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Love’s Only Hope In This World – A Sermon On Matthew 22:34-46

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” These, Jesus says, are the two commandments on which everything else hangs. They are two sides of the same thing. You can’t truly have one without the other. This is about more than our feelings or affection for God and one another. It’s about our commitment to the life and well-being of the other. It’s a choice we make every day - to love or not to love. I wonder what that love looks like. I wonder what your life and my life would be like if we held those two commandments as the guiding principles for what we do. I wonder what we might create and achieve if we embodied and lived those commandments.

There’s Got To Be More Than This – A Sermon On Matthew 22:1-14

If what we hear in today’s gospel (Matthew 22:1-14) is really what the kingdom of heaven is like, then I’m not interested. Who needs God’s kingdom - at least as Jesus describes it today - when we already have more than enough leaders throughout the world who are abusing their power, when violence is perpetrated on a daily basis, when people’s lives are being destroyed, when cities are burning, when some are excluded and told they don’t belong? We don’t need God’s help to bring that about, we’re pretty good at it by ourselves.

Between What Is And What Could Be – A Sermon On Isaiah 5:1-7

Isaiah describes how God dug a vineyard, cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines. Then God built a watchtower in the midst of the vineyard and hewed out a wine vat in it. And now God want to know, “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?” God “expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.” (Isaiah 5:1-7) How can that be? That God wouldn’t or couldn’t get what God expects or wants doesn’t fit with many of the images and concepts we have of who God is and how God is.

A Prayer And A Pledge For The 2020 Presidential Election

The following liturgy and pledge were prepared after a conversation the vestry (the parish’s governing body) had about how we want to be toward one another in the time leading up to the 2020 presidential election and afterwards. The liturgy incorporates a theme expressed in my sermon, We Are Nineveh. The vestry and clergy of St. Philip’s are taking the pledge and inviting others to …

We Are Nineveh – A Sermon On Jonah 3:10-4:11

Jonah has finally arrived at Nineveh. It’s a city so large it will take him three days to walk across it. Going a day’s walk into the city he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” What do you hear in his words? What do you imagine Jonah might be thinking and feeling? Let me tell you some of the things I wonder about as I hear his words.

Every Day Is The Third Day – A Sermon On Matthew 16:21-28

What would you say if I told you that every day is the third day? What would you think if I told you that resurrection is happening every day everywhere? What if I told you that resurrection is happening even in the current political, economic, and racial struggles of today; even in the midst of the pandemic; and even in our divisions and disagreements about who we are and the values we hold? Can you see it? Are you experiencing it? Is it real for you? If so, what does it look like? Where are you seeing life and more life? What difference is resurrection making in your life today? And if you can’t see it and aren’t experiencing it, if it’s not real for you, why not? Are you standing with Peter in the “God forbid it” place?

“Show Me Your Work” – A Sermon On Matthew 16:13-20

I thought I knew or had some idea of what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah. The events of the last six months, however, have caused me to rethink what it means. It used to be mostly a Sunday morning kind of question, but now it’s an every day kind of question. It used to be about the future, but now it’s about the present moment. It’s no longer only or even primarily about saving souls, it’s about changing hearts. And if Jesus is not changing your heart and my heart then he is not the Messiah of our lives. And if he is our Messiah then he necessarily changes how we live.

Facing Our Ghosts – A Sermon On Matthew 14:22-33

The miracle, the good news, the hope for every one of us, is that sometimes Jesus comes to us disguised as a ghost. The ghost the disciples see and the Jesus they can’t see are two sides of the same thing, a holy ghost, a life giving ghost. The ghost that frightened them also carried the divine presence. The ghost they were convinced would take their life also carried the power to give life. There is always more to the ghosts of our life than we see or believe.

When You’re Down To Five Loaves And Two Fish – A Sermon On Matthew 14:13-21

Five loaves and two fish. I know what that’s like and I’ll bet you do too. The day of my divorce was a five loaves and two fish kind of day. And so was the day my older son died and the years that followed. A couple of weeks ago one of my best friends called to give me the most recent report from his oncologist and I felt like I had nothing but five loaves and two fish.

Pulling Weeds, Reaping Life – A Sermon On Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

What feeds and sustains your life today? What relationships, values, and beliefs nourish your life? Who are the people that enrich and enliven your life? What are you needing and asking for when you pray that God will give you your daily bread? In whatever ways you might have answered those questions you’ve described the wheat in the garden of your soul. And wherever there is a garden you’ll also find weeds. We don’t plant them and we don’t want them, but as today’s parable (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) says somehow they always manage to show up. Weeds happen. And that’s true whether it’s the garden in your backyard or the garden of your life.