Introduction to Sermons

Read more about me on the About page.

As an act of humility and transparency as I grow in this new craft, I want to make public all these sermons I have proclaimed. They are snapshots my development from artist to spiritual leader and minister of word and sacrament. And portraits, too, of my relationship with God along this road that is both rewarding and confusing.

At the top of each sermon text there is a note about where it was given, and there are also links to the selections from scripture, and sometimes other texts, I am working with.

In a post-pandemic world, there are now videos and full live-streams of our services from my congregation St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA.

Confessing Our Sin in the Spirit—Easter 6, May 17, 2020

Sixth Sunday of Easter – May 17, 2020

Link to Bulletin: https://www.standrewsperkasie.org/May172020-3.pdfPresiding – Pastor KreyPreaching – Pastor SullivanAssistant Minister – Rhonda GeyerLector – Karen HearnHymn of Day – Chief of Sinners (performed by Sarah Moyer, Amy Belloff and Tim Belloff)

Posted by St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA on Sunday, May 17, 2020
Sermon delivered via Google Hangouts and Facebook Live from my home in Philadelphia. It comes at around 32:00 in the video.

Acts 17:22-31
1 Peter 3:13-22
John 14:15-21

We’ve done something this morning as a community, that we haven’t done in a while! Not since Holy Thursday, actually, on April 5th. We have confessed our sin. Now, normally, the Sundays after Easter are a very happy and joyful time. We celebrate Christ’s victory over death, and the completion of God’s plan to restore us to our true identity as God’s children. So, lately, in celebration,  we have been thanking God for our baptism, the sign of this true identity, as Pastor Krey and myself have been splashing around in the baptismal font.

But, this morning we confessed instead—something equally as beautiful as baptism, I think.

Continue reading “Confessing Our Sin in the Spirit—Easter 6, May 17, 2020”

Are You Full?—Wed. Evening Prayer, May 13, 2020

Wednesday Evening Prayer and Reflection – May 13, 2020

Link to Bulletin: https://www.standrewsperkasie.org/Wed%20Streaming%205-13-2020.pdfPresiding – Joshua Sullivan

Posted by St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA on Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Sermon delivered via Zoom and Facebook Live from my home in Philadelphia. It comes at around 12:20 in the video.

Proverbs 3:13-18
Psalm 102:1-17
John 8:31-38

This was a casual reflection given without notes, see the video above.

We Had Hoped…—Easter 3, Apr. 26, 2020

Third Sunday of Easter [Edited]- April 26, 2020

Enjoy this edited version of our worship service from the Third Sunday of Easter on April 26, 2020.Link to Bulletin: https://www.standrewsperkasie.org/Sunday,%20April%2026%202020%20final-3.pdfPresiding Minister: Pastor Philip Krey Preaching: Pastor Joshua Sullivan Assistant Minister: Lori DerkLector: Sandy Hensel

Posted by St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA on Sunday, April 26, 2020
Sermon delivered via Zoom and Facebook Live from my home in Philadelphia. It comes at around 26:00 in the video.

Luke 24: 13-35

The two of them were going home.

Two of Jesus’ friends and disciples, after all that had taken place,  were putting some “social distance” between themselves and where their hope was broken.

Continue reading “We Had Hoped…—Easter 3, Apr. 26, 2020”

Jonah and the Deeps—Wed. Evening Prayer, Apr. 22, 2020

Wednesday Evening Prayer and Reflection – April 22, 2020

Presiding: Pastor Joshua Sullivan Link to Bulletin: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LFCKZBqj8Cnt47ABgFKmNTxVpggJLmexRg3SamT_IQ0/edit

Posted by St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA on Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Sermon delivered via Zoom and Facebook Live from my home in Philadelphia. It comes at about 10:00 in the video.

Jonah 2:1-10
Matthew 12:38-42

[This casual reflection was given without notes. The following is a transcript.]

So as Tim advances your slides (thank you so much Tim B. for your help this evening) you will see a little snippet from a painting. This is a painting by a painter in the 19th century named Albert Pinkham Ryder, one of my favorites. He makes these very small paintings and they’re very unusual techniques, they’re like layered, sometimes he painted on leather. So, here you can see a giant fish in the corner, it’s kind of comical actually—spooky and funny at the same time—and then at the bottom there’s Jonah. He’s like, “Noo!!”

This evening I want to talk about Jonah and the deeps…

Continue reading “Jonah and the Deeps—Wed. Evening Prayer, Apr. 22, 2020”

Mary Magdalene is Given Vision—Resurrection of the Lord, Apr. 12, 2020

Easter Sunday – April 12, 2020

Link to Bulletin: https://www.standrewsperkasie.org/Easter%20Sunday%202020.docxfinal-1.pdfPastor Philip KreyPastor Joshua Sullivan Assistant Minister: Rhonda GeyerOrganist: Brian BullardWorship Facilitator: Jon Kimnach Anthem: I have not seen, yet I believe – Performed by Rhonda Geyer, Lori Derk and Kristin StrousePostlude: Easter Medley – Performed by Tali Duckworth (Pastor Krey's Granddaughter)Hallelujah Chorus

Posted by St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA on Sunday, April 12, 2020
Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church via Facebook Live, it comes at about 28:30 in the video.

John 20:1-18

This Easter Gospel from John is about a lot of things. It’s about overturned expectations. It’s about fear and unknowing and joy all mixed up. It’s about a personal encounter with the risen Jesus. But most of all, it’s about a woman named Mary Magdalene.

We watch poor Mary, from the fishing village of Magdala, go through so many gut-wrenching emotions. Gut-wrenching emotions we have become all too familiar with ourselves in this past month of social distance and pandemic: disbelief, fear, anger, and tearful grief.

I want you to know how unusual, how scandalous it is, that in John, and in the other Gospels too, the resurrection story is told through the eyes of women. In all the Gospels the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus are the first appearance of Mary of Magdala.

Continue reading “Mary Magdalene is Given Vision—Resurrection of the Lord, Apr. 12, 2020”

Our Wounded God—Good Friday, Apr. 10, 2020

Good Friday Service – April 10, 2020

Link to Bulletin: https://www.standrewsperkasie.org/bulletinGoodFriday.pdfNarrator – Brian BullardJudas – Pastor Sullivan Jesus – Sydney GeyerPeter – Lance Beck High Priest – Mike Seagreaves Pilate – Pastor Krey Servant Girl – Jane Walker

Posted by St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA on Friday, April 10, 2020
Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church via Facebook Live, it comes at about 37:15 in the video.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 22
Matthew 26:14-27:54

As a church, as a nation, as a world we are so wounded right now. All our assumptions about “normal” are shattered, jobs have been lost, graduations and birthdays have been ruined. For many, now is a time of mourning, and yet mourning from a distance.

We are struggling. We are experiencing so much sickness, and death. We cry out to God. But tonight, as we heard in Matthew’s passion story, tonight, we remember that we cry out to God together with Christ, who suffers too.

Continue reading “Our Wounded God—Good Friday, Apr. 10, 2020”

The Path of Descent: Images of the Crucifixion in Art History—Mar. 25, 2020

Wednesday Evening Prayer Service – March 25, 2020

Link to Bulletin: https://www.standrewsperkasie.org/Wed%20Lent%20Streaming%203-25-2020.pdf

Posted by St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA on Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Reflection was given at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church via Facebook Live.

Philippians 2:1-11

[Transcript of my reflection]

Well, good evening again, my name is Pastor Joshua Sullivan.

I have been looking at so many videos [these days] of myself preaching and leading worship services that I feel like I am having an out-of-body experience! One thing Pastor Krey and I both notice is that we really do use notes an awful lot to preach. So tonight is an experiment, I don’t have any notes. I do have a slideshow that hopefully will be piped through to you on the live-stream, and we will see where we go. 

Continue reading “The Path of Descent: Images of the Crucifixion in Art History—Mar. 25, 2020”

God Shows Us Who We Are—March 22, 2020

God Shows Us Who We Are — Sermon, March 22, 2020

Hey everybody!Please check out this (uninterrupted) recording of my sermon 😅. Thanks for your patience in this strange time, as everything we do is an experiment! Thanks especially to Tim Belloff for his help recording. Follow this link to view the text on my website: https://joshuasullivan.org/wp/2020/03/22/god-shows-us-who-we-are-march-22-2020/

Posted by St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA on Sunday, March 22, 2020
Sermon was given at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church via Facebook Live.

John 9:1-41

If today’s Gospel lesson from John is about anything, it is about understanding who we really are—a message from Jesus about identity. In this time of crisis, this time of changes, knowing who we truly are, is as important as ever. When all is said and done, when we get to the very bottom of this suffering, are we to be defined by a virus, by devastation? Are we to be known as victims, whether of illness or economic downturn?

Continue reading “God Shows Us Who We Are—March 22, 2020”

Baptism is a Daily Process—Mar. 8, 2020

John 3:1-17

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church

You’ll agree that this morning’s Gospel from John is well known. You know, John 3:16 has been displayed on countless posters at countless sports games, written by fingers into the road grime of a million tractor-trailers. It is such a well-trod passage, that I’m not sure we can really hear it anymore for what it is.

You have to remind yourself that here in the context where Jesus says, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,” there were no Baptists, no evangelical Christians—and no Lutherans either. And, as many of you probably know, when Jesus says, “You must be born from above,” he is making a play on words, because that word “above” is the exact same word in Greek as “again” or “anew.” But like I said, this all comes before anyone ever identified as being, “a born-again Christian.” No one was Christian at all. Instead, you had Jesus, a Judean and practitioner of the religion of Israel, and the Pharisees, who were pious experts of this faith and practice.

Beneath it all, this exchange between Nicodemus and Jesus is a story of seeking, and a story about how difficult it is to believe—to trust—God. And Jesus doesn’t make it easy for Nicodemus, however. Nicodemus is a religious person, John tells us. If you had to compare us, Nicodemus was much more religious than me,  or maybe even more religious than any of us here! I never believe it when commentators say Nicodemus is a dummy or acting in bad faith.

Continue reading “Baptism is a Daily Process—Mar. 8, 2020”

Aligning Inside and Outside—Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church.

As a young and principled teenager, nothing resonated with me more than the word, “hypocrites.” Sunday after Sunday, myself, you know, in my khakis—that I hated, but was forced to wear to church—age 15, I thought in disgust of my parents and all the church-goers, “What hypocrites.” Here they are in church, proclaiming God’s forgiveness of lepers and prostitutes in the Bible, and then they seem to go home and immediately judge everyone!

I saw with the kind of simplicity that often only the young have, but maybe I was just an especially cranky teenager. But either way, here, in Matthew, Jesus hurls that word “hypocrite” three times, as he teaches his disciples how to pray, how to give, and how to fast.

Continue reading “Aligning Inside and Outside—Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020”