Author: Nicholas Knisely

To say Jesus is Lord is to pledge an allegiance to one King and to reject another

Sermons and audio

The earliest creedal statement of the Christian Church is thought to be “Jesus is Lord.” We see it now on bumper stickers or in lights in churches. It has become part of the background imagery of American popular religion. But when the Church began to proclaim it, it was a costly statement that rejected the armies of Caesar and lifted up a crucified man in his place. That a cursed and crucified man, rejected by […]

Sermon for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost

Sermons and audio

Paul’s Letter to the Church in Thessalonica is likely the first of his surviving letters, and as such, is the earliest Christian writing known. He writes to a group of believers that are struggling to understand their experience as members of the congregation are dying – something that was not expected given the teaching of the Apostles that Christ had overcome death. Paul encourages them to encourage one another. By so doing, they will not […]

Sermon for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

Sermons and audio

In this week’s gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable about wise and foolish maidens and a wedding banquet. In the parable the wise ones prepare for the eventuality that the wedding banquet will be late in starting. The foolish ones don’t – and when it does start late, they are not able to enter. We are in a moment today when we are asked to prepare for what is expected to be a challenging winter. […]

Love is the way to a more perfect union

Current Affairs / Sermons and audio

Is there something for the Church to say to the Nation in this moment? The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Michael Curry preached a stem-winder of a sermon that does a pretty great job of answering that question. In the second part of the sermon he says: We don’t think of it this way very often but love for each other is a value on which our democracy depends.  On the […]

Sermon for All Saints Day 2020

Sermons and audio

The Cross transforms the suffering in our lives and allows the experience and the associated pain to transform us into a new creature fit for a new creation. The lives of the Saints show us how this happens and demonstrates the power of the Holy Spirit to allow them, and us, to overcome the momentary afflictions and become radiant beings of light.

The 21st Sunday after Pentecost: There’s no single way to holiness.

Sermons and audio

When Jesus is asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law, he quotes from two different places in Hebrew Scripture. He refuses to simply weigh one part of the Law, as more important than another, saying for instance that the moral demands of the law are greater than the ceremonial aspects. In doing so he makes two paths to God equivalent. I don’t know that we’ve yet to fully grasp the implications of that […]

Comprehension rather than Division

Sermons and audio

The 22nd Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel is filled with attempts to trap Jesus into saying something that would create a crisis for him. This week there’s an attempt to create division between him and the Imperial forces. There will be attempts in the coming weeks to create division between him and various branches of the religious community. There will be an attempt to make him either reveal his mission or to risk rejection by the […]

The Atlantic: Cognitive Dissonance in the Pandemic

Current Affairs

Two social scientists describe how their work on Cognitive Dissonance explains the irresponsible public health behaviors that many humans are exhibiting in this pandemic. After a description of research into the behavior, and a frank admission that this is the way our brains work, they go on to explain how they understand what’s happening. (I’ll add that they do not mention, but that I suspect, that there are people who know this human mechanism and […]

Sermon for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost

Sermons and audio

When the people in the wilderness lose patience and just want things to be normal again, they turn from God who expects moral behavior and create a God who extracts wealth to bring prosperity. And when God threatens to let them suffer the consequences of their choice, Moses pleads with God to remember the promises made to Abraham and his descendants who all chose, ultimately to do the moral things that God taught them would […]