The Second Sunday in Advent, Year A – Matthew 3:1-12 What if I preached like John the Baptist? What if I was as blunt and direct as he is? What if one Sunday I began my sermon like this? “So what brought you slithering in here today? You sons of … snakes. Why are you here? To get out of the cold? To see your … Continue reading Life Can Be Different – An Advent Sermon On Matthew 3:1-12
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
What do you see when you look at your past?
What are the feelings and thoughts?Regardless of how we view our past, regardless of what did or not happen back then, to the degree we are enmeshed, entangled, or enslaved to our past, “we can expect the future to look like the past” (Caputo, The Weakness of God, 169). We repeat the same patterns, tell ourselves the same old stories, and listen to same old voices. And not much changes. Life becomes static and we are stuck in the past trying to live a life that is no longer.
John’s call for repentance is the call for us to face and deal with our past. Continue reading What Has Laid Claim To Your Life? – An Advent Sermon On Luke 3:1-6
We’ve known times in our lives when we felt unprepared for what we were facing. We looked down the road at what was coming and we didn’t like what we saw. We wanted to cry out, “No. This isn’t happening. This cannot be. This must not be.” Haven’t there been times when you felt scared, unprepared for, or overwhelmed by life? Haven’t there been times when you just didn’t want to face what life was bringing you? Haven’t there been times when you just didn’t know whether your faith was up to the demands of life? Love my enemy? Forgive not once, not seven times, but seventy times seven? Turn the other cheek when the first one is still red and stinging? Continue reading The Conflicting Snapshots Of Our Lives – A Sermon On Mark 8:31-38
The First Sunday in Lent – Mark 1:9-15 I don’t know how I can stand before you today with any sense of integrity and faithfulness and not say something about the Florida shooting. Something has to be said. I’m just not sure what to say or what can be said. I’m struggling with that. And I have been since my Ash Wednesday sermon. We’ve been … Continue reading The Wilderness Of Gun Violence – A Sermon On Mark 1:9-15
In what ways are you living as a displaced person? What parts of your life feel uprooted and disconnected? What is your displacement?
“Comfort, O comfort my people,” are God’s words to displaced people. Isaiah first spoke those words to people exiled in Babylon, people whose lives had been uprooted. Those same words come to the displaced people of God today. In some way the prophetic word is always directed to displaced people. And we long to hear those words of comfort. We want to find our place. More than anything displaced people want to be a placed people. Continue reading Comfort For The Displaced – A Sermon on Mark 1:1-8 for Advent 2B
Matthew 3:1-12, Advent 2A If last week’s gospel (Matthew 24:36-44) called us to wake up and be watchful of the worlds within us and around us, then this week’s gospel (Matthew 3:1-12) calls us to respond. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” What does that mean for you? What is John the Baptist asking of us? What has been your experience of repentance? … Continue reading Beauty, Hope, and Repentance – A Sermon on Matthew 3:1-12, Advent 2A
“What then should we do?” That question is at the center of today’s gospel. It has its origin, however, in last week’s gospel and John the Baptist’s call for repentance. Today’s gospel (Luke 3:7-18) is the continuation of last week’s (Luke 3:1-6). You may remember the refrain from last week: Repent. Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight. Valleys shall be filled. … Continue reading What Then Should We Do? – An Advent Sermon on Luke 3:7-18
Repent. Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight. Valleys shall be filled. Mountains and hills shall be made low. The crooked shall be made straight. The rough ways shall be made smooth. By themselves those words have no meaning. They need context. That’s true for any word. We might be able to define a word but it really has no meaning until … Continue reading Repentance, Responsibility, and San Bernardino – An Advent Sermon on Luke 3:1-6
After I graduated from seminary Cyndy and I moved to Kerrville where I began work as an associate priest at a large parish. Shortly after arriving I was invited to join a community prayer group. It was a small group of men all of whom worked in some form of ministry. I was the newest in the group, the newest to Kerrville, and the only … Continue reading Turning Points in Life – A Sermon on Matthew 4:12-23