Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Eve Sermon: "Imago Immanuel" (December 24, 2019)

(The Conclusion of our Advent series on how we reflect God's Image)


During Advent this year, Boone Church has been exploring the ways that we reflect imago dei, the Image of God. The first week, we learned that our spirits reflect God by allowing us to know the unknowable. We heard John’s voice cry out in the wilderness for repentance, reminding us that our spirits can only reflect God when we’re willing to atone for those things that separate us from God. The second week, we discovered that our minds best reflect God when we set them free to wander, explore, and create. We sat with Joseph as he debated the path his life would take, realizing that a choice to do the right thing is also form of divine reflection. The third week, we found that our bodies reflect God not in their individual appearance or particular set of abilities, but in their capacity to care for others. We said “yes” with Mary to offering ourselves to God, knowing that every one of our bodies is loved and valued for themselves. And this past Sunday, we realized that the ultimate reflection of God is in the community that God gives us. We joined the shepherds in singing praises, remembering that only when every one of us is welcomed as part of a whole can we truly reflect God.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Sermon: “Imago Dei: In the Image of God’s Community”, Genesis 1:24-31, 2:1-3/Luke 2:8-20 (December 22, 2019)

(Week 4 in our Advent series on how we reflect God's Image--
previous weeks' sermons can be found here, here, and here)

By now, most of you are aware of my fondness for musical theatre. What you may NOT know is that I played bassoon for many years during middle and high school. How do these two fun facts relate? Well, for years, all I wanted was to be in the pit orchestra of a musical production. I firmly believed (and still do) that there are some messages and emotions that can only be conveyed properly through music, and although I was too shy at the time to get up on stage, I could definitely play in the pit orchestra. I was delighted at the prospect of helping tell a story through music. I was eager to do my part.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sermon: “Imago Dei: In the Image of God’s Body”, Psalm 139:13-18/Luke 1:26-33, 38 (December 15, 2019)

(Week 3 in our Advent series on how we reflect God's Image--
previous weeks' sermons can be found here and here)

*To expand upon the disclaimer in the sound file: this was a particularly challenging sermon to write because everyone has a different relationship with their body, and I know that talking about bodies can be painful for different people in a million different reasons. In addition to the footnote I added below, I want to reaffirm here: your body is holy, not because of what it looks like or how it works, but because of what you use it for. And as long as you're using it to love others and share God with the world, you're doing it right.

If you're still in the middle of coming to terms with what your body is or isn't, what it can or cannot do, know that God is with you in that journey, and that no matter where you end up and what you discover, God will still love, cherish, and value you just as much as when God knit you together in your mother's womb.  --KSW 


Human bodies have long been a point of contention in Christian communities. Although we worship an incarnate God, our own bodies have at times become targets of disdain and disgust. Historically, certain groups have seen the body as inferior to the spirit because of its finite and corruptible nature. They see physicality as something impure to be endured and transcended if at all possible. Individually, many of us see our own bodies as an inconvenience or a burden. For some of us, chronic illness or even just normal aging can make us question if having a body is worth the pain that we suffer because of it. Whether for functional or aesthetic reasons, most of us have been unhappy with our bodies at one time or another.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sermon: “Imago Dei: In the Image of God’s Mind”, Genesis 1:1-5/John 1:1-5, 9-14/Matthew 1:18-24 (December 8, 2019)

(Week 2 in our Advent series on how we reflect God's Image--
last week's sermon can be found here)


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being.” For many of us, these words are as familiar as our own names, as comfortable as an old, worn shoe. We recite them faithfully at our Christmas Eve services, year after year, and some of you may have even memorized this passage during your Sunday School days. But as familiar as it is, do we really know what it’s saying?

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Sermon: “Imago Dei: In the Image of God’s Spirit”, Isaiah 11:1-10/Matthew 3:1-11 (December 1, 2019)

(Week 1 in our Advent series on how we reflect God's Image)


It’s the beginning of a new liturgical year and Advent is upon us, as you can tell by the beautiful paraments that once again adorn our worship space. This past week, I joked on Facebook that we should start calling these purple ornamentations “prepare-aments”, since purple is the color of the liturgical seasons of preparation. In all seriousness, though, it’s important for us to remember the preparatory aspect of Advent. In the context of worship, we usually talk about it in terms of preparing for the arrival of Emmanuel, God-With-Us, the Messiah…but what does that really mean? What does it entail? Certainly, our preparation doesn’t begin and end with purple paraments (excuse me; prepare-aments) in the sanctuary and bright, colored lights hung outside our homes. This sort of preparation is fun, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t accomplish anything particularly meaningful. I mean, it’s meaningful to us individually—I’m a huge fan of traditions and the feelings they evoke—but aside from providing the “warm fuzzies”, it doesn’t actually really do much, aside from making the spaces around us look pleasant.