Sermons


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

Dying — So We Can Live

February 18, 2018
1 Peter 3: (13-17)18-22     First Sunday in Lent     February 18, 2018   What needs to die in you? What in you needs to be drowned each day, so that a new person can come forth daily and rise up to live before God? What attachment – to safety and security, or to power and control, or to the need for esteem and affection – do you need to die to, so the joyous person that God wants you to be can rise up? These are questions for your prayer during your journey through Lent.  I’m talking about Lent…

I Love You. You’re Going to Die.

February 15, 2018
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21     Ash Wednesday   It’s been 73 years since Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a lot more fun when it falls on Mardi Gras, which is always the day before Ash Wednesday.  But today is Valentine’s Day, and Ash Wednesday. Chocolates and champagne, or ashes on your forehead?  Do you want to hear “I love you,” or hear “you’re going to die.”?  As my husband likes to say, when given a choice, take both.  We might as well, for this is what God gives us this year, “I love you; you’re going to…

Ups and Downs

February 11, 2018
Mark 9:2-9     Transfiguration Do you remember the movie, “Bruce Almighty”?   God gave Bruce some god-like powers.  One of the ways he abused these powers was to lasso the moon, and drew it closer to the earth so that his girlfriend would stand in awe looking at it, and fall more deeply in love with him.  Even the oceans desire to come closer to the moon, drawing up to it in waves over and over again.  The fact is that the moon does at times come closer to the earth than at others.  When a full moon is at a…

Faith Formation Shows Up in Our Everyday Lives

February 5, 2018
Mark 1:29-39     Fifth Sunday After Epiphany     Lectionary 5     February 4, 2018   We’re only 29 verses into the gospel of Mark and – already! – John the Baptizer has appeared, John has baptized Jesus, Jesus has endured Satan’s temptation, John has been arrested, Jesus has called his first four disciples, and Jesus has healed “a man with an unclean spirit.”  Whew! Jesus performed that healing in the synagogue, in the village of Capernaum.  Today’s story begins when Jesus and his four new followers walk from the synagogue to the house of Simon and Andrew.  There, Jesus discovers that…

What Have You to Do with Us?

January 28, 2018
Mark 1:21-28     Epiphany 4 Possessed by demons.  What image does this create for you when you hear that?  I think I am safe in saying that for many of us, the movie The Exorcist was both moving and terrifying.  We watched Linda Blair’s character, Regan, as she turned from a sweet little girl into a murderous creature.  Can you still picture Regan sitting up on the bed, her head spinning 360 degrees, something like split pea soup violently spews out of her mouth, drenching those who are standing in the room?  As Father Merrin and the young priest Father…

Being Jesus To The Person You Are Encountering

January 21, 2018
Mark 1:14-20     Third Sunday After Epiphany     Lectionary 3     January 21, 2018   God created you.  God chose you to be God’s child.  God loves you.  When you turn away from that love, you cause God to suffer the pain of a betrayed spouse.  When you turn away from that love, God experiences the terrified anger of a parent who snatches back her two year old just before he runs into traffic. God loves you and has made the ultimate sacrifice to demonstrate that love, on the cross. There.  I think I have just summarized the entire Bible. With…

Truth Telling

January 14, 2018
1 Samuel 3: 1-10, John 1:43-51          Epiphany 2 Hannah, in Biblical language, was barren.  She wanted a child so badly that she often wept uncontrollably. She stopped eating.  One day, at the Temple in Shiloh, she was crying so hard that her whole body shook. Her tears dripped down, drenching her dress.  With her lips moving in prayer, Hannah promised God that if God gave her a son, she would dedicate him to the Lord’s service.  Eli, the priest at Shiloh, saw her body and her lips moving, and concluded that she was drunk.  After they straightened out their…

Responding to God, Who Loves Us

January 7, 2018
Mark 1:4-11     The Baptism of Our Lord     Lectionary 1     January 7, 2018               John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.  Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. Imagine the scene. Our gospel reading is a strange story.  John the Baptizer is a mysterious…

The Sounds of Love

December 28, 2017
Luke 2:1-20 Christmas Eve 2017 It is as if time is standing still here on this most holy of nights, the night of our dear Savior’s birth.  All that has been, all that there is, and all that will be converge on this night in this place.  We are transported to Bethlehem, with Mary and Joseph.  In the dark of the night sky, the stars sparkle brightly.  They look to be so close that you think you could reach out and grab them.   The baby Jesus is soon to be wrapped up tight, and sleeping in the manger. All…