Sermons

    • He Went Down to Lift Us Up Matthew 3: 13 – 17   (preached January 12, 2020)   In these days of the twenty-first century, we have more creature comforts than ever before in history.  We have machines to open our garage doors, machines to wash our dishes, devices that help us stay in touch across thousands of miles.  But, in spite of all these creature comforts, many people feel a great a spiritual emptiness.  Because our society is so consumer-driven and so individualistic, m... [read more]
    • Consequential Strangers Matthew 2: 1 – 12 (preached on January 5, 2020)   When I was thirteen years old, my parents decided it was time for me to get to know some of my more distant relatives.  They wanted me to get to know the Southern side of the family, my mother’s side.  They lived in Mobile, Alabama.  So my folks  put me on a plane in Pittsburgh, headed for Mobile.  After boarding the plane, I was happy to find a seat by the window.  As I was settling in, a man dressed in a busi... [read more]
    • The Meaning of Emmanuel Matthew 2: 13 – 23   (preached on December 29, 2019)   Every Christmas season, one of the churches I served held a pageant, performed on Christmas Eve.  One year, on the day of the pageant, I had a moment of sheer panic.  I had arrived at the church at 4:30 that day, to get ready for the pageant at 5:30.   The first thing I did was go to the sanctuary and check the manger scene.  I wanted to be sure there was plenty of space, since the children were going to put th... [read more]
    • Everywhere Emmanuel December 24, 2019 It’s here at last.  The wondrous, holy night has finally come.  The night we’ve been looking forward to and preparing for and dreaming about is upon us.  All over the world tonight, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.  The poet Phillips Brooks describes it this way: Everywhere, everywhere Christmas tonight! Christmas in lands of the fir tree and pine, Christmas in lands of the palm tree and vine, Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and... [read more]
    • Being a Pink Candle Person Isaiah 35: 1 – 10; Matthew 1: 18 – 25   (preached on December 15, 2019)                 Every Sunday during the season of Advent, here at the front of the church, we light candles on our Advent wreath. Three of the candles on the wreath are purple.  Traditionally, purple has been the color of royalty.  In ancient times, only kings and queens were allowed to wear it.  That’s because the dye that was needed to make purple cloth was very expensive.   Purpl... [read more]
    • The Call to Repentance Matthew 3: 1 – 12   (preached on December 8, 2019)   Like most pastors, I spend a lot of time every week preparing my sermon.  I study the Bible passages assigned by the Revised Common Lectionary for that day.  I read commentaries by Bible scholars to learn about when and where the passage was written.  And I poke around on line, looking for illustrations to help relate the passage to our lives today.   For the most part, I enjoy that preparation.  But ev... [read more]
    • Coming at an Unexpected Hour Matthew 24: 36 – 44 (preached on December 1, 2019)               Most of the time, it’s good to plan ahead.  Planning ahead is helpful whether you’re organizing the church Flea Market, or putting on a dinner party, or just thinking about groceries for the week.  For those activities and other things, most of us wouldn’t wait till the last minute.  And most of us wouldn’t want to sign up for a project that was put together willy-nilly, without any planning.  Planni... [read more]
    • If you’ve had a tough week, you may wonder about the title of this morning’s sermon.  You may even be wondering if it’s a misprint.  If you’ve been slaving at a job all week, you may be wondering, how can work be a blessing?  But the apostle Paul was convinced that work could be a blessing to us and to our communities.  He was convinced that hard work is part of the life of faith.   What has working done for you, in your life?  Take a minute now to think back to your first job.  What ... [read more]
    • The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grace Luke 18: 1 – 9 (preached October 20, 2019) What do you suppose prompted Jesus to tell the parable in our passage for today, from Luke’s gospel? What inspired this strange parable about a widow and a judge? Luke doesn’t give us much to go on here. He simply says that Jesus wants to encourage the disciples to pray and not lose heart. Any number of things could have led Jesus to tell this parable. Maybe Peter had been grumbling that God didn’t seem to hear hi... [read more]
    • A Work in Progress Luke 18: 9 – 14 (preached October 13, 2019) As therapists do their work of psychological counseling, they often find that people who come to them are driven by a need to be perfect. These people are mostly from good, law-abiding families. They are motivated by voices deep within them that say, in one way or another, that they are inferior, not worthy of approval. Maybe these voices come from their past, out of their childhood. As children, they were made to feel shame or ... [read more]
    • Faith on the High Wire 2 Timothy 1: 1  - 14   (preached on October 6, 2019)   Walking a tightrope is not an easy thing to do, even in the tamest of circumstances.  But some years ago the tightrope walker Zumbrati took the challenge of the high wire to a whole new level.  He walked a tightrope across Niagara Falls.  The day of the walk was really windy, and Zumbrati was relieved when he made it across the falls.  But when he arrived on the other side, he was surprised to find ... [read more]
    • Joy in Heaven Luke 15: 1 – 10   Good communication is very important.  Whether we’re communicating with close friends, or at work, or just doing our shopping around town, it’s important to express ourselves clearly and listen carefully.  When good communication doesn’t happen, major mix ups can occur.  Sometimes that’s because we hear what we’re expecting to hear, instead of what the other person is trying to say.  That may have been the case for a man who pulled into a gas station... [read more]