Recent Sermons

Below are excerpts from some recent sermons.  You can also explore the full list since June 2015.  Some sermons include the podcast at the bottom of the page, with older podcasts from 2013-2015 still available. 

Preaching from St. Stephen’s Pulpit

The Coming Kingdom of Shalom:  God’s Peaceful Cosmic Order

December 5, 2016
Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 3:1-12 Advent 2 Our theme on this second Sunday of Advent is peace. What has disturbed your peace?   For many, if not all, our culture of fear and recent acts of hatred impact peace. Peace is broken by our experience of violence, not only against ourselves, but also against neighbor. The peace of shalom means more than just the absence of war or hostility or fear.  The peace of shalom means wholeness, harmony and well-being.  What disrupts your peace? Gerald Holtom’s peace was disturbed by nuclear armament. In 1958, he designed his peace sign from a…

The Coming Kingdom of Shalom: The End of War

November 27, 2016
Isaiah 2:1-5     First Sunday in Advent     November 27, 2016   We watch for Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  We pray for the end of war.  Does God exercise judgment on us, as a nation, for our sins, before peace is possible?  One of our greatest presidents thought so.  He was speaking about the sin of slavery.  On March 4, 1865, during the fifth year of Civil War, in his second inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln spoke some words of theology that are entirely true to the Biblical witness of what God is like. Lincoln began by…

Jesus, Why Don’t You Save Yourself?

November 20, 2016
Luke 23:33-43 Christ the King Sunday   Police in Portland declared a riot after demonstrators were seen attacking drivers and committing acts of vandalism.  A swastika was carved into the metal of a towel dispenser in a bathroom at the College of William and Mary.   Police in Ann Arbor were investigating reports that a man approached a Muslim student and threatened to set her on fire with a lighter. Are you weary?  I am.  My reserves are exhausted from the multitude of reports of hateful behavior.  I cannot imagine how those who are marginalized feel.   I was born into…

God Is in Charge — Which in the Bible, Often Means That Things Do Not Go Well in the Short Run

November 13, 2016
  Luke 21:5-19    Lectionary 33 in Ordinary Time; 26th Sunday after Pentecost     November 13, 2016   Before the election, I put a tongue-in-cheek political post on facebook.  (Tongue-in-cheek humor is always a dangerous thing.  The danger is that people will take it seriously!)  I posted that we really had to decide which vice presidential candidate we liked, because either presidential candidate would be impeached and thrown out of office.  (Heh, heh, get it?)  Many folks replied with humor, clicking on that “laugh out loud” face thingie.  But then, there were people who replied seriously.  One wonderful…

Saints and Sinners

November 7, 2016
Luke 6:20-31 All Saints Sunday Today is All Saints Sunday.  Today we commemorate those who have died in the days since the last All Saints Sunday.  Most of us today bring memories of someone we have loved,--a brother, a mother, a spouse, a friend. We gather together with hearts that grieve and fill with love, both at the same time. This year, my heart gives thanks for St. Vernon.  Vernon liked to help my husband train horses.  It was during their training sessions that Griff found out Vernon could curse like a Marine.  That’s probably because he was a…

Good News, Grace, Hopefulness

October 30, 2016
Romans 3:19-28    Reformation Sunday     October 30, 2006       “Our Lutheran approach to the faith would be very helpful to people if we could only bring ourselves to share it.” Richard Graham said that a couple of weeks ago.  He’s the bishop of the Metropolitan DC Synod of the ELCA, and he was speaking at the annual gathering of Virginia Synod pastors and deacons with our own Bishop Mauney.  Listen to this again: “Our Lutheran approach to the faith would be very helpful to people if we could only bring ourselves to share it.” Today…

God,Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner!

October 23, 2016
 Luke 18:9-14 Lectionary 30  in Ordinary Time ~ 23rd Sunday after Pentecost Who are you in our story, the Pharisee or the tax collector?  Pharisees were a sect of Jews who held strictly to both written and oral law.  We tend to think of Pharisees as being hypocrites.  The reality is that most of them were righteous and respected Jews who followed the law.[1]  First century listeners would have been surprised by the behavior of this Pharisee. The second person in our story is a tax collector.  Tax collectors were agents of the oppressive Roman government.  He was probably…

When Our Wounds Bring Blessings

October 16, 2016
Genesis 32:22-31    Lectionary 29 in Ordinary Time; 22nd Sunday after Pentecost     October 16, 2016   Four weeks ago, I endured a small surgical procedure on my back.  A cyst had become infected, and the surgeon cut it out.  The wound has had to heal from the bottom up so an abscess doesn’t form, so my wife, Patty has been packing the wound each day with a strip of thin, sterile, cloth tape.  (Patty had to use more than a foot of this tape to pack the wound right after the surgery.  I am glad to say…

The Difference That It Makes

October 9, 2016
  Luke 17:11-19     Lectionary 28 in Ordinary Time;  21st Sunday After Pentecost   What difference does it make?  What difference does St. Stephen Lutheran Church make in the world, and in this community?  What difference does it make for you to be part of our church community?  What difference do you make in the lives of others because you are part of this church community?  What difference does Jesus Christ make? In various ways, I’ve asked you these questions, and you have told me stories.  Unlike rooster sightings, I welcome your stories, and invite you to come and share…