Sermons

Sermon, Pentecost 16, Sept. 25, 2022

Sermon, Proper 21, Year C 2022 Season of Creation

In today’s gospel, Jesus tells the dramatic story of poor Lazarus, starving and covered with sores,  and the rich man who ignores Lazarus in this lifetime. 

Both men die, and the tables get turned.  Lazarus ends up resting comfortably on the bosom of Abraham, and the rich man finds himself in Hades, where he is tormented in the flames. 

Barriers play an important part in this story. 

The first barrier is the rich man’s gate.  The rich man kept his gate shut.  Inside his house, he led a life of luxury, ignoring the needs of the world right outside his gate. 

The second barrier is the great chasm fixed between heaven and hell. 

This barrier keeps the rich man who is now in Hades from receiving any relief from his agony—Abraham tells him that “between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.”  My mind conjures up a huge dark space, so deep that I can’t even see the bottom, and so wide that the other side is invisible because it’s so far away. 

In Bible study, we talked about this chasm.  Is there a point at which God fixes a chasm that cannot be crossed?  Was the rich man doomed forever?  We know that God is a God of mercy and forgiveness.  But is there a cut off point to God’s tolerance of our shortcomings? 

But this story does not say that God put this chasm in place.  The chasm has been fixed, but by whom? 

Read more of the sermon…

Sermon, Season of Creation 1, Sept. 4, 2022

Sermon, Proper 18, Year C Season of Creation I 2022

We are no strangers to counting the cost of things. 

In these days of high food prices, I see people going through the grocery store, calculators in hand, counting the cost of items on the shelves before placing those things in their grocery carts. 

A person who is buying a car counts the cost of driving the  car under consideration over time, considering gas mileage, the inevitable upkeep and repair charges, the cost of new tires, and insurance costs. 

Many people count the costs of having children  before deciding to have children. 

Buying or building or renting a house—what will the cost be? 

I don’t know about you, but I get put off by what Jesus has to say in today’s gospel, when he tells the crowds who are traveling with him that if they expect to be his disciples, they must count the cost.

Jesus says that the costs of discipleship include our possessions, our families, and even life itself. 

These costs don’t make sense to rational, sensible people who work hard for what they have, love their families, and treasure their life here on this earth and, in addition, as followers of Jesus use all of what they have for good purposes.

But for dreamers, who often seem to lack sense and to be irrational, these demands of Jesus make perfect sense, 

because dreamers can see beyond what is to what might be. 

Dreamers are willing to pay any cost, no matter how high,  to realize the dream.   

Jesus himself was a dreamer.  He dreamed of bringing God’s kingdom of love to earth.  Jesus lived as if his dream were already a reality. 

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Sermon, Aug 28, 2022

Sermon, Proper 17, Year C, 2022
Proverbs 25: 6-7, Psalm 112, Luke 14:1, 7-14

“Supper at Emmaus”- Caravaggio

In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us about how we are to come to our true place in the reign of God and find ourselves seated at God’s “welcome table.”   

In this story, Jesus is eating a meal on the Sabbath with a leader of the Pharisees.  The first verse of this passage says that they were watching Jesus closely.   I’m assuming that “they” were the group of Pharisees who would have been invited to this meal.

Jesus watches the Pharisees take their places at the meal.  Where they sat was quite important, for the seating indicated where people stood within the group, who were the most honored, and who were the least important.    

The Pharisees were strict followers of Jewish tradition.  The more they followed the tradition, the better they considered themselves to be.    They judged one another on their accomplishments in the department of law keeping.  And those who were the best were the ones chosen to sit in the place of honor at banquets. 

Inevitably the Pharisees had come to believe that their relationships with God were determined by how well they kept the laws, and that they earned God’s favor by keeping God’s commandments.      

We fall into the same trap ourselves.  We try to live by God’s laws.  We try to love God and to care for others.  We are proud of our accomplishments.  We are proud of being good people.  But that proudness we develop can adversely affect our relationship with God, and with other people.    

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Sermon, Pentecost 9, August 7

“Watchful Servants” – Eugène Burnand (1850-1921)

Excerpt. See read more link for the entire sermon

We spend a great deal of our lives waiting.  Our lives begin with nine months of waiting to be born, and that’s only the beginning  of the waiting we will do throughout our lives. 

Today’s scriptures remind  us that, as Christians, the most important thing we wait for is for God’s reign to become complete on earth, as it is in heaven. 

No wonder that’s the first thing Jesus asks us to pray for in the Lord’s Prayer. When we pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth, we are praying for God to make the old destructive death dealing ways of the world into something new and life giving.  

Even waiting at a stoplight can take on new meaning if I know that the big thing I am waiting for is for God’s reign of love to come on this earth, and that how I wait, even for a stop light, matters.   


The thoughts of Christopher Davis, who teaches at Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee, are helpful here. 

Davis says in his commentary on today’s Genesis passage that there comes a place in the process of waiting that our trust gets put on trial.   “If you’re going to move from frustration to fulfillment, you must develop an intentional life of waiting…the prize isn’t always finally getting what you wanted, it’s what you learned while you waited.”  He goes on to say that our job is to go from putting God to the test to simply trusting God, that it’s not just about what we do, but also about who we grow into. 

In the waiting, if we wait faithfully, God really does make us new.

What is God trying to make new in my life, and in yours? What is God trying to teach us in the waiting?  What is God trying to make new in our church and in our world? 

All of us are waiting for something.  So let’s remember that as we wait for whatever it is, that all the waiting, for both the small and large things in our lives, must be informed by our expectant waiting for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.  

So let’s resolve to listen for God, to wait faithfully and obediently and to trust that even if not in our lifetimes, God’s reign of love will someday come to pass on this earth, as it is in heaven.

And in our intentional, faithful, and trusting waiting, our lives can be a sign  to the rest of the waiting world that God’s reign of love really  is on the way.

Read more…

Sermon, July 24, 2022 Pentecost 7

Sermon, Proper 12, Year C, 2022

Luke 11:1-13

“Ask and it shall be given you; search and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” 

These two familiar sentences make up one of the great promises of Jesus to us, that when we ask we will receive, when we seek, we will find, and when we knock, the door will open. 

But how many times in your life have you found that these promises don’t hold water, that what you asked for you didn’t receive, that what you sought you didn’t find, and that when you knocked, the door remained not only shut, but locked up tight?

That your prayers weren’t answered. 

So did God let you down?  Sometimes life feels that way—that God didn’t hear and  didn’t answer and that our prayers are in vain. 

But as Oswald Chambers says in his classic book of devotions, My Utmost for his Highest, “God answers prayer in the best way, not sometimes, but every time.” 

And somewhere deep down inside we believe that God does answer even our seemingly unanswered prayers, because we are here today, and I bet that you, like me, keep praying even when prayer seems hopeless. 

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Native American Prayers

Sermon, Pentecost 4, Proper 9, July 3, 2022

In today’s gospel, Jesus sent seventy people out ahead of him in pairs to prepare the way for his coming.  And Jesus told them to greet the people with this greeting, “The Kingdom of God has drawn near you.” In the towns that received them, the disciples brought about miracles and the kingdom of God did indeed draw near.     

Now what if at the end of each day, I had to report in to Jesus about how my mission of bringing God’s kingdom near had gone that day?  Would I have anything to report? 

Some days, I’d have to confess a complete fail! 

Thank God that even when we do fail (think Peter and all his failures) Jesus will send us out yet again. 

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Sermon, Trinity Sunday, June 12, 2022

Sermon, Trinity Sunday, Year C 2022 Today’s sermon is  almost completely taken from the first sermon I preached on Trinity Sunday here at St Peter’s.     The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the ways that we Christians try to understand the nature of God.    In today’s reading from Proverbs, the woman called Wisdom …

Sermon, Trinity Sunday, June 12, 2022 Read More »

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