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Showing posts from 2020

Sermon for the First Sunday after Christmas Day, Year B, "After Christmas Morning," Luke 2:22-40

  Sermon 12/27/20 Luke 2:22-40 After Christmas Morning Here’s a confession for you: As far as I can tell, I actually haven’t preached on this text, this story of Simeon and Anna meeting the baby Jesus, a text that appears in the lectionary once every three years, since before I was a pastor. I preached on it last in 2002, when I was a guest preacher at my childhood church, filling in for the pastor on the Sunday after Christmas. It’s not that I don’t like this passage of scripture. It’s just that it always appears on the first Sunday after Christmas day, and even though I might be in worship on the Sunday after Christmas with my congregation, I hardly ever preach. Instead, I usually do hymn stories about Christmas carols, or read several Christmas poems, or something else that requires a little less preparation on my part, a little gift to myself after making it through however many Christmas Eve services I’ve had during the week. Honestly, I also kind of consider it a gift to my con

Sermon for Christmas Eve, "We Know by Heart," Luke 2:1-20

  Sermon 12/24/20 Luke 2:1-20 We Know by Heart I didn’t decorate much for the Christmas season at my apartment in New Jersey. Of course, I knew I would spend the last part of Advent and all of Christmas in Syracuse with my family, so decorating a place I wouldn’t be in seemed a bit silly. But also, most of my Christmas decorations are in a storage unit here in East Syracuse, and my apartment in New Jersey is tiny, and I couldn’t give up valuable space in my apartment to decorations that would come out only for a few weeks a year. I do miss, though, my collection of nativities. I have several beautiful nativity sets that have been purchased by me or gifted to me over the years, and I love seeing all the different ways different artists and different cultures have envisioned the scene of Jesus’ birth, beautiful, creative, and moving. The sets are all different - some include 2 or 3 wisemen, or none at all. Each has a different variety and number of animals thought to be witnesses of Jesu

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B, "Favor," Luke 1:26-38

  Sermon 12/20/20 Luke 1:26-38 Favor It feels very strange to be dropping in to Advent here at the close of the season, when Christmas Eve is nearly upon us. Already, you’ve been worshipping together and been preparing for the coming of the Christ child, even if virtually, but I haven’t been part of that preparation, even though I’ve been worshipping (online) too with a faith community in New Jersey. Still, the blessings of being connected as siblings in the body of Christ means that in our various places, we have been thinking about the peace, hope, joy, and love of Advent, that we have been singing some of the same tunes, and certainly, we have been about the same work of preparing our hearts and lives for Jesus.  Today, we’re turning our attention to a familiar text: a passage from the first chapter of Luke when the angel Gabriel tells a young woman named Mary that she will be the bearer of a child, God’s child, who will be the savior of the people. We probably mostly know this stor

Grandpa's Garden

This post is adapted from a journal entry for a class I'm taking this fall at Drew Theological School, Christianity and Ecology with Dr. Laurel Kearns, as I start my PhD program. The Drew Theo Community Garden I promise all of my journal reflections and other writing for this class won't be about my Grandpa, but he's been on my mind a lot lately. It was just the anniversary of his death, which happened when I was an undergraduate student. I had spent most of the summer visiting him everyday because I managed to get a job just down the street from where my grandparents lived. My Grandpa was very ill for the last couple of years of his life, so the summer before he died I was gardening in his yard on my own, without his guidance. I felt very inadequate to do it without him there, guiding me. My vegetables did not turn out well that season, but the flowers I planted just bloomed and bloomed and bloomed. Everyday I was able to cut a bouquet of flowers for him and bring it in an

Sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "Take Heart," Matthew 14:22-33

Sermon 8/9/20 Matthew 14:22-33 Take Heart In our gospel lesson for today, Jesus has been having a really long day . We seem to jump into the text mid-story. “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat,” we read. For this to make sense, we need to know immediately after what this takes place. So we need to flip back to the beginning of Matthew 14. At the start of the chapter, we hear about John the Baptist, cousin to Jesus, and perhaps more importantly forerunner and messenger to Jesus, being beheaded by King Herod after a time of imprisonment. John’s disciples make sure Jesus knows what has happened. And when he hears the news, he withdraws by himself in a boat to pray. He needs some time to grieve and reflect. He doesn’t get it, though, because when he gets off the boat at the other side of the lake, he finds that the crowds have already beat him there, and are waiting for him. Jesus doesn’t turn them away though. Instead, he looks on them with deep compassion, heals thei

Kindle Book Giveaway: Singing at the Table

From 3am EST Friday, August 7th, 2020 until 2:59am EST on Thursday, August 20th, 2020, I'm running a book giveaway on Goodreads. You can find my author page on Goodreads here, and click below to enter to win one of 20 free copies of the Kindle version of Singing at the Table , my book of sung communion liturgies.  Goodreads Book Giveaway Singing at the Table by Beth Quick Giveaway ends August 19, 2020. See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway

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

Sermon 8/2/20 Matthew 14:13-21 Something to Eat Can 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 gosp