Monday, March 23, 2015

Sermon: "Up, Up, and Away!" Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14-21 (March 15, 2015)


Like a good movie director, our faith tradition makes generous use of symbolism. We talk about so many complex ideas that it’s virtually impossible to understand our faith without drawing parallels to our everyday life. When we appeal to our human senses, we’re able to convey aspects of the divine that don’t necessarily translate directly. For example, as I’ve said in the past, every single phrase that we use to describe God is necessarily a metaphor, because we can only truly understand the totality of God’s identity through human approximation. Describing God as a mother hen in Matthew 23, for example, goes a lot farther towards our understanding than just saying that God protects and loves us.

Sermon: "Garden or Clockwork?" John 1:1-18 (December 28, 2014)


Merry Christmas!

So I know I might be preaching to the choir here, so to speak, but I feel like my first responsibility as a pastor is to remind you all that this is not the first weekend after Christmas, but the beginning of the actual liturgical Christmas season, which lasts until Epiphany on January 6th. It’s really easy for us, as Americans, to buy into the idea that Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends on December 25th. But as Christians, we know this isn’t the case. Our culture often looks at December 25th as the culmination of something. But our God isn’t about endings. Our God is about beginnings.

Sermon: "Taking the Second Step", Matthew 14 (August 10, 2014)


Today, we get to talk about Peter. St. Peter, if you’re so inclined. We all know him as somewhat of a Christian heavy-weight, right? One of Jesus’ closest friends, the leader of the early Church, and the first-ever pope, many people consider Peter to be one of the most important figures in Christian history.

Sermon: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Luke 6:37-45 (July 27, 2014)


As potential Disney movies go, Victor Hugo’s novel, Notre-Dame de Paris, known in English as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is not generally the first work that comes to mind. I read the book back in Middle School, and the one thing that I remember about it is how gloomy, violent, and depressing it was. But, for whatever reason, someone working for the Mouse decided in 1996 that this novel was going to be the inspiration for the next big children’s blockbuster. Disney took dramatic creative license in the retelling of Hugo’s work, toning down most of the darker themes and giving the story a classically “Disney” ending in lieu of the “everybody dies” technique preferred by Hugo.

Sermon: The Lion King/The Prodigal Son, Luke 15 (June 29, 2014)


Disney movies have been central to most American childhoods ever since the debut of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. And as any parent whose child has recently seen Frozen can attest, they often infiltrate adult lives, as well. The characters are as familiar as members of our own families: Winnie the Pooh, The Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear and Woody, not to mention Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the gang. Each one has a special place in our hearts. Even the most fantastical of them speak truths that resonate in our lives. And so, when Disney speaks, we listen.

Sermon: Holy Wednesday, John 13:21-36 (April 16, 2014)


During Holy Week, one of the things that I find myself reflecting on most often is the humanity of Jesus. Yes, Jesus is fully divine, and affirming this is a vital part of our Christian identity. But that’s not the whole story, and besides, the idea of God taking on flesh and walking the earth is so theologically loaded that it can become exhausting trying to make sense of it. I find that the passion narrative becomes much more vivid for me when I meditate especially on Christ’s humanity: when I imagine his grief…his pain…his fear…his loneliness. The sacrifice becomes so much more than just words on a page; it becomes relatable, dramatic, and real.