Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sermon: “Love’s Prerogative”, 1 Corinthians 8 (January 31, 2021)


Whether you realize it or not, you’re already quite familiar with Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians—at least one particular part of it. “Love is patient; love is kind; Love never ends…Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is Love.” These words are from 1 Corinthians 13 (five chapters after today’s reading). Odds are that you’ve heard this passage preached at a wedding or seen it on inspirational wall art. Many Christians embrace it as their favorite passages because, like John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 13 seems to encompass the essence of our faith succinctly, memorably, and poetically.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sermon: “The Fellowship of the King”, Mark 1:14-20 (January 24, 2021)


We all know our job as Christians, right? The resurrected Jesus told his disciples what they were supposed to do in one of his final messages to them; we call it “The Great Commission.” All four gospels include some version of it. In Mark’s gospel, from which we take today’s reading, Jesus says, “Go into all the world and proclaim the Good News.” Huh. Not very instructive, is it? For a job so important that it makes the cut in all four gospels, Jesus’ very last words to his disciples, we really don’t have a lot information to get us started. Where should we begin?

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sermon: "Your Servant Is Listening", 1 Samuel 3:10-20 (January 17, 2021)


Today’s reading could be considered the final chapter in a three-part subplot that kicks off Samuel’s career as a prophet. Part two, which immediately precedes this passage, is probably the best known of the three: the boy Samuel hears God’s voice calling to him in the middle of the night, but thinks it’s the voice of his mentor, Eli. It takes the two of them three times before they figure out what’s going on, but once they do, Eli instructs Samuel to respond, “Speak, Lord; your servant is listening”. You’ve probably heard this part of the story before; this is the go-to passage for ordinations and commissioning services.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sermon: "No, And...", Genesis 1:1-5/Mark 1:9-11 (January 10, 2021)

The first creation account is one of the strangest yet most beautiful passages of scripture that we’ve inherited through our tradition. Although we often talk about God having “a divine plan”, creation is presented here almost as a spontaneous act, one where God, whether out of boredom or sudden inspiration, starts speaking the universe we know into existence. It’s like God’s decided to take up improv, and just starts throwing things out there: “Let there be light! And a dome to separate the waters! Oh, and dry land! Ooo, seasons, too! This is good stuff. Let’s add some living things…”

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sermon: "2020 Star Words", Matthew 2:1-12 (January 3, 2021)


Merry Tenth Day of Christmas! Personally, I have yet to see a single lord a-leaping, but the day is still young. Although we technically have two days of Christmas left before Epiphany this year, we generally observe the celebration of the Magi on the Sunday preceding January 6, since midweek worship isn’t too common these days. However, as Epiphany represents the “revealing” of Christ to the larger world beyond the Jewish people, it’s fitting that we use this transitional Sunday, the first one of the new calendar year, to reflect on what’s been revealed to us since the last time we celebrated Epiphany.