Sermons

June 24, 2018

Jesus is on a mission, and on the move. Jesus signals a shift to his followers with a simple phrase, “Let us go across to the other side.” It is more than a change in venue. From this point on in Mark, Jesus is an itinerant preacher and healer, leaving the comfort and security of home to carry out his mission. And this is Jesus’ first foray in Mark into territory that might be considered inappropriate, even dangerous, the Gentile territory of the Gerasenes. All of this is probably not what the disciples had in mind. They had already stepped out of their comfort zone by leaving home and family and livelihood to follow Jesus. Surely the rest of discipleship will be holding hands in prayer circles and singing ‘kumbaya,’ passively listening to Jesus and taking in his words of peace and love. Sure, they might go to a poor village and build a church, or work the soup lines feeding the hungry, but these are activities are just checking the boxes. They have seen a few miracles, experienced Jes...

June 17, 2018

Happy Father’s Day! Today we celebrate all our fathers. Of course, we must also celebrate mothers, because without their help, fatherhood would not be possible. And if you came from a mother and a father, which should be all of us, you are also doing your part. In these primarily Hallmark occasions, we celebrate God’s activity in the continuing miracle of creation. We also celebrate the special role dads play in the family. For Father’s Day, one Dad suggested that the family get him a gift the whole family could get something out of. So they did. They got him a new wallet.

            Many of you refer to me as “father”, yet each Sunday and especially around stewardship season, on behalf of the Church, I am asking for something out of your wallet. The title “father” is a little confusing in my household. Ever since ordination, Allison refers to me as “Father Daddy.” One minister’s little daughter was sent to bed with a tummy ache and missed her usual romp with her daddy. A few minutes l...

June 10, 2018

In our parish survey last Fall, one of the major points expressed was the desire to add young families and children to our community. This makes perfect sense in an aging congregation. From where will our new members come? Some of our younger members are growing the Church the old fashioned way. I am delighted to announce the birth of Louis Sapp on June 1, who will be baptized at St. Paul’s this Fall. The Sapp’s are doing their part, the rest of you need to get to work! Before you laugh and scoff, remember Abraham and Sarah, who gave birth in their old age. With God all things are possible. Be careful what you wish for ... God works in mysterious ways.

            Scripture backs up our desire for younger people in the Church. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” We long to share our faith and life in Christ with the next generation. We also can learn much in teaching and serving our youngest brothe...

           

Back in the day ... you know someone is reminiscing about good times past when they start that way.  Back in the day, the only organization open on Sunday that would accept your money was the Church. Almost all businesses were closed. “Open 7 days a week” or “24/7” wasn’t part of our vocabulary back then. Sunday lunch was always at home. Of course, Mom or Grandma had to work on the Sabbath to prepare a meal, but this was a labor of love. I spent summers on my Grandfather’s farm in North Carolina, Mom’s dad. Paw Paw was a subsistence farmer with only a third grade education, and he grew and raised almost everything we ate. It was hard work, six days a week. Only six days a week, because Paw Paw read well enough to understand the laws in Exodus and Deuteronomy against working on the Sabbath. Only minimal work was permitted. The hardest work he did on Sunday was to struggle with the text of scripture to grow closer to God. The r...

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