Sermons & Worship (Page 33)

Who Is the Good Samaritan?

 Luke 10:25-37 Jesus told a lot of parables but perhaps more than any other, the parable of the Good Samaritan lies at the core of how we think about ourselves as Christians.  We are the ones who are supposed to stop when there is someone who needs some help.  Being a Christian, especially for us who are members of this church, means more than just saying, “I believe in Jesus in my heart;” it also means showing that faith with…

If You Wish to Follow

Luke 9:21-27 The disciples had just entered the big time.  For months they had been following Jesus around Galilee, listening to his stories, and watching him work, and finally Jesus decides that they are ready to try it on their own.  He sends the twelve disciples into the country on their first assignment and they go through the villages preaching the good news and healing diseases.  When they return, Luke says, “They tell Jesus everything they have done.” We can just imagine…

Noticing, Naming, and Neutralizing

II Corinthians 5:16-21Luke 18:9-14 Do you suppose the Pharisee standing in the Temple praying noticed that he was so swelled with pride that he was in danger of bursting?  He certainly noticed the abject state of the man with whom he shared that Temple sanctuary but I’m guessing that he was blind to his own arrogance. Of course, the Pharisee is just a character in a story so we really can’t attribute thoughts to him at all.  To ask what…

Little Less Than the Angels

Psalm 8 About 2000 years ago, in what is today western Illinois, a group of Native Americans buried a young bobcat wearing a necklace of bear teeth and shells.  Archaeologists speculate that the villagers may have begun taming the bobcat, one of the earliest instances of animal domestication in North America.  The tender burial, they say, illustrates the affection an ancient person developed for their pet.[1] Our love for animals goes back a long ways.  Human beings have always seen…

Help My Unbelief

Mark 9:14-29 Imagine that you are driving along a country road about sunset: the leaves of the poplars which edge the road burn with sun while the pine forest behind them settles into the shadowy sleep of dusk, and ahead of you cutting its way through the glow, a car meanders along the road.  One minute it wanders into the left lane, and then awakening to its error, it rebounds to the right, wheel catching on the gravelly shoulder.  Naturally,…

One At a Time

Isaiah 55:1-5 You may not know his name, but you probably know his face, or at least the picture of his small body being cradled in the arms of a Coast Guard on a beach in Turkey.  His name was Aylan Kurdi, and he was three years old when he drowned, three years old when the boat that was carrying him, his five-year-old brother, and his mother, capsized as they tried to flee Syria and join family members who had…

Christ the Wisdom of God

I Corinthians 1:18-31 The last four weeks, I have been preaching on the Wisdom literature in the Bible asking, “What does it mean to be wise?”  A teacher once asked her students to write down “words of wisdom” that they would pass on to other kids, and these are some of the things they came up with: When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?”, don’t answer him. If you want a kitten, start out by…

Seven Buses

Song of Solomon 2:10-13, 8:6-7 It is the season for weddings. In the past two weeks, I have performed two weddings and met with another couple whose wedding will take place in just over a month. All of these couples are, of course, very much in love and looking forward to a lifetime of happiness together. And often, I begin my wedding ceremonies in the same way: I say, “Look closely at one another and gaze into each other’s eyes…

Nothing But Smoke

Excerpts from EcclesiastesReverend Laurie DeMott Fabio Bonizzoni is a conductor featured recently on a website called “All of Bach.” He conducted a Bach cantata called, “Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke” which translates to “I am content with my luck.” In an interview afterward, Bonizzoni explains what Bach means by that title. “[Other composers of the period, such as Handel,” he says, “try to distract us, in sublime fashion, from the ills of life.] Bach, on the other hand, succeeds…

Divine Disorder

Proverbs 8:22-36 Introduction to Scripture:The reading today from Proverbs comes from a biblical tradition that scholars refer to as the Wisdom tradition and before I read that scripture, let me talk a little about what that means. Sometimes on chalice communion Sundays, I use the Prayers of the People from the Book of Common Prayer, and the last prayer in that liturgy says, “That we may end our lives in faith and hope, without suffering and without reproach, let us…