Introduction to the sermons

Read more about me on the Bio page.

The proclamation, the hearing, and the receiving of God’s Word is a singular phenomenon—it happens once. Even if you give a sermon twice on a Sunday, each occasion is unique with an uncountable set of circumstances, parameters, chances and factors.

This is the most frustrating thing about a sermon: you only get one chance. You can go over the text endlessly before or, after the fact, you can watch the video of it again; listen to the audio one more time; or make notes how to improve—but you can never make a true change.

As an act of humility and transparency, as I grow in this new craft, I offer all these past sermons I have proclaimed. They are like little crystalized snapshots of my relationship with God and my own development as spiritual leader and minister of word and sacrament.

At the top of each sermon text there is a note about where it was delivered and there are also links to the selections from the bible, and sometimes other texts, I am preaching on.

+Joshua

A Strange Epiphany—Jan. 6, 2019

Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA

As some may know about me, I am a bit new to church-life and its intricacies and festivals. You will watch me make many errors in the months and years to come. It’s true that, sure enough, I was baptized and confirmed in the church… But I left. For a lot of reasons I left.

I left and I didn’t come back until God had placed a call on me.

It was all a bit foreign to me, as I bumbled back through the doors of my old church in Connecticut. I tumbled into the process of becoming a pastor. And I jumped through a hundred hoops, and learned ten-thousand things, and was called and ordained right here.

But even in all that, I guess it never really landed what is this thing called Epiphany, until I sat down to work out this proclamation for you all today. Isn’t that just how church is? It can get so cozy, so familiar that we forget the reasons we do things.

Continue reading “A Strange Epiphany—Jan. 6, 2019”

The People Who Walked In Darkness Have Seen a Great Light—Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2018

Luke 2:1-20

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA

For those gathered here tonight that I haven’t met me yet, “Hello!,” my name is Joshua Sullivan and I have been called as your new associate pastor. I’ve been with you since November 1st, just shy of two months.

And I was ordained, too, in this very room 17 days ago. Not a very long time. I am very fresh out of the box, you could say.

New to PA and the Bucks County area too. So, I’m figuring out how to both love AND hate the Eagles at the same time. Figuring out what hoagies are, and what “water-ice” is, and discovering the mystique of Wawa as well..

It’s been a lot of new and charming stuff for me to experience. So no, not a very long time I’ve been with you.

But in the space of two months, already, I have seen just how much pain lurks in these suburbs, in this town.

Continue reading “The People Who Walked In Darkness Have Seen a Great Light—Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2018”

Our God is New—Dec. 2, 2018

Jeremiah 33:14-16
Thessalonians 3:9-13
Luke 21:25-36

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA

Now, before we get started, it’s very important that we can answer this question: Why is the beginning of Advent a time when we hear Scripture about the end of the world?

In a season that we have all grown up believing is about waiting for a baby to be born—why, this morning, and the past few Sundays too, have there been Scriptural images of “heaven and earth passing away”?

Continue reading “Our God is New—Dec. 2, 2018”

Transformation/Stewardship—Nov. 18, 2018

Daniel 12:1-3
Mark 13:1-8

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA

From Jesus and from the book of Daniel we have grim images. War and violence. Nation against nation. Earthquakes and famines and natural disaster. A time of anguish.

I know we, at this time, can relate to these things. We can understand the sense of dread, of worry and unrest. Just in the past month, almost 60 dead in wildfires. So many others killed meaninglessly by alienated gunmen. And a nation divided like never before.

Continue reading “Transformation/Stewardship—Nov. 18, 2018”

God is Here—Oct. 14, 2018

Mark 10:17-31

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA

In the past month (or more?) I have been in a lot of interviews… with Pastor Krey—who just raved about what an amazing church you are, with Michele and Brian and Lori and Jane, who were overjoyed about being part of this community. Then, with Megan Germann and your call committee, and with Rhonda and ALL the folks on the council… who were making sure I was up to snuff for you all.

So, it’s been a lot of meetings!

But I’ll tell you one thing that has been true of all these meetings—they were full of talk about all the good things happening at St. Andrews.

Continue reading “God is Here—Oct. 14, 2018”

The divide is in our own hearts—Sep. 9, 2018

Mark 7: 24-37

Sermon delivered at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Hilltown, PA

There were rumors of a healer.

Someone who could cure her daughter.

People said he was a prophet from Galilee, a prophet for the people of Israel.

“Either way,” she must have thought, “this man and his God might be able to help.” This woman from Phoenicia was going to find out.

Continue reading “The divide is in our own hearts—Sep. 9, 2018”

Divine family resemblances—July 29, 2018

John 6:1-21

Sermon delivered at the Ward Memorial Chapel of Pine Grove, Falls Village, CT

When you meet an infant, you meet a new individual—a new face. But its kind of an unfinished face—a person in progress. They continue to grow into the kid, the teenager and the adult face we’ll all eventually get used to.

And as this person is in progress, there are moments, even when a child is an infant, when you can have a real glimpse of what they will look like. And a glimpse of what their personality will be when it comes to full ripeness as an adult.

These glimpses are very emotional and powerful—when you see in this child a quick flash of personality, or you see a little of your father’s chin, or a little of your grandmother’s charm, something like this. There is a glimpse of all the fullness and uniqueness of this little person.

So, when you’re wondering about these miracles from The Gospel of John today keep this idea of glimpsing the personality of an infant in mind.

Continue reading “Divine family resemblances—July 29, 2018”

Welcome/Sent—July 8, 2017

Ezekiel 2:1-5
Mark 6:1-13

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of Our Savior, Haddonfield, NJ

As a pastor-in-training I’ve had the opportunity to preach or teach at a lot of different kinds of Lutheran churches. I’ve served in New York City, in small towns in the northeast, I’ve travelled all across Washington state on my internship, preaching at everything from rural churches, to big churches in Seattle.

And now, I’m at this final leg of my journey on the road to becoming a pastor. And I’m getting to serve and preach for churches in Pennsylvania, and, apparently, New Jersey too. So, thanks for having me.

And of all these churches I’ve been too, what do you think ties most of them together—What’s something they have in common?

Continue reading “Welcome/Sent—July 8, 2017”

Made well—July 1, 2018

Lamentations 3:22-33
Mark 2:23-3:6

Sermon delivered at Tabor Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, PA

For twelve years this woman, “had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse.” And a twelve year old girl is: “at the point of death” and as the story goes on, “she is dead.”

Such intense desperation here. Can you imagine—to be ill and considered unclean in your world,  for twelve years. These situations paint a picture of our human condition, right?

Well, children in our time still succumb to illness. And people are still incurably sick, and worse, in our churches, women and LGBTQ+ folks often are abused or rejected. But in response to this suffering, grief and isolation: Jesus acts. Jesus, as the English translation here tells us, made these two well.

Jesus made them well.

 But, that’s the question: What does it mean to be “well”?

Continue reading “Made well—July 1, 2018”