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 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.

Science and Faith—Epiphany of Our Lord, Jan. 5, 2020

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.

Here we are at the end of the Christmas season. Technically today, Sunday the 5th, is the 12th day of Christmas. So, if you’re counting—that is Twelve Drummers Drumming for today! Epiphany marks the end of Christmas-time, which is usually observed on the 6th of January. But the story of the wise men in Matthew’s Gospel is too good to pass up.

Now, if you were with us on Christmas Eve you heard Pastor Krey’s wonderful sermon about the incarnation. The incarnation, the true meaning of Christmas—the Logos of God, the Word, the Blueprint of God, becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Epiphany is about much the same thing.

As the Christian author and leader Richard Rohr writes about the incarnation:

Incarnation, the synthesis of matter and spirit, should be the primary and compelling message of Christianity. Through the Christ, the seeming gap between God and everything else has been overcome ‘from the beginning.’ Without some form of incarnation, God remains essentially separate from us and from all of creation. Without incarnation, it is not an enchanted universe but somehow an empty one.

Our message as Christians is that the universe is enchanted. Isn’t that beautiful? And Epiphany celebrates that this truth is available for anyone, for all people, like a bright light shining out in all directions. The Old Testament reading from Isaiah, our Psalm, and especially the Wise Men in Matthew speak of this light.

Continue reading “Science and Faith—Epiphany of Our Lord, Jan. 5, 2020”

The Scandalous Genealogy—Advent 4, Dec. 22, 2019

Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25

Sermon was delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church

If you plan to be with us on Christmas Eve this Tuesday, you will hear then the more recognizable story of Jesus’ birth from Luke’s Gospel—you know, with no room at the inn, shepherds and angels, and the manger. But in Matthew, what’ve heard is the nativity. There is no annunciation to Mary. Just a young woman who is unexpectedly pregnant, and not with her fiancé’s baby…

The culture of this era was very brutal. Matthew tells us Joseph had the option to dismiss Mary. And, according to ancient laws, even could have even had her stoned to death, along with her unborn baby. Of course, this didn’t happen, Mary’s mysterious encounter with God is revealed to Joseph in a dream. And even more astonishing, a messenger from God, an angel, tells Joseph that Mary’s baby is to fulfill the yearning of Israel and Judah for a new king, a messiah.

But, I think, the real MVP in this story of Jesus’ birth in Matthew’s Gospel is the genealogy.

Continue reading “The Scandalous Genealogy—Advent 4, Dec. 22, 2019”

#Isaiah—Advent 2, Dec. 8, 2019

Isaiah 11:1-10
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12

Sermon was delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.

We’ve heard the same name in all three of our Scripture readings: Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah.

Of course, from the book of Isaiah we’ve heard a vision of peace, and a hope for the return of a wise and peaceful king. From Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome written about 800 years later, around 50 or 60 AD, Paul invokes the very same section from Isaiah, with a gently different translation. Paul interprets Isaiah’s words as an opening of God’s promises, not just to genetic descendants of Abraham, but to all the peoples of earth, to Gentiles—in other words, to us. And the Gospel of Matthew, written down even after St. Paul’s letters, refers to another image from Isaiah’s prophecies—a voice crying out in the wilderness.

Now, if you’ve ever wondered who Isaiah was, and what he did, and what a prophet’s job even was, let me simplify it like this: the prophets, like Isaiah or Elijah or Jeremiah and many others, where God’s voice of judgment against kings.

Continue reading “#Isaiah—Advent 2, Dec. 8, 2019”

The Tasks at Hand—Wednesday Evening, Advent 1, Dec. 4, 2019

Matthew 24:36-44

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church

There’s no doubt that the gospel reading from Matthew for the first week of Advent is a little spooky. It reminds of kinds of Christianity pretty different from our kind. Traditions that fear they and their loved ones won’t make it in Jesus’ final cut when he comes to, apparently, bring an end to the world.

I want to ask you tonight to try and put these kinds of interpretations gently out of your mind. In this contemplative space tonight let’s think instead about what it means to “keep awake,” to “stay awake,” and “be ready.” Certainly it doesn’t mean staying up all night. God has created a Sabbath day on which we are to rest, so it can’t mean constant sleeplessness! Let’s look to the larger context of the Gospel of Matthew for some clues.

Continue reading “The Tasks at Hand—Wednesday Evening, Advent 1, Dec. 4, 2019”

Why “Jesus is King”—Reign of Christ, Nov. 24, 2019

Jeremiah 23:1-6
Colossians 1:11-20
Luke 23:33-43

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church

Often the holy days and rituals that we celebrate here in church can feel very old. Old is good, old is full of tradition and wisdom! But I’m sure if you’re on the younger side, or young at heart, old can also mean stale and rigid. So, what Pastor Krey pointed out last year on Christ the King Sunday, I want to remind you this year. This festival day, about the Reign of Christ, is young. It is not even 100 years old. The Pope in 1925 introduced this commemoration.

Continue reading “Why “Jesus is King”—Reign of Christ, Nov. 24, 2019″

A More Full Encounter with God—Stewardship Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019

Job 19:23-27a
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5; 13-17
Luke 20:27-38

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church

Grace to you and peace from God our Source and the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.

We are entering again the time in the Church’s yearly cycle when we talk about endings and beginnings. All our Bible readings today help us to start to turn that corner.

Job is looking forward to a more full encounter with God, and an end to his present suffering. Job is the famous sufferer in the Bible—though innocent, he endures the loss of his family, his health and his wealth. Before this outburst from Job, his three friends stand around and are blaming him, and trying to make sense of the tragedy that has happened. But Job says, “I know, one way or another, in the end, I will see God face to face and we will work this out.”

Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians brings our attention to endings too, but adds an important twist. This early Christian community, like Job, hoped the end to their suffering would come soon as well. They, too, looked forward to a more full encounter with God in Jesus.

Continue reading “A More Full Encounter with God—Stewardship Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019”

God’s Tapestry—All Saints, Nov. 3 & 6, 2019

Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
Ephesians 1:11-23
Luke 6:20-31

Sermon delivered at The Lutheran Community at Telford, Telford, PA & St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church

Before we get to Jesus’ beautiful words from the Gospel of Luke this morning, on this Sunday called All Saints Sunday, let’s think about that word, “saint.” If you’re from the Roman Catholic or Orthodox tradition, you might think of Christian superheroes when you think of saints—former popes or people from antiquity whose piety is unreachable. Christian believers who were said to have almost magical powers, like St. Francis of Assisi, or more recently Mother Teresa of Calcutta, these kinds of characters.

While, in the Lutheran tradition,  we certainly honor these believers from the past—but the word “saint” is a little more earthy, a little more regular, for us. We are all saints!

Continue reading “God’s Tapestry—All Saints, Nov. 3 & 6, 2019”

You Belong—Confirmation & Reformation Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019

Jeremiah 31:31-34
Romans 3:19-28
John 8:31-36

Sermon delivered at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. This week I preached my sermon directly to St. Andrew’s six confirmands.

On October 8th you guys sat down with the council of our church. And with these elected leaders of St. Andrew’s we all shared a memory from our time in confirmation. Mrs. Battle shared about how she remembered so fondly her pastor, how kind he was when she was young, and how sad she was when she recently found out that he had passed away. And interestingly, both Mr. Belloff and Mr. Hamman as well as several others shared how they made some special friends in confirmation.

The idea of special church friends really seemed to resonate with you six. And when we asked you what you had to say—what you thought would make church better for you and for others—you basically said two things that night. One: You said to just leave you alone, and let you be friends. Two: Shawn, specifically, said to make the sermons shorter. Well, this is my shortest ever sermon. And we all hope that you will stay friends for a long time, too!

So, thank you CJ and Shawn for reading our Old Testament and New Testament readings this morning. I’m gonna assume that it wasn’t very clear for you what they are about. Basically, these readings were selected to highlight our history and identity as “Lutherans.” Lutherans of course took their name from a monk in the 1500s named Martin Luther. He was a Roman Catholic priest and monk that feverishly pointed out that God forgives us, God loves us, and there’s nothing we can do to earn it or to ruin it.

Continue reading “You Belong—Confirmation & Reformation Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019”

Real, Tangible, Simple—Oct. 6, 2019

Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
2 Timothy 1:1-14
Luke 17:5-10

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

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Source and our Brother, Christ Jesus. Amen.

This past week I was at a leadership training for pastors, at a place called Crossroads Camp in Port Murray, New Jersey, about 40 miles northeast of here. And at one point, the facilitators put up three sheets of paper around the room. Given markers I and about 12 other pastors were silently asked to write some things down. On one sheet we wrote down where we experienced unfairness and oppression in our lives or ministries. On another, where we experienced privilege, and last, what would a better world look like.

Continue reading “Real, Tangible, Simple—Oct. 6, 2019”

This World Is Enough for Jesus—Sep. 29, 2019

Amos 6:1a, 4-7
Psalm 146
1 Timothy 6:6-19
Luke 16:19-31

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

Today is one of those Sundays when all our readings, together, give us one big and blended image of God. And, despite the images of fire and the word “Hades” in the Gospel, despite how nervous talking about money makes us, I think this image of God is one of love, and fairness, and justice—and then… more love.

To begin with, it’s important to remember that today is Sunday. Sunday is a mini-Easter. Every Sunday the reason we drag ourselves out of bed, is because Jesus dragged himself out of the tomb. Today, regardless of how condemning and uncomfortable our Bible readings are, we declare by standing up and singing: that death no longer is in control.

As the Church we confess that Christ has swallowed up all sin and death, Christ has gone before our selfishness. He’s gone before our bad habits, to the horror of the cross. It’s done.

So the scenario from Luke’s Gospel is not a prediction, or a sketch of a real post-death scenario of an actual selfish person. It is a parable, for us, to teach us what reality and God are actually like.

Continue reading “This World Is Enough for Jesus—Sep. 29, 2019”