Sunday, November 27, 2016

Walking in the Light of God - Homily for Advent 1A


Isaiah 2:1-5


We have lit the first candle of Advent, the candle of hope. 

Hope is what Advent is all about. It looks forward to the fulfillment of promises made by God, for as Paul declares in Romans:   
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.  (Rom. 8:24-25). 
I know that some of us can’t wait for Advent to turn into Christmas, but while signs of Christmas are present, including the tree and the nativity scene, we still have to wait in patience for Advent’s hope to be fulfilled. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

In Christ, the Fullness of God - Sermon for Reign of Christ Sunday, Year C

Colossians 1:11-20

There are different kinds of calendars that we use to keep track of life. There’s the secular calendar that begins in January and ends on December 31. Along the way there are lots of different holidays and observances. In many ways, that’s the calendar that guides daily life. In the old days we turned to paper, now many use their phones to keep track of life. If you’re in business, you might make use of the fiscal calendar, which runs from July to June. There are also many different religious calendars. 

For us, as followers of Jesus, the liturgical calendar or the Christian year reminds us that we are citizens of the realm of God. It begins on the First Sunday of Advent, when we receive the good news that the kingdom of God is at hand. This liturgical calendar comes to a close this morning as we celebrate Reign of Christ Sunday. Today we celebrate the enthronement of the one in whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. Yes, we celebrate the full revelation of the one who is “the image of the invisible God, the one who is first over all creation.”  It is through the one we call the Christ that God has reconciled all things and brought peace through the blood of the cross. This is the promise that will sustain us. It is the promise that sustains me. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Go and Do the Same: Transform the World -- Stewardship Sermon for Pentecost 26C

Luke 21:5-19

Tuesday brought  a divisive and often bitter election season to a close. There are some who are happy and others who are not. At this point the future is uncertain, making many Americans concerned and even fearful. We will need to listen to each other’s hopes and dreams and keep each other in prayer. Because I know this congregation, I know that we didn’t all vote the same. But, I also believe that despite our political and even theological differences, as followers of Jesus we are bound together by our common love of God and our neighbors. I pray that the message of the prophet Micah will be on our hearts and minds as we move forward into the future. That message is simply this: What God requires of us is that we “do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 CEB).

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Go and Do the Same: Change Your Direction - Stewardship Sermon


Luke 19:1-10

We’re in the midst of a conversation about the meaning of the Lord’s Table, but we’ve also been talking about stewardship. The question is what, if anything, do they have to do with each other? 
There are those who think it odd that we bring our offerings to the communion table. They might wonder if there is a fee that needs to be paid to receive this meal. Some ask why churches seem to talk so much about money? There are fiduciary reasons, but that’s not all. 

Jesus talked a lot about money because he understood that how we view money has a lot to do who we are as children of God. On at least one occasion, he suggested that where our treasure lies, there our hearts will be. So perhaps bringing treasure to the Table is a sign of where we want our hearts to be. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dinner Invitation - A Communion Sermon

Revelation 19:6-10

Photo by Crystal Balogh

If you got invited to a big wedding banquet, would you get all excited? Would you see it as an opportunity to get all dressed up? Or would you wait to see if a better invitation came your way? I’ve been to a few wedding banquets in my time. Some were large and some small. Some were fancy and others were informal. Weddings are special events, and depending on your relationship with the couple, they might be can’t miss events.  

A few weeks back we heard Jesus tell a parable about a big banquet, which could have been a wedding banquet. In that story all the invited guests discovered that they had something better to do than attend the banquet (Luke 14:15-24). Our reading from Revelation 19 offers us another dinner invitation. This invitation is to the “marriage supper of the Lamb,” which takes place in the heavenly realm. The angel or messenger of God has declared that “blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”  Yes, simply to be invited to this marriage supper is a blessing!