Our Metamorphosis Day—Transfiguration of Our Lord, Mar. 3, 2019

Exodus 34:29-35
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Luke 9:28-36

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

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

I like to imagine that these events, according to Luke, took place at night. Walking up this hill—this mountain—at dusk, Jesus stopped and sits on the ground. He begins to pray, silently. The night insects are chirping. Did you hear how Peter, James and John are weighed down with sleep as they pray too? And then Jesus lights up that dusty mountain top… somehow.

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The Beatitudes and the Tree of Life—Feb. 17, 2019

Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Luke 6:17-26

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

Here we are again, at these often heard but challenging words of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. 

People always say, you know, that those violent passages in the Bible are tough, or that the strange genealogies and obscure histories from the Old Testament are hard to understand… But I don’t know if anything is tougher, or any piece of scripture more offensive to us than this one. Nothing will make these words of Jesus easy.

There, on a stretch of level ground, with a great crowd of both foreigners and locals, all kinds of needy human beings all around him, Jesus says: blessed are the poor, the hungry, the weeping, and the hated. Wow.

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Treating the Young with Dignity—Dialogue Sermon, Feb. 3, 2019

Jeremiah 1:4-10
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

Sermon delivered as a dialogue with Pastor Philip D. Krey at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Perkasie, PA

Pastor Krey:
Pastor Sullivan, when I was in Middle School I used to listen as I grew up in a multi-generational family to two of my older brothers-in law (I think they were in their fifties and seemed quite old) complain about how the world had changed. They were both part of the great generation having fought or served in WWII–one as fighter pilot and the other as a GI on the pacific front in the army. Something about their disappointment in the way things were made me sad because this was my world. They just could not understand why my older brother was growing his hair long and was trying a beard, and had real questions about the nation’s foreign policies. From a boy already, my brother Peter, thought of himself as a prophet always questioning authority and what he felt was wrong. My brothers-in-law lamented about how things had changed for the worse and it all seemed so foreign to them.  Like Jesus in our Gospel text, my brother Peter was not afraid of anything that was foreign—after college he traveled around the world and spent time with Mother Teresa in Calcutta–Every time my brothers-in law came to the house we heard the same lament about cultural decline.

Pastor Sullivan, do you think anything has changed in terms of older people lamenting about youth?

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A Strange Epiphany—Jan. 6, 2019

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

As some may know about me, I am a bit new to church-life and its intricacies and festivals. You will watch me make many errors in the months and years to come. It’s true that, sure enough, I was baptized and confirmed in the church… But I left. For a lot of reasons I left.

I left and I didn’t come back until God had placed a call on me.

It was all a bit foreign to me, as I bumbled back through the doors of my old church in Connecticut. I tumbled into the process of becoming a pastor. And I jumped through a hundred hoops, and learned ten-thousand things, and was called and ordained right here.

But even in all that, I guess it never really landed what is this thing called Epiphany, until I sat down to work out this proclamation for you all today. Isn’t that just how church is? It can get so cozy, so familiar that we forget the reasons we do things.

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The People Who Walked In Darkness Have Seen a Great Light—Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2018

Luke 2:1-20

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

For those gathered here tonight that I haven’t met me yet, “Hello!,” my name is Joshua Sullivan and I have been called as your new associate pastor. I’ve been with you since November 1st, just shy of two months.

And I was ordained, too, in this very room 17 days ago. Not a very long time. I am very fresh out of the box, you could say.

New to PA and the Bucks County area too. So, I’m figuring out how to both love AND hate the Eagles at the same time. Figuring out what hoagies are, and what “water-ice” is, and discovering the mystique of Wawa as well..

It’s been a lot of new and charming stuff for me to experience. So no, not a very long time I’ve been with you.

But in the space of two months, already, I have seen just how much pain lurks in these suburbs, in this town.

Continue reading “The People Who Walked In Darkness Have Seen a Great Light—Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2018”

Our God is New—Dec. 2, 2018

Jeremiah 33:14-16
Thessalonians 3:9-13
Luke 21:25-36

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

Now, before we get started, it’s very important that we can answer this question: Why is the beginning of Advent a time when we hear Scripture about the end of the world?

In a season that we have all grown up believing is about waiting for a baby to be born—why, this morning, and the past few Sundays too, have there been Scriptural images of “heaven and earth passing away”?

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Transformation/Stewardship—Nov. 18, 2018

Daniel 12:1-3
Mark 13:1-8

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

From Jesus and from the book of Daniel we have grim images. War and violence. Nation against nation. Earthquakes and famines and natural disaster. A time of anguish.

I know we, at this time, can relate to these things. We can understand the sense of dread, of worry and unrest. Just in the past month, almost 60 dead in wildfires. So many others killed meaninglessly by alienated gunmen. And a nation divided like never before.

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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.

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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”