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Sermon for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "Something to Eat," Matthew 14:13-21

Sermon 8/2/20Matthew 14:13-21

Something to EatCan I make a confession? Sometimes, lulled by the familiarity of a scripture text, I forget to be wowed by what I’m reading. It’s a shame, for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we have so very little recorded from Jesus’ life and works that it is a serious flaw to be less-than-dazzled by anything we get to read! But it’s also a shame because it means that I’ve probably stopped engaging with the scripture text in a way that helps me learn, dig deeper in faith, and be transformed in my discipleship because of my encounter with Christ in the scriptures. I’ll admit that the account of the Feeding of the 5000 is one of those texts that I sometimes overlook because “I know it already.” But it’s worth a closer look because this event is one of the very few stories that appear in all four gospel accounts. There are very few events, particularly outside of the death and resurrection of Jesus, that appear in all four gospels. As s…
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Sermon for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "God's Reign Is Like," Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Sermon 7/26/20Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
God’s Reign Is Like
Our reading from Matthew today covers a lot of ground in a very short span of verses. I love Jesus’ parables, his unique way of storytelling that helps us understand God’s nature and God’s reign on earth and in eternity. And Jesus’ parables are collectively some of our favorite and most well-known of Jesus’ teachings: The Parable of the Good Samaritan, The Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Parable of the Lost Sheep. But here, in these twelve verses, we cover five parables. And while we might be familiar with the first one - the Parable of the Mustard Seed, the others are not particularly well-known. When Jesus is done with his quick-paced teaching, he asks the disciples if they’ve understood what he’s said. And they say, “Yes.” And their one word response makes me laugh every time, because I’m a little suspicious of their answer. Sometimes it’s easier to just say we’ve understood something than to admit we need to go back and get …

I Published a Book! - Singing at the Table Now Available on Amazon!

I'm so excited to share with you that I've published a book. Singing at the Table: Sung Communion Liturgies and Reflections on Sharing the Sacrament is a collection of 36 sung communion liturgies that use traditional hymn tunes and contemporary language to help congregations celebrate communion together. There are liturgies for all seasons in the liturgical year, plus for special occasions like weddings, baptisms, and funerals. Interspersed with the liturgies are reflections on sharing in communion, gathered from my years in pastoral ministry. 
The book is available in paperback or for Kindle. I hope you find it to be a valuable resource!  

Sermon, "A Better Story," Exodus 1:1-8

Sermon 7/19/20Exodus 1:1-8A Better Story

I’m so delighted to be able to share a message with you today. My mom, Karen, who is a member of your congregation, has really come to love her church family, and she speaks so highly about all of you, about Pastor Alicia, and about the ministries and mission you’re about in Syracuse and beyond. I’m in a season of transition in my life. I’ve been serving as a pastor of local churches for the last 17 years, but I just concluded my time as pastor up in the North Country in Gouverneur and North Gouverneur, and this fall, I’m heading back to school to work on a PhD in Ethics. It’s a big change, and I find myself in a strange kind of limbo this summer. I’ve spent part of the summer staying at my brother’s apartment in Rome, while he’s been staying with my Mom. By the time we share virtually in worship on Sunday, my brother and I will have swapped, and he’ll be back in Rome and I’ll be staying with my Mom in Syracuse. Next month, I’ll move to New Jers…

Sermon for the Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "From the Housetops," Matthew 10:24-39

Sermon 6/21/20Matthew 10:24-39
From the Housetops
I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and unsurprisingly, about ministry and preaching and about my years as a pastor and preacher. And I’ve been thinking about “good news” - what it is when we’re talking about life with Jesus, and how and why we share good news. Way back when I did my Women in the Bible sermon series a couple of summers ago, you might remember that we talked about Deborah and Jael from the book of Judges. Their story is a really compelling one, and worth our learning about, but it’s also vivid, we’ll say, when the story describes Jael killing Sisera, bringing victory to the Israelites. I told you then that I had been having trouble figuring out how to preach on the text, even if I wanted you to know about the events Judges described. I was sharing about my struggle with a group of clergywomen on facebook, and one of them asked me, “What’s the good news in the text?” Her simple question really helped me refocus, and remember:…

Sermon, "One of the Crowd," John 10:1-18

Sermon 6/14/20John 10:1-18
One of the Crowd

We spent a few weeks after Easter talking about planting seeds, and during that series we explored several of Jesus’ parables. Last week, too, we heard another of Jesus’ parables. And we talked about how the parables of Jesus help us learn something about the kingdom of God, about God’s reign and how we can live in God’s reign in the now. We learned, too, that parables aren’t always allegories where this equals that, but stories that are meant engage our imagination, and unfold more and more as we look at them from different angles, see ourselves in different parts of the stories. They can be challenging, but for many, Jesus’ parables are favorites among his teaching. You might have noticed, though, that while we heard parables from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we never read a parable from the gospel of John. In fact, the word parable doesn’t appear anywhere in John’s gospel. Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels, w…