Sunday, June 9, 2024

Sermon: "The Poetry of Water", Psalm 65 (June 9, 2024)

You may not remember this about me, but I don’t especially like preaching on the psalms. It’s not because I don’t like them; I think that the Psalms are a beautiful showcase of the depth of humanity’s emotions. But the same thing that makes them beautiful to read is what makes them difficult to preach – they’re poetry. A poem can be challenging enough to understand when it’s in your native tongue, but it gets exponentially more difficult when it’s in an unfamiliar ancient language. The goal of poetry isn’t the same as prose: it isn’t to tell a story, but to convey an emotion or a deeper truth. It uses sentence fragments, metaphor, double-entendre, and ambiguity – all very advanced linguistic concepts – to accomplish this. The fact that poetry purposely uses language in an imprecise and subjective way makes it extremely difficult to translate. Many of the words used in the psalms have multiple meanings, or meanings that don’t make sense to us in the context we find them.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Liturgy: 3rd Sunday After Pentecost, Psalm 65 (June 9, 2024)

 *You are welcome to use or adapt any of my resources for free, but I ask that you provide proper citation AND comment on this post to let me know.*


Hymn GTG #479, “Ho, All Who Thirst”
Hymn GTG #480, “Take Me to the Water”
Hymn GTG #476, “Crashing Waters at Creation”
Hymn GTG #410, “God Is Calling through the Whisper”

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Sermon: “Mastery of All Creation; Master of None”, Job 38:1-38 (June 2, 2024)

When we talk about biblical creation stories, our minds usually jump straight to Genesis, don’t they? The first two chapters of Genesis offer two separate accounts of creation with two different objectives: the Adam and Eve creation story teaches us about humanity’s relationship with God and with one another, but before that, Genesis 1 tells us about God’s relationship with ALL of creation. As far as OUR relationship with creation, the first chapter of Genesis covers that, too – in verse 28, God tells humanity to “Fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground.” Most of us have gone our whole lives assuming that this is the sum total of biblical creation accounts.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Liturgy: 2nd Sunday After Pentecost, Job 38:1-38 (June 2, 2024)

 *You are welcome to use or adapt any of my resources for free, but I ask that you provide proper citation AND comment on this post to let me know.*


Hymn GTG #12, “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”
Hymn GTG #648, "Thankful Hearts and Voices Raise"
Hymn GTG #24, “God, Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens” 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Sermon: “A Pentecostal Truth”, Acts 2:1-21/Numbers 11:24-29 (May 19, 2024 - Pentecost)

Today is the day that we remember the first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples – the so-called “birthday of the Church”. And what a celebration it was! The Apostles started babbling in other languages, resulting in the crowd assuming they’re drunk, which in turn causes Peter to quote scripture at them and yell, “Nuh uh, it’s only 9am” – you know; just your average first birthday party. But seriously, we actually call Pentecost “the birthday of the Church” because it’s the point at which the disciples pivot from being Jesus’ sidekicks to being apostles with their own ministries. And while the “speaking in other languages” thing is a neat party trick, the Holy Spirit also gives the Church its *actual* first birthday gift on this occasion: a new sense of power and authority to create global unity through the gospel.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Liturgy: Pentecost Sunday, Acts 2:1-21/Numbers 11:24-29 (May 19, 2024)

 *You are welcome to use or adapt any of my resources for free, but I ask that you provide proper citation AND comment on this post to let me know.*


Hymn GTG #291, “Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness”
Hymn GTG #284, “Holy Spirit, Come to Us”
Hymn GTG #280, “Come, O Spirit, Dwell Among Us”

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Sermon: “Chrysalis Victor”*, 1 Corinthians 15:12-26, 51-55 (May 12, 2024

*In case you aren't a super-nerd about theology, this is a play on words - "Christus Victor" is the name of the atonement theory (explanation of why/how the resurrection reconciled humanity to God) that says that the Resurrection was God's ultimate victory over death. And this sermon talks about cocoons.

I’m glad that we’re ending Eastertide with a passage from 1 Corinthians. This epistle contains some of the best-known passages of scripture, both cherished and controversial, but its greatest value lies in what it can teach us about life *after* Christ’s resurrection. We know that the events of Easter morning aren’t the END of the story, but the BEGINNING, and Paul is an excellent reminder of that fact. He didn’t know Jesus during his earthly ministry, so the resurrected Christ WAS the beginning of *Paul’s* story, and his life’s work became helping the larger ecclesial community write its next chapters.