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Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, Year C, "True Love," 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

  Sermon 1/25/22 1 Corinthians 13 True Love “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” Even people who aren’t very familiar with the Bible often know this passage of scripture – 1 Corinthians 13 – the “love” chapter – even if they can’t identify exactly where in the Bible it’s from. You’ve probably heard this passage of scripture read at many, many weddings. I would guess, that out of all of the weddings I’ve officiated in my years of pastoral ministry, probably close to fifty percent of the ceremonies included this passage as the couples’ scripture of choice, and I will admit, sometimes, on realizing I would have to give another reflection on 1 Corinthians 13 at a wedding, I felt a little less than 100% enthusias
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Sermon for Baptism of the Lord Sunday (Year A/Year W), "Much Obliged," Matthew 3:1-6, 11-17

Sermon 1/9/22 Matthew 3:1-6, 11-17 Much Obliged “Much obliged.” Do you use that phrase? “Much obliged.” It isn’t a common response for me personally, but it is a way we might say thank you, although it might sound a little old-fashioned or formal to our ears. It used to be a more common way of saying thank you. What does it mean exactly? “Much obliged” is a kind of shortening of a fuller sentiment: “I’m much obliged to you for what you did for me.” And to spell it out even more clearly, to be obliged is to be in someone’s debt - to be obligated to another person. To be obligated (according to Google) is to be bound to someone, legally or morally. If we’re obligated to someone, it can be with thanks and gratitude and appreciation because of what someone’s done for us, or it can be a weight, a burden, something that makes us feel trapped, what we owe to someone. If we think about our obligations, there are probably some that make us feel thankful and stir our sense of commitment, and

Sermon for the First Sunday after Christmas, Year C, "Beautiful Feet," Isaiah 52:7-10

Sermon 12/26/21 Isaiah 52:7-10 Beautiful Feet “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” I love these words, this imagery, from the prophet Isaiah. Although Isaiah had his own context and other situations and visions in mind, we in the church have not been able to help hearing his words as a Christmas text. Messengers who announce good news, peace, salvation? Visions of the heavenly host of angels singing to shepherds in a field fill our minds.  But for me, the first response I have to this text is to think of my week at Creative Arts Camp at Aldersgate, one of our conference’s church camps, the summer between elementary school and junior high. At Creative Arts Camp, we put on a musical, and our musical that year was The Friendship Company , based on Christian singer Sandi Patty’s album for children. One of the songs on that album? “Beautiful Feet.” Here are s

Sermon for Christmas Eve, "The Irrational Season," Luke 2:1-20

Sermon 12/24/21 Luke 2:1-20 The Irrational Season One of my roles as a doctoral student at Drew Theological School is serving as the Chapel Graduate Assistant. I assist in crafting the liturgies for the worship services, coordinate guest preachers, prepare the worship space and slides for the screens, and so on. It’s a really great outlet for me since I’m not serving as pastor of a local church anymore while I’m in school to do some of the ministry tasks I love, like planning and leading in worship. Our last service of the semester was a service of Advent lessons and carols, and we alternated scripture readings, poems, and musical selections. We started the service with a very brief poem by Madeleine L’Engle called “After Annunciation.”  “This is the irrational season when love blooms bright and wild. Had Mary been filled with reason there’d have been no room for the child.”  When we read the poem, it got a chuckle - no doubt the congregation thinking about children, and the fact tha

Sermon for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost, "A Widow's Mite: Praise or Lament," Mark 12:38-44

Sermon 11/7/21   Mark 12:38-44 A Widow’s Mite: Praise or Lament Last week in worship, we thought about All Saints Day and Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. These celebrations are about, in part, remembering people who have died, people who have been a part of our lives, and part of who we are, both individually, and as a congregation. But these celebrations are broader, too, than remembering our own personal saints, the ones who we knew in person. These celebrations call us to think of the saints of the whole Church - not just in this congregation, but all those who have shaped us. A favorite quote of mine comes from Native American poet Linda Hogan, “Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.” We think about the love of thousands that shapes us in this place, in this season.  I’m new to Christ Church - I started worshipping here because Mark invited me when I started back at Drew for the PhD p