I’m happy to present these written (and sometimes video recorded) sermons! I believe that God speaks to us not only through the bible, but also through preaching, teaching and song. As a preacher I pray I could become a door only for the Holy Spirit in these brief messages about the transforming power of Christ’s love, presence and forgiveness. If nothing else, they are portraits of my own relationship with God along the confusing yet rewarding road of pastoral ministry.
At the top of each sermon there is a note about where it was given, and there are also links to the selections from scripture, and sometimes other texts too, I am preaching about that day.
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. Facebook doesn’t allow embedded videos on WordPress anymore so watch the YouTube if there is one, or follow the bolded link to see the videos.
This morning we celebrate Music Sunday! We celebrate Brian Bullard our director of music, and his two decades of service to you all here at St. Andrew’s.
And our lessons this morning, hopefully, can show us just what a powerful thing music is, especially for us as people of faith. Music is our voice. Music is how we, together, as one people: praise God, pray to God, thank God, cry out to God.
Above is a casual reflection about the God’s breath—God’s Spirit—in our world, how it gives us life, and it also gives life to the Church. As the Church we attribute our very lives, and all faith, hope, and love and many other wonderful things, not to ourselves and our own doing, but to the generousness—the grace—of God.
As B., who is to receive his First Communion this morning, and his mother and I were learning about the Eucharist meal together, I so worried that the stories of Jesus we were reading about all the meals he shared with the his followers, with sinners, with Mr. Zaccheus, with his disciples on the night he was to die, were so far away. I worried they felt hopelessly distant for B.
As the space of time between the present and the days of Jesus get longer and longer… It is so easy to experience the Church as “old.” For many, instead of the new and renewing source of vitality it is there comes the real feeling that the Church is an old thing, desperately preserving delicate and boring and antiquated traditions. There is a sense that we are out-of-sync—obsolete.
These past several Sundays we’ve been hanging out in a very puzzling part of the Gospel of John. Lots of metaphors Jesus is dealing out in a long speech—Shepherds and Vines; language of love and loving; God is in Jesus, Jesus is in us. It’s a lot that Jesus is explaining to his disciples as they sit down to the Last Supper, on the night he is to be handed over and crucified. Jesus is explaining to them who Christ is, who God is, and who they the disciples, and we the Church, are, what our commandments are. It’s a lot!
So as we celebrate Mother’s Day today let’s just focus on one word. It’s in both our lesson from Acts and our Gospel lesson. It is “Abide.” In Acts the same word is translated as “stay,” as in—the newly baptized Gentiles invited Peter to stay. To remain, to make a home, to dwell, and also to be still—all the same Greek word, “abide.”
For our Wednesday Evening Prayer during the season of Easter (between Easter Sunday and Pentecost) we are offering reflections on the topic of Resurrection. Above is a casual reflection about the image of God and Christ as our Good Shepherd and how it is easy to forget and distrust that God guides us and goes ahead of us through all difficulty, even death.
This Sunday our worship service at St. Andrew’s was created in a collaboration between all the churches in the neighboring region (the Upper Bucks Conference, of our Southeastern PA Synod of the ELCA). My very short reflection was plunked in the middle as an added bonus for folks from our congregation.
Pastor Krey and I again want to thank all the churches and leaders who had a hand in creating this wonderful offering, this beautiful service we have been worshipping along with. I especially want to thank Pastor Erica Wesch, the Dean of our Upper Bucks Conference of congregations, as well as Pastor Heidi Rodrick-Schnaath who lovingly stitched this video together.
I just wanted to give you all, here at St. Andrew’s, a tiny personalized message this morning. Pastor Erica, and her conversation partner Royal, did a lovely job of bringing to life the images in our Scripture readings: God in Christ is indeed our shepherd, who loves and cares for us, who gives so completely of himself for us, his flock.
But there was a line in our Psalm this morning that caught my attention, “He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.” Or for you traditionalists, who prefer Psalm 23 in the Elizabethan language of the King James Version, “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
This verse is a wonderful summary of the love of God, shown to us in Christ. God leads us, like a shepherd leads a flock, out into good pasture. But why, ultimately, does God lead us?
For our Wednesday Evening Prayer during the season of Easter (between Easter Sunday and Pentecost) we are offering reflections on the topic of Resurrection. Above is a casual reflection about some of the biblical and ancient Judean roots of the belief in the resurrection of the dead, as well as one way we might understand our belief in it as Christians.
If the Gospel of John is anything, it is a book of encounters with Jesus. Human beings of different genders, different social classes and ethnicities, people of all kinds, bumping against Jesus. And when they bump against him they don’t know who he is at first.
So, if the Gospel of John has a flavor, a style—then, it is irony. Irony, of course, is the situation, in movies or in life, when the full significance of someone’s words or actions are clear to the audience or others, but unknown to them. That’s kind of abstract, so some examples:
What makes the famous Who’s-on-First bit by Abbott and Costello so funny? We begin to realize that the baseball players’ names are ironically the same as the words “who” and “what,” but the character does not.
What makes the death scene in Romeo and Juliet so sad? We know that Juliet drank only a sleeping potion in the tomb at the end, but Romeo thought it was poison, thought she was dead and killed himself. That is irony.