Monday, December 31, 2018

Sermon: "Lessons of a Brief Adolescence", Isaiah 9:2-7/Luke 2:41-52



Today, in the perpetual strangeness that is the Revised Common Lectionary, we’re doing a little bit of time travelling. While we celebrated the baby Jesus’ birth on Monday, today, on the sixth day of Christmas, we discover that he’s already aged 12 years, and next week on Epiphany we’ll jump back ten years to his encounter with the magi at about 2 years old, until finally we arrive at his adult baptism on January 13. When you only have 52 weeks to cover 33 years of life, things can get a little bit wonky sometimes.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Sermon: "The Son, the Moon, and Shooting Stars", Christmas Eve Reflection (December 24, 2018)



This past Friday was the winter solstice in the northern part of the world. In case you’re a little bit foggy on what that means, I’ll explain quickly: in science terms, it’s the point at which the Earth’s axis is tilted as far away from the sun as it will be all year. In more practical terms, it’s the day of the year when we get the least amount of sunlight. It’s the shortest day and the longest night. Although this might seem to primarily be the concern of astronomers and other scientists, this phenomenon has been observed unscientifically for millennia; in fact, the festive term “Yuletide” comes from the name of the ancient pagan rituals surrounding the winter solstice.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sermon: "The Gospel According to Dave Matthews", Luke 1:46-55/1 Corinthians 13:4-13 (December 23, 2018)

12/23/18 (Advent IV)


While the Church at large dwells in Advent just a little longer, the secular world has been immersing itself in all things “Christmas” since at least Thanksgiving; in some cases (like in retail stores) the Christmas season seems to have started back in October. Now, as Christians, we’re used to holding things in tension—a savior who’s both divine and human, a God who’s both three and one, even our own identity as simultaneously sinners and saints—so unlike many pastors I know, I don’t have a problem enjoying the trappings of Christmas outside of worship during Advent. One of my favorite parts of the secular Christmas season is the moment Christmas music starts playing on the radio. I love hearing all the different versions of familiar songs, and I love hearing the new music that artists have created to celebrate this time of year.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Sermon: "Unexpected Expressions of Joy", Philippians 4:4-7/Luke 3:7-16 (December 16, 2018)

12/16/18--Advent III


Today marks the third week of Advent, so at the beginning of worship, we lit three candles. Traditionally, the first candle represents hope, the second candle represents peace, and the third candle—this week’s candle—represents joy. Before I go any further, I want us to think about what joy looks like, and how we express it. What words come to mind? Exuberance? Energy? Confidence? Boldness? Singing? Shouting? Dancing? Jumping?

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sermon: "Preparing for Our Part of the Story", Malachi 3:1-4/Luke 1:68-79 (December 9, 2018)

(Advent II: my first Sunday preaching for Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, ID)


I love Advent. Every year I look forward to this special time of transition, excitement, and anticipation: a new liturgical year begins, many of my favorite traditions return, and the Church once again awaits Christ’s coming. An exciting time, indeed. And here at Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church, we have extra reason to anticipate and celebrate joyfully this Advent—you and I are beginning our ministry together, and I know that we’re all feeling hopeful and eager to find out what God has in store for us. There’s so much to look forward to, and Advent is a particularly apt time for us to be anticipating this community’s bright future together.