Tag Archive for 'salvation'

Palm Sunday April 17, 2011

Matthew 26:14-27:66                                                       

John 4:5-42                                                                            

Think of today as a drama in three acts, in each of which we play a different role. Act I is the palm procession outside. In all my years of doing Palm Sundays I’ve never managed to have a donkey for Jesus to ride on, but it’s still always a glorious celebration. We’re there singing hosanna! and waving our palm branches of victory. Jesus has come to save us. Everything is up and up.

And we all know what that Act is like in our own lives. It’s when we land the job we wanted or get a raise. It’s when we fall in love or the person we want to marry says yes. It’s the new house, the new car, the child graduating with honors, getting into college, building a new church, our candidate for President getting elected. All of those and more. Salvation: it’s what we long for, and in Act I it seemed to be there, finally in our grasp. Continue reading ‘Palm Sunday April 17, 2011’

Pentecost 23 October 31, 2010

Isaiah 1:10-20                                                                      

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12                                                      

Luke 19:1-10

 This is God’s Message: “If you’ll willingly obey, you’ll feast like kings. But if you’re willful and stubborn, you’ll die like dogs.” That’s right. God says so.

Isaiah 1:20 (The Message paraphrase)

I was tempted, thinking about this sermon, to start out by asking for you to define salvation. This congregation has become pretty good at talking together in response to the readings – as you demonstrated last week. I thought as a follow-up question, I’d ask how many of you believe you’re “saved” – and how many of you have doubts. But then I thought, no, that’s being a little too “frontal” with you. Salvation isn’t something most of us think much about. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 23 October 31, 2010’

Ash Wednesday February 17, 2010

2 Corinthians 5:20b-21, 6:1-10                                       

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21                                                       

 Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

 We celebrate today two things that are difficult for us: sin and mortality. I remember being on the search committee for a new priest, back before I was ordained myself. We were going through resumes the bishop had sent us and we got to Fr. So-and-So’s. “Discard!” announced a woman on the committee immediately. “I went to a service at his church and he preached on sin.” Moral: don’t talk about sin if you want to get ahead, even in the Church, certainly not in the rest of life.

Mortality, too: who wants to talk about death, particularly their own? Obituaries always note how someone died after a “long struggle” or a “long battle” with whatever disease carried them off. Death is the enemy. Hospitals and hospices are partly places where we hide away the dying so they won’t spoil things for the living. We’ve come a long ways from our ancestors, who prayed in the Great Litany to be delivered from “dying suddenly and unprepared” and saw this life in terms of preparation for death. Continue reading ‘Ash Wednesday February 17, 2010’

Easter Vigil April 11, 2009

O.T. History of Salvation

Romans 6:3-11

Luke 24:1-12

 

Around the church tonight is this wonderful series of quilt-style banners depicting the story of God’s saving work through history. We have six of them now; Nancy Stehno just completed the one over the organ, illustrating a passage from the Book of Proverbs about Wisdom being more precious than gold. Nancy, I hesitate to tell you this, but there are six more we could do, if we draw on both the Episcopal and Revised Common Lectionaries! But, one at a time. That’s the way God works, so you can work that way too.

 

Actually, there could be more than 12 banners. There could be an infinite string of banners, stretching into the future, because God is working out God’s plan of salvation in every one of our lives, in the world around us, in every event in the news—even the terrible ones. Continue reading ‘Easter Vigil April 11, 2009’