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 of 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.
Well, good morning! It is unusual to be preaching to human beings in person! A little overwhelming for me, such a familiar thing to be doing, but to be doing after such a long stretch away… I’m sure being here feels familiar yet different. It can be overwhelming to just do something so ordinary after such a long time. I welcome you to experience those feelings, it’s not always just joy, especially after returning after such a traumatic year.
You know, as we’ve been talking about this pandemic, as we’ve been journeying together, I have heard lots of folks say lots of things about this COVID pandemic we are still struggling with. But the most common is either we will get “through” this, or we will get “over” this. Basically the same. But it makes all the difference in the world, especially to us as followers of Jesus
Grace and peace to you from God our source and our brother Jesus Chirst. Amen.
As I’m sure you’ve all already seen on cable news, or on your smartphones, there was a disgraceful slaying of 7 women and 1 man down in the Atlanta-area. A “Christian” man said he wanted to rid himself of sexual temptation, so he shot and killed 6 women of Korean and Chinese descent, who were employed in massage parlors he had visited.
Where to start in this tragic stew of ignorance, hatred and intolerance towards women, Asian women, and the complexities of sexuality in our culture? What do we do in response? Shocked and maybe feeling powerless, what do we do in response as Christians?
[Apologies for the loss of audio in the first minute or so of my reflection! Hang in there.]
What are your favorite foods? Whatever they are, I’m sure they are your favorites because they taste good!
In Genesis God says, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.” And further, Genesis says about God: “God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.”
And Jesus too speaks of taste, of tongues, of the importance of savoriness. “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” Here Jesus invites us deeper, however, than just taste. Now we are the salt, we are the ingredient that makes creation taste good.
Growing up I think I got the impression that good things, that joy, was somehow a contradiction to God. God was a dour judge. And Jesus was too busy to enjoy anything.
From the book of Exodus we’ve got a wilderness story, after the people’s liberation from slavery. Eating, here, becomes a reminder both of the people’s impatience, of their complaining, but also of God’s great mercy and forbearance. Eating is a direct link to God for these people in the wilderness. It is God alone that stands between them and starvation. This story makes it as clear as possible: the bread literally falls down from heaven.
My grandmother, my mother’s mother, liked to be called Mimi. She was a very special woman. Part of her charm was that she was what you would call “old world.” Mimi was born in 1913, and was 40 years old when she gave birth to my mother, and therefore her memories, and my family’s collective memory, reached farther back than many of my friends’.
Part of that “collective memory” was antique furniture, which was all over both her apartment, and my childhood home. Talking with many senior members of St Andrew’s, they’ve told me that antiques have very much gone out of style these days. And I think that is largely true. And pretty soon as a kid I realized that Mimi’s antiques—both authentic and some cheap knock-offs—had become like albatrosses to my mother: precious “heirlooms” she could neither keep nor get rid of.
In my apartment—in my dining room—there is a massive pile of recycling. Paper grocery bags filled with cans and bottles, some flattened boxes, other delivery boxes, not broken down, stacked within each other, everything piled high. The pile is so big the cats often find their way into the empty boxes and make for themselves secret napping spots.
My wife and I have grown almost completely blind to this ridiculous, recurring mess. Once and a while I will see it for what it is, a fantastic lazy failure, and say to myself, “Yep, I better take that out.” Sometimes I do. But most often some other task overwhelms my attention—the baby is crying, the laundry needs changing, I’ve got a meeting for church, something needs to get done.
At this time we are offering “Reflections & Practices” in our digital evening prayer. Above is a casual reflection about the Hebrew word for “bones” and how it points us to the practice of paying attention to our bodies. We have knowledge in our minds about God and praise, that we “should” be believing, but our bodies have a different kind of “deep” knowledge that can help us find wholeness—both in our lives and in our lives of faith.