Category: Sermons

When Mariah and I bought our house, the basement was done in a… certain style. Let’s call it dive bar chic. The foundation walls were cinder block. Different partition walls were different kinds of wooden slats over different styles of frames. One door was close to a normal door; another one was a swinging door; another one was a saloon door. The tile in one area was asbestos; the tile in another area was vinyl; the tile in another area was a different kind of vinyl. Some lights were fully installed; others were powered by an extension cord draped…
Imagine that you are the greeter at the door of a party. There are two groups of people who want to get in. We’ll call one of the groups, The Blue Angels. And we’ll call the other group… Group Two. The host would like you to let all of the Blue Angels in; and none of the people in Group Two in. But there’s a problem. You can’t tell the difference between the two groups. And any system you come up with that lets all of the Blue Angels in, will also let in some of the members of…
Do me a favor. Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine something with me. It is a dark and stormy night. The clouds obscure the moon and the stars. The lights from town are off in the distance. The rain is falling in sheets. You can barely see your hand in front of your face. And any reasonable person would be at home, in front of the fire, safe and dry, with a good book and a cup of tea. But you had some errand in the countryside, and your car got stuck in the mud, and no reasonable…
The audio on this recording is pretty bad. I apologize for that. It looks like our lectern microphone is having some issues and that’s generating a lot of static. A few years ago, I gave a sermon at Mariah’s church. It was a sermon about holy impatience for the kingdom of God and the messianic banquet. It was about getting the party started. It was a masterpiece of homiletics. And in that sermon, I said that I don’t wear a tie unless it is absolutely necessary and it is never absolutely necessary. I also said that even if only…
Jesus came into the world to heal. Christ came into the world to restore. We saw that in last week’s reading, when Jesus rebuked an unclean spirit and healed Simon’s mother-in-law… like it was nothing. We saw it in last week’s reading, when, after Jesus did those things, more and more people showed up, saying, “Will you touch, will you heal me Christ?” And he touched them, and he healed them… like it was nothing. And, after a while, there were so many people that Jesus couldn’t even go into town without the mob showing up. So he stayed…
A week-and-a-half ago, on Christmas Eve, we celebrated Christ coming into the world as a baby… among a dispossessed people in an occupied land… to parents who were far from home and who couldn’t find a room for a night. A week-and-a-half ago, on Christmas day, we were not here together, but each of us, in our own way, marked the paradox of Christmas: that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home. A week ago, we read about how Jesus—that baby in a manger, that child in ragged clothes, that king of kings—began his ministry:…
They grow up so fast, don’t they?  It seems like only a few days ago that we were waiting in holy anticipation for God to come into the world; a baby in a manger, hungry and thirsty and naked, weak and in danger and in desperate need of someone to care for him, born to parents who were far from home and unable to find a room for the night. And now it is the Sunday after Christmas. Now it is four days after Christmas. Now it is many years after Christmas. And we read that Jesus—who was a…
Tonight is Christmas Eve, today is the last day of Advent, the season when we look forward to God coming into the world: long ago, as a baby, among a dispossessed people in an occupied land and on a day no one knows, in triumph and glory, to usher in the kingdom of God. And on Christmas Eve—on the last day of Advent—we light a candle and we tell a story. And the story starts like this: God loved the world this way. God called the worlds into being, and planted a garden, and saw that it was good…
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent, the season when we look forward to God coming into the world: long ago, as a baby, among a dispossessed people in an occupied land and on a day no one knows, in triumph and glory, to usher in the kingdom of God. Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent, when we light a candle for love. I need to preface this a little bit. I am bad with names. It takes me a while to learn a new person’s name. And even after I’ve learned it, if I’m put on the…
Today is the second Sunday of Advent, the season when we look forward to God coming into the world: long ago, as a baby, among a dispossessed people in an occupied land and on a day no one knows, in triumph and glory, to usher in the kingdom of God. Today is the second Sunday of Advent, when we light a candle for peace. There is a room in Building 87 of the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, where there is next to no sound. A chainsaw makes noise at about 109 decibels (dB). Regular, prolonged, unprotected exposure for more than…

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