Author: Nicholas Knisely

The Lent that never ended is about to begin again.

Current Affairs / Religion / Sermons and audio

In this past year, it seems we’ve had the longest Lent ever. And now we stand ready to start Lent again before it feels like the previous one is over. But this Lent is different. It brings with it a promise that we can walk with Jesus and participate in hastening the redemption of our community. In Rhode Island the government is choosing a different strategy to vaccinate the population. Other states are working to […]

“Everyone is seeking you” – How should we respond to God’s action in our lives?

Sermons and audio

When we have an encounter with God, what do we do next? This week’s Gospel reading illustrates two different responses, that of Simon Peter’s mother in law and that of the people of the community and reminds us that Jesus’ purpose is often different from our desires.  Learning to cooperate with God’s will is the most important work of discipleship.

Casting out the powers that rebel against God

Sermons and audio

In this weeks’ Gospel reading, Jesus is teaching the people when he is interrupted by a person with a spirit opposed to God; an unclean spirit. Jesus casts out the spirit, the demon, simply by ordering it to leave. He doesn’t invoke the angels, he doesn’t use the name of another person, he simply speaks and the spirit obeys him. How can we understand this in a modern era? Is there something here for us […]

Sermon for the Third Sunday in Epiphany

Sermons and audio

This week we hear the second half of the story of Jonah – when he hears God’s call to go to Ninevah and call the people there to repentance. Jonah resisted God at first because the Ninevites were his enemies and Jonah wanted them to perish, not to repent and be saved. It’s an extraordinary story. And it reminds us that God expects us to stay in relationship with others, even our enemies, so that […]

Sermon for the Second Sunday of Epiphany: When you’re in a hole, stop digging.

Sermons and audio

We hear the story of the call of Samuel again and again in church. But we rarely discuss the judgment on Eli and his family that is explicit in that call. This story from scripture is one of many stories where God lifts up someone to role, and when that person turns aside from God’s path, God turns aside from that person and lifts up another to take their place. It’s a reminder for all […]

A new version of the Lost Cause begins to emerge

Current Affairs / Religion

David Blight, author of the magisterial biography of Fredrick Douglass, explains how we may be seeing the unfolding of a new cultural/political movement in this moment: David Blight: How Trumpism May Endure – The New York Times: The important Lost Causes in history have all been at heart compelling stories about noble defeats that were, with time, forged into political movements of renewal: the French after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and the profound need […]

The Great Theophany

Current Affairs / Sermons and audio

This week, the first week of the Season of Epiphany, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord’s Baptism and hear how, when Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordon, he was fully revealed as God’s beloved Son. It is not just the full revelation of his identity to the world, but it is the revelation of God as it’s one of the only accounts in which all three persons of the Trinity are present […]

A Sermon for Christmas Eve 2020

Sermons and audio

In this hard year filled with loss, grief and separation, we still hear the songs of the angels as they proclaimed Christ’s birth to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem. And those songs are a consolation right now. Life will conquer death, joy will conquer despair. Because Christ came, we shall live and have life abundantly. Because our cousins the angels find such joy in our salvation, perhaps this year, we can be inspired by them […]

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Advent in 2020

Religion / Sermons and audio

We finally draw near to the threshold of the Feast of the Incarnation. But before we join Mary and Joseph beside the manager in Bethlehem, we need to take a moment to understand the miracle of Jesus’ birth, and what his two natures, human and divine, mean for us today. And while we wonder about that, we can wonder too about how we can be like Mary. How can we make God incarnate for others?