothing. If there is a measure of your marriage, it is love, and the only measure of love is love without measure (St. Augustine).

So you must always keep your ears and heart open to the urging and wooing of each other. It just might be the urging and wooing of God. Because if “God is love” (1 John 4:8) then the wooing of love is the wooing of God.  Continue reading The Beautiful Risk – A Wedding Sermon

Sermon, Epiphany 5C, Desire, John Caputo, Luke 5:1-11,

Desire Beyond Desire – A Sermon On Luke 5:1-11

On the surface it would be easy to hear today’s story (Luke 5:1-11) as one in which Jesus fulfills the desires of Peter and the others; the desire to catch fish, the desire to be successful, the desire to make a living. I don’t think that’s a correct reading of this story. I don’t think that’s what happened. I think there is more to this than fish, success, and making a living. Here’s why I say that. What did they do with the fish, their success, the money they would have made at the market, once they got back to shore? “They left everything and followed [Jesus].” They walked away. Those were not the end of the story but the beginning of the story. Their initial desires took them to the lake but it was a “desire beyond desire” that called them beyond the lake.  Continue reading Desire Beyond Desire – A Sermon On Luke 5:1-11

Epiphany 4C, Luke 4:21-30, Social Justice, Jesus Rejected at Nazareth, Christian Life and Discipleship

The One Thing We All Have In Common – A Sermon On Luke 4:21-30

The people in the synagogue were looking forward to some hometown privilege. They see themselves as special and they are ticked off when they realize that Jesus won’t play to their presumed privilege and that they are being passed over. That’s what enrages them. They are raging mad about being passed over.

And I can’t help but wonder if we might not be the hometown crowd, if we somehow see ourselves as Jesus’ favorites. I can’t help but wonder if we don’t also assume some privileged status when it comes to Jesus, as if he always chooses (or should choose) our side, our church, our party, our country. And I can’t help but wonder if we’re not also in danger of being passed over. Continue reading The One Thing We All Have In Common – A Sermon On Luke 4:21-30

Luke 4:14-21, Epiphany 3C, Sermon, Social Justice, Christian Life and Discipleship, Choices

Where And With Whom Will You Stand? – A Sermon On Luke 4:14-21

How far will I go for this gospel I claim to love and follow? What am I willing to do and what am I not? I struggle and wrestle with these questions every day. 

Because here’s what I see in the world and read in the life of Jesus. Sometimes, perhaps more often than not, the gospel asks us to make a choice, to take a stand, that will inconvenience us, be contrary to our self-interest, or put us in conflict and even opposition with others, ourselves, our family, our country, our religion. Continue reading Where And With Whom Will You Stand? – A Sermon On Luke 4:14-21

Sermon, Epiphany 2C, John 2:1-11, Faith, Hope, Miracle, Transformation, Wedding at Cana

Water Does Not Turn Into Wine – A Sermon On John 2:1-11

I don’t know if Jesus literally and physically turned water into wine. But then I don’t think that’s the point of today’s gospel. I don’t think this gospel is ultimately about turning water into wine. It’s about calling forth life where there is none. It’s about transformation. It’s about living a new life. Continue reading Water Does Not Turn Into Wine – A Sermon On John 2:1-11

Baptism of Jesus, Epiphany, Sermon, Epiphany 1C, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22, John Caputo

With You I Am Well Pleased – A Sermon On Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

The question is never, “Do I get a yes? Am I the son or daughter of God, the Beloved, with whom God is well pleased?” That’s a given, the gift of God. It’s the insistence of God in each of our lives. The only question is whether we can discern that gift in the conditions and circumstances of our lives.

We are always discerning God’s insistence in our lives, to hear God’s call and claim on us. We are always listening for the yes to which we can answer yes. Continue reading With You I Am Well Pleased – A Sermon On Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Epiphany, Feast of the Epiphany, Matthew 2:1-12, Sermon, Star of Bethlehem

God Insists – An Epiphany Sermon On Matthew 2:1-12

Whatever God’s insisting for you might be, whatever the “it” is in your life, “it” is God desiring, maybe even needing, to be seen, known, experienced by you. Epiphany happens at the intersection of God’s insistence and our response, and it requires both. A star that is not seen and followed is just another luminous ball of gas. A journey that has no guiding star is just another road trip. You and I give existence to God’s insistence through our actions, our words, our lives.  Continue reading God Insists – An Epiphany Sermon On Matthew 2:1-12

Luke 1:39-56, Sermon, Advent 4C, Advent, Hospitality, Impossible, Estrangement, Stranger, Sermon, Mary, Elizabeth, Visitation of Mary

Hospitality Heals Our Estrangement – An Advent Sermon On Luke 1:39-45

Throughout our lives we find ourselves in circumstances or situations that are strange, new, incomprehensible. They’re beyond our previous experience and more often than not they leave us feeling estranged from ourselves, an alien in our own life. You know what that’s like, right?

I wonder if that’s exactly how Mary feels. I wonder if her leaving in haste is the outer expression of her inner estrangement. I wonder if her leaving home reflects that she is not yet at home in herself.  Continue reading Hospitality Heals Our Estrangement – An Advent Sermon On Luke 1:39-45

Advent, Advent 3C, Sermon, Luke 3:7-18, John the Baptist, Repentance, Spiritual Life

It’s About Ordinary Life – An Advent Sermon On Luke 3:7-18

I remember asking the what-to-do question in my teen age and early adult years as I thought about and made decisions. I asked it during my separation and after my divorce. I asked it after our son Brandon died. I’ve asked it after I said or did something that hurt another. I’ve asked it when I felt lost, overwhelmed, powerless, scared, or guilty. I’ve asked it when the pain of the world is palpable, when those I love and care about are hurting, when others are dealing with the hardships and the difficulty of life. What then should I do? Who and how do I want to be in this moment?

Does any of that sound familiar in your life? When have you asked the question? And what was going on? Continue reading It’s About Ordinary Life – An Advent Sermon On Luke 3:7-18