Sermons & Blog

Grace upon Grace (Christmas Eve 2019)

You have heard it said that it is better to give than to receive. But the reading that we just heard, the beautiful prologue to the gospel of John, is a reminder that for us Christmas is first and foremost about receiving. God does the giving. God so loved the world that God gave us his only Son, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. God gives. We receive. It sounds simple but in actual fact we’re not always that good at receiving. To receive requires us to be open and to be responsive to the divine initiative. Sometimes we prefer to be closed and in control. We can only receive when we’ve made space in our hearts and our lives for something new to enter. Often, and especially at th

Promise (Advent 4)

We don’t read Matthew’s version of the Christmas story very often. Maybe that’s because Matthew’s account, told from the perspective of Joseph, is just too painful. There are no shepherds, no singing angels, no Bethlehem, no manger, no swaddling clothes. Instead we hear this story of ordinary human pain and suffering. The young man who finds out that his young fiancé is pregnant with a child that is not his. The young woman who bears the weight of shame and fear, who faces a broken marriage and uncertain future. Imagine the shattered dreams, the feelings of despair. Maybe you can relate. Joseph is in crisis. He feels betrayed, he’s angry, he’s afraid. He has to figure out what to do nex

Tell About It

“Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” This is just totally the wrong time of year to ask that question. I mean, we’re already into the third Sunday of Advent. The Christmas train has left the station and it’s not turning back. The lights are up. The turkey has been ordered. Most of the gifts are bought. Advent calendars are more than half done. The Christmas booklets are being printed. We’ve already sung O Come O Come Emmanuel and we’re about to do it again. And you, John the Baptist, you want us to stop all that and ask whether we’ve got the wrong guy? Instead of celebrating the coming of Jesus, you want us to think about whether we should be looking for s

Pay Attention

“A gospel is a form of strategic story-telling that aims to change your life.”[i] Today we begin the gospel of Matthew. Are you ready to change your life? If not, then I suggest that you stop listening now. Pull out your phone, put your earbuds on, doodle in your booklet. Whatever it takes to distract you. But if you are ready to change your life, then here we go. This is how we begin. “Repent. For the kingdom of God is at hand.” When I was walking the Camino in Spain a few years back, I met a young man named David, and walked with him for a few days. David was 23 years old, bright and engaging. He had been raised in a home that was half Buddhist, half Christian and intentionally non-p

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