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Sermon, "CreatureKind," Isaiah 11:1-9

Sermon 7/31/22 Isaiah 11:1-9 CreatureKind I’m thankful for Pastor Joyce’s invitation not just to be with you in worship today, but also, more specifically, to talk to you about what led me to become a vegan and to commit to a focus on animals in my studies. I first became a vegetarian in college, years before I became a pastor, but in all of my years of ministry, I’ve never actually focused on why I’ve chosen the path of veganism in a sermon, and so Pastor Joyce’s invitation was a welcome request to think about sharing a passion in this particular way. Because indeed, for me, veganism is a spiritual commitment, and a part of expression of faith.  Before I dive into this topic, though, I want to try to set you at ease. Food - what we choose to eat and why - that’s a really intimate topic. Even though we all eat, every day, for a variety of reasons, what we choose to eat is a topic that has been burdened with a lot of expectation and pressure from society and culture, from our well-meani
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Sermon for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, "We've Heard of You," Colossians 1:1-14

Sermon 7/10/22 Colossians 1:1-14 We’ve Heard of You “I’ve heard of you.” That simple sentence can be construed in some very different ways, ways that are completely opposite in implied meaning. When we say we’ve heard of  someone, we can kind of imbue that with a positive or a negative meaning, can’t we? Oh, I’ve heard of you - as in, “I’ve heard all the bad things about you, I’ve heard about what you’ve done, or what you haven’t done that you were supposed to do. Your reputation - your bad reputation - precedes you.” Maybe even now you’re thinking of someone that would make you say - or at least think - oh, I’ve heard of you in this tone.  Or, “Oh, I’ve heard about you! People who know you speak well of  you. I’ve wanted to meet you. I’m excited to meet you.” Can you think of someone you were excited to get to meet, to know, because of all that you’d heard about them in advance? Whose good reputation precedes them? Whether or not the stories we tell about each other might cross

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, "The Hard Way," 2 Kings 5:1-14 (Proper 9C, Ordinary 14C)

Sermon 7/3/22 2 Kings 5:1-14 The Hard Way I’ve been thinking about the way we talk about whether the situations we experience in life are hard or easy and what kind of value we place on those words. For example, sometimes we talk with disdain about someone trying to “take the easy way out.” Or we might say, “Oh, that person had it so easy.” Right now, for example, I’m preparing for some exams in my schoolwork, and I feel like it has been a lot of work. But there are some students (including my roommate)  in a different area of my program,  - the people who are in Biblical Studies - and their exam structure is much different than my area’s exams. And I will admit I’ve said something along the lines of “you have it so easy” to my roommate. On the other hand, we might say, “hey, take it easy!” if someone is getting too angry about something, or giving someone else a hard time. We might say, “go easy on them!” if we fear someone will give another person too severe of a reprimand or punishm

Sermon for the Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, "Set," Luke 9:51-62 (Proper 8C, Ordinary 13C)

Sermon 6/26/22 Luke 9:51-62 Set I have to confess that my working title for this sermon was “Oof.” “Oof,” because that’s what I thought when I read this text from Luke’s gospel. Oof - Jesus has some hard words for us. Not hard to understand, exactly, although I never want to assume I know exactly what Jesus means. But hard as in demanding, full of expectation. Jesus lays out some challenges for “would-be disciples,” - that’s what my bible titles this section of scripture - and he doesn’t really mince words here. In our closing verse, Jesus says, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Oof. Am I fit for God’s reign? I’m not sure. Oof - my first response. Eventually, I had some more to say and to think about, but if your first response to hearing Jesus’ words today is “Oof” or something similar - I’m with you! The start of our text today, the first line, actually represents a shift in the whole of the gospel of Luke. “When the days drew near for

Sermon, "Don't Boast!," Romans 5:1-5 (Trinity Sunday, Year C)

  Sermon 6/12/22 Romans 5:1-5 Don’t Boast! What kind of pet peeves do you have? When you think about the little mannerisms and characteristics that really irk you , what comes to mind? For me: it’s boasting. When people want to tell me how awesome they are at something, when they just can’t help but toot their own horn, it really irritates me. I’m not quite sure why it bothers me so much. I guess if I traced it back it was probably something my mom instilled in me when I was little - teaching me good manners, and teaching me to be kind and thoughtful and to not boast about anything that I thought I was good at, not boast about any advantage I thought I had over others. And apparently it stuck. Boasting - I really dislike it.  In these internet days, there is even a special category of boasting - which, to be clear, I also dislike - called the “humble brag.” The humble brag” is when you “try to get away with bragging about yourself by couching it in a [false] show of humility.” (1) So y