Star of Bethlehem, Epiphany, Magi, Wise Men, Sermon, Matthew 2:1-12

What Is Absent From Your Life? – An Epiphany Sermon On Matthew 2:1-12

What if the experience of absence and the accompanying longings and desires are the beginning of an epiphany for you? What if that sense of absence is the star of your life by which God is revealing God’s self to you? And what if your sense of longing and desire is really God’s longing and desire for you? Continue reading What Is Absent From Your Life? – An Epiphany Sermon On Matthew 2:1-12

John the Baptist, Sermon, Advent 3B, John 1:6-8 19-28, Isaiah 61:1-4 8-11, Presence,

The One Among Us – A Sermon On John 1:6-8, 19-28 for Advent 3B

Maybe the greatest barrier to seeing the divine presence among us is that we already have an idea or image of who that one is or should be and what that one should look like and do. In other words, we think we know and we stick with what we think we know. We can’t see the one because he or she does not meet our expectations or fit our categories of who he or she can be. Sometimes, we don’t see the one among us because he or she stands outside the box of our beliefs. And more often than not we see and hear in such a way that it only confirms what we already believe. Continue reading The One Among Us – A Sermon On John 1:6-8, 19-28 for Advent 3B

Advent 1B, Mark 13:24-37, Isaiah 64:1-9, Sermon, Presence, Watchfulness, Apocalypse

“I just needed to be reminded.” – A Sermon on Mark 13:24-37 for Advent 1B

“We didn’t do it that way when we were kids.” “This isn’t the America I remember. It’s not like it used to be.” “The world is a different place these days. It’s changed.” “This isn’t the church I grew up in. I don’t know what happened to that church.” “Back in my day….” “This isn’t the life I planned and worked for.” You could add your own version. There’s a thousand variations on this theme. They all seem to me to have a common thread or question running through them. Here’s the question: What is going on in our world today? What’s happening? Continue reading “I just needed to be reminded.” – A Sermon on Mark 13:24-37 for Advent 1B

Forward Day by Day, Psalm 78:1, Listening, Heart

Ears Are a Gateway to the Heart

Psalm 78:1. “Hear my teaching, O my people; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.” Several years ago, I spent a summer participating in a pastoral care internship. As the summer progressed, I realized I was really doing an internship on learning to listen. I came to understand that listening is essential for good pastoral care, but it is also essential to having … Continue reading Ears Are a Gateway to the Heart

John 14:1-6, Funeral, Funeral Sermon, Sermon, Grief, Loss, Sorrow, Death, Resurrection, Presence

When A Loved One Dies – A Funeral Sermon on John 14:1-6

I need you to trust me and work with me on what I am going to say next. It won’t seem true but it is. Brian’s love, his life, and his presence are as real today as before he died. I know it doesn’t look like that and it sure doesn’t feel like that. I know that your grief and tears are saying that it’s not true. But I promise you it is. It is the gospel truth. Continue reading When A Loved One Dies – A Funeral Sermon on John 14:1-6

Silence, Presence, Lebh Shomea, Rumi

Silence, the Way Home

The 14th century Sufi poet and mystic, Rumi, wrote, “Return to the root of the root of yourself.”¹ His words remind me that I often live on the periphery or circumference of life, disconnected from the root of my being and existence. To “return to the root of the root” of myself means returning to myself, becoming more fully human, and entering the deep heart. … Continue reading Silence, the Way Home

Matthew 22:1-14, Proper 23A, Sermon, Kingdom of Heaven, Presence, Invitation, Parable of the King's Son's Wedding

An Open Invitation – A Sermon on Matthew 22:1-14

My first year in seminary we had a church history professor who would say the most outrageous things. He was funny. He was sarcastic. He was sometimes offensive and he was always challenging. You just never knew what to expect or what he might say next. After a particularly outrageous comment he would look at us and say, “You know I’m given to hyperbole, and … Continue reading An Open Invitation – A Sermon on Matthew 22:1-14

Practicing Presence, Disconnect to Connect

“Where are you?” I looked at my wife and said, “I’m right here.” “No, you’re not,” she said. “You’re a million miles away.” She was right. I was there but I was not present. Most of us, I suspect, have been on both sides of that conversation. We have closed off another and been closed out by another. There is no presence. Presence lies at … Continue reading Practicing Presence, Disconnect to Connect

Coke Machine

Unanswered Prayer? A Sermon on Luke 11:1-13

“One of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’” (From Luke 11:1-13, Proper 12C.) As I recall my own life of prayer, prayers I have heard, and conversations I have had about prayer I can’t help but wonder if the coke machine isn’t our primary teacher of prayer. Think about it. We put in the correct change, make our selection, and get … Continue reading Unanswered Prayer? A Sermon on Luke 11:1-13

Choosing Like Mary and Martha, A Sermon on Luke 10:38-42

“There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part.” (From Luke 10:38-42, Proper 11C and the Feast of Mary and Martha.) There have been times when I made a choice and I knew deep within it was the only choice to be made. It was absolutely the right choice. If I could do it all again I would make the same … Continue reading Choosing Like Mary and Martha, A Sermon on Luke 10:38-42