Introduction to the sermons

Read more about me on the Bio page.

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 spiritual development from artist, to seminarian at Yale Divinity School,  to intern and Vicar in the ELCA, and now in my new call as an associate pastor.

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.

The most frustrating thing about a sermon I’ve found—since I started learning to write and deliver them in 2014—is that you only get one chance. After the fact, you can watch the video of it again; listen to the audio one more time; or go over the text endlessly; you can make notes how to improve—but you can never make a true change.

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.

Having been trained as a painter—a medium where you can endlessly work and re-work until completion—this is so frustrating! Though I want these short little sermons to be quite excellent (even perfect), that’s impossible. And they are definitely not perfect, but here they are.

+Joshua

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”

Speaking of “Tradition”—Jun. 3, 2018

Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Mark 2:23-3:6

Sermon delivered at Bethany Lutheran Church, Palmyra, NJ

It’s not just for Tradition that we’ve all gathered here, no. And it’s not only for show that together we publicly read from this book we call the Bible.

As a church, and as one great big Church, each Sunday, we don’t come together and read from Scripture for nothing. We do it because we believe God continues to speak relevantly to us here. God speaks an important and understandable message to us.

Continue reading “Speaking of “Tradition”—Jun. 3, 2018″

This love will continue grow…—Apr. 29, 2018

Sermon delivered at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, PA

1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

To fall in love for the very first time, to love your spouse for 30 years, to love your mom, to love your dog, to love “Oreos,” God’s love, to love your best friend, and the love of our neighbors… Isn’t it weird that it’s all the same word: love?

Continue reading “This love will continue grow…—Apr. 29, 2018”

Little shepherds and God’s own authority—Apr. 22, 2018

Sermon delivered at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, PA

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

The image of the Shepherd is so central to how Christians think about leadership that we Lutherans call our leaders “pastors.” And that word’s from the Latin word for Shepherd, the same as our English word “pasture,” where sheep are led to eat and be safe.

And yet, despite this, few of us are actually shepherds anymore. Maybe it would be better if Jesus said something a little closer to our modern imaginations… What if Jesus said, “I am the good preschool-teacher,” Continue reading “Little shepherds and God’s own authority—Apr. 22, 2018”