Oct. 22, 2017 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Oct 22, 2017 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

The 20th Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 24A) October 22, 2017 “Whose image is on this coin, and whose title?” Jesus asked. Whose image is on our coin—do we even carry cash these days? The coin in today’s gospel had the likeness of Tiberius Caesar on it, the emperor to whom they paid taxes, and were required to pay with his coin. one commentator called those coins, “handheld billboards of imperial propaganda”! It was the coin of the realm and signified Roman dominance. With no vote or voice in the matter, they paid the head tax (one coin ‘per head’ for those between 12 and 65) or they were...

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Oct. 15, 2017 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Oct 15, 2017 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Our readings work well together today, with themes of invitation and rejection, the power of God’s generosity, our own powerful choices in life, and our living in God’s peace. The parable of the Wedding Banquet is essentially an outline of Christian salvation history. Jesus metaphorically explains the Roman defeat of Jerusalem, and more directly the inclusion of all people in God’s invitation; good and evil, near and far, those marginalized and those not. He uses the parable to warn that although showing up is a good start, accepting this invitation is not the end point, and we must make a conscious and appropriate response to enter God’s kingdom. We heard Paul’s warmth for the Church in Philippi, and a call to unity, gentleness, freedom from worldly worry, and asks them to think most of acting on the message of what is true, honorable, pure, commendable and worthy of praise, in doing so “the God of peace will be with you.”

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Saint Michael and All Angels – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Oct 1, 2017 in Feast Days, Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Jacob is in exile at Bethel, feeling alone and abandoned by God, and goes to sleep using a stone for his pillow. In his dream God appears reiterating his words to Abraham and Isaac, that all humankind would be blessed through them, and now repeats the promise to Jacob. God promises to be with him always and to return him to this land. That divine appearance to the three patriarchs highlights the tremendous importance of these promises to God’s people. Jacob is sure of it because he’s seen the signs of divine angels ascending and descending upon the ladder which reaches from him to the heavenly realm, and now at the foot of this ladder, God appears reiterating that promise. Jacob awakens saying, “Surely the Lord is in this place…This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” It is this vision of Jacob’s wherein the sacred Temple at Bethel is named and founded. Keep this scene in your mind now, because it is this which Jesus alludes to in our gospel.

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Sep. 24, 2017 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Sep 24, 2017 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Recycling old sermons doesn’t work for me mainly because they come from readings and from the life of the congregation. We are in a different place than three years ago when we last heard this gospel reading. As I looked back at my notes (to be sure I’m not re-preaching the same sermon!) I realized my thinking on this parable has changed, and what we hear Jesus saying becomes new for us as we ourselves grow. You might hear it differently and that’s just fine. My own past understanding of it isn’t necessarily wrong, but as we grow so does our faith and spiritual maturity, if we are open and listening.

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Sep. 17, 2017 – Burial of Donald Eugene Wilbert – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Sep 17, 2017 in Burial Rite, Sermons

Burial Rite for Donald Eugene Wilbert September 17, 2017 Scripture selected by Don’s family: Wisdom 3:1-5, 9 Psalm 139:1-11 1 John 3:1-2 John 14:1-6a View the bulletin for Don’s service. Sometimes when we come to bury a member, we have to make a few guesses and extrapolations about their faith from the fact that they were Episcopalians or that they worshipped here. Not so with Don; one of his greatest gifts was talking about spiritual things and sharing his faith life and growth with others, listening to their stories too. Our reading from the Wisdom of Solomon says, “hope is full of...

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Sep. 17, 2017 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Sep 17, 2017 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Jesus’ teaches the disciples about the forgiveness they are to offer, and then tells a parable about the lack thereof! The response he gives to Peter’s question is to indicate not so much how difficult the incidence requiring forgiveness is, but rather that they expect to offer it time and again, even endlessly. I can just see Peter and the others sort of rolling their eyes and muttering, “yeah, easier said than done…” In the reading from Genesis, Joseph’s brothers fear his wrath and retribution for what they once did to him, and instead Joseph forgives them. If it’s been a while since you heard Joseph’s story, lets recap; Joseph had ten half-brothers who resented his being the father’s favorite and because of the dreams he had which foretold his position of advantage over his brothers. When Joseph is just seventeen, they plot to kill him. Instead they take advantage of an unexpected opportunity to sell him as a slave to Egyptian merchants who came along, telling their father that he’s been killed, offering as evidence the bloodied “coat of many colors” which the father had given Joseph. Joseph becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man through a series of strange events, and when famine hits, his brothers come begging for help, not knowing they are asking it of their brother Joseph. Much wrangling and duplicity occurs back and forth over several the next chapters, ending in Joseph forgiving them and their tearful reunion. In the end Joseph points to a bigger picture than their cruelty to him, he speaks of God’s presence working through him in the intervening years and how that truth now will save them.

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