All posts filed under: Sermons and audio

The poor will always be with you. Thanks be to God.

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Sermons and audio

There is only one miracle that appears in all four Gospels – the feeding of the multitude in the wilderness. It actually appears in two different versions in the first two Gospels so you could say this miracle appears six times in all. There’s no other thing that Jesus does that is featured as prominently. It’s reasonable to assume that this was very important to the early followers of the Way. We tend to imagine […]

What’s the point of the church communities we so cherish?

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Sermons and audio

As a bishop, most times when I visit with a congregation, we quickly start to talk about the challenges the congregation is facing. Those challenges start with not having enough money to do the things we want to do. Many of the challenges being managed have to do with the building in which the community gathers. Some of the concerns are about the lack of people, or the lack of a certain group of people […]

“When the elephants fight, the grass is trampled”. What we can learn from the execution of John the Baptist.

Sermons and audio

This week’s Gospel tells of the events surrounding the execution of John the Baptist, whom Jesus describes as the greatest of the prophets, by order of King Herod. Herod makes this decision as a result of a rash promise promise to Salome, daughter of Herodias, his wife, during a banquet celebrating his birthday. Herod doesn’t actually want to kill John the Baptist, but he’s more afraid of losing face in front of his party guests […]

Every human has value. Every human is gifted. Even our neighbors.

Sermons and audio

This weekend’s Gospel, appointed for the same day that people in the USA are observing Independence Day, recounts an unusual event in Jesus’ life – when he is amazed at people rather than them being amazed by him. The beginning of the reading tells of how Jesus’ childhood friends and neighbors couldn’t imagine that he was anything more than the child who had grown up beside them. And when he performed miracles and taught with […]

Faith is what we are left with when hope seems absurd.

Sermons and audio

Faith is the last resort when everything else has failed. It’s the absurd hope that insists on believing in the possibility of a way forward even when there is no hope. Our small faith, nurtured into a larger life, gives life even as we and the ones we love are passing away. I don’t understand it – somedays I find it pretty thin gruel. But it’s what we have, and it has been enough to […]

Don’t be surprised by the storms we encounter when we take the Gospel to the regions beyond.

Sermons and audio

This weekend as we observe Juneteenth as a federal holiday for the first time in American history, and celebrate the month long observance of Pride, we have a Gospel reading about the storms on the Sea of Galilee.  Tertullian first noted that these storms arose as the disciples were crossing to Gentile lands, under the control of the Roman Empire. He remarked that the Church in those days experienced conflict and persecution as it sought […]

God is making the Kingdom manifest, not us.

Sermons and audio

One of the basic teachings of Christianity is that it is Jesus who saves us from the consequences of our misbehavior, from our sins. We can not, and do not save ourselves. That’s both deeply freeing and very hard to internalize. Even though I know it I still act as if I don’t really believe it – and believe that if I just work hard enough, I can manage my salvation. There’s a similar thing […]

The more we align ourselves with God, the more Creation is returned to its original intent.

Sermons and audio

This Sunday’s Gospel begins with people trying to understand how Jesus is able to cast out the spiritual powers that have rebelled against God. People try to understand what is happening in earthly terms, in light of their experience in a created order that has gone sideways from God’s original plan. And when they do that, they fundamentally miss the point of what is happening. The key to understanding this parable (as Jesus describes it) […]

God loves us. There’s not much we can do about that except accept it.

Sermons and audio

Jesus came into the world proclaiming God’s love and not God’s condemnation of the world. We humans are exceedingly good at condemning ourselves and each other – particularly the people we know, or at least think we know. But God’s not human. And our ways our not God’s ways. This Sunday, rather than preach on the ancient doctrine of the Trinity as the revealed truth of God’s nature, I’m taking a different tack. As we […]

The Wind of God in 2021

Sermons and audio

A year ago we had dreamed of reopening congregations in Rhode Island on the Feast of Pentecost. But it was not to be. But this year, in 2021, on this Feast Day, the Governor has removed our restrictions on gathering so carefully and deliberately, the day has come. It will be a while before things seem more like they did prior to the beginning of the pandemic. But the Spirit of God has brought us […]