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

What Is God Up To? When Does Our Fear Hinder God?

April 24, 2016
  Acts 11:1-18; John 13:31-35     Fifth Sunday of Easter     April 24, 2016   It seems to me there is a great deal of anger in our culture.  Does that seem true to you, too?  Think of how it’s manifesting itself in the interminable presidential nominating process. Think of the minority of Republicans supporting Donald Trump.  They don’t care whether Trump is ignorant, or whether he’s bigoted.  Their standards of living have fallen over the past two generations, and no one in the political establishment has been doing anything to help them.  They’re angry! Think of the minority…

Held in Wounded Hands

April 17, 2016
John 10:22-30     Fourth Sunday of Easter          April 17, 2016   It is the fourth Sunday of Easter, and so, as it is every year, today is “Good Shepherd Sunday.”  It’s named that because that imagery is in our readings. Jesus, in our reading from John, tells us that we are his sheep, and so implicitly, he is our shepherd.  We even say “The Lord is my shepherd.”  So, today is “Good Shepherd Sunday”---again.  The same as it was on the Fourth Sunday of Easter last year.  And the year before that.  And the year before…

Being Ananias

April 10, 2016
Acts 9:1-20     Third Sunday of Easter     April 10, 2016   I am so impressed with Ananias!  Do you remember who he is?  He’s in the story we just read from the book of The Acts of the Apostles.  Ananias is not the chief character in the story.  The two main characters are Jesus (who is heard, speaking out of a vision of light), and Saul (who will later become St. Paul).  But in the story, I’m Ananias. Here’s what we read.  Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the…

A Sermon by Michael Powell

April 10, 2016
(St. Stephen member Michael Powell is a graduate of the College of William and Mary who then earned a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, located outside of Columbus, Ohio.  Michael has returned to Williamsburg as the Assistant Coach of the William and Mary gymnastics program.  A number of months ago, Michael shared this sermon with me, which he preached in 2010.  I thought it would be a good one to post today because this morning's preaching text of Saul's conversation is set in Syria, a land experiencing deep troubles.  You…

Proclamations by Two Members of the Lutheran Student Association

April 4, 2016
Acts 5:27-32 John 20:19-31   Second Sunday of Easter     April 3, 2016 Importance of Community Dalton B. Ruggieri Today in Acts, we read about Peter's defense of Christianity. Then in John, we read about “Doubting Thomas." So we got two completely different stories about belief. But, let's remember just two weeks ago we read about Peter denying Jesus three times. So what happened between then and now that Peter displays such a change of faith? One difference was that Peter was alone, without a community, when he denied Jesus. He was just like Thomas today, but in…

Death Is Real. Hope Is In Resurrection

March 27, 2016
Luke 24:1-12     Easter, 2016     March 27, 2016   Recently, I’ve been planning my funeral.  I’m going to die. Usually, I live as if that’s not true.  I often take each day for granted, forgetting to thank God for the gift of a new day.  Usually, I spend too much time worrying  about things that are small; things that aren’t worth worrying about; as if I’m going to live forever. Suddenly, that changed a few weeks ago.  I discovered that a mole on my chest was looking very ugly.  I called the dermatologist, who had me come in…

What Does Jesus Model in This Age of Donald Trump?

March 25, 2016
John 13:1-17, 31b-35     Maundy Thursday, 2016     March 24, 2016                We live, surrounded by what makes for death. When American candidates for president promote racism and hatred, violence and division, they are encouraging what makes for death.  Did you know that the Jewish king, Herod, ruled his people in the same way at the time of Jesus?  (He was afraid that if he showed any mercy whenever there was a rabble-rouser threatening the civil order, Rome would remove him and appoint in his place another puppet king.)  And did you know that, at the time of…

For the Love of God

March 13, 2016
  John 12:1-8        Fifth Sunday of Lent   March 13, 2016 Come to our Wednesday night soup suppers and you will find that there is nothing like breaking bread together. Over a bowl of soup, things that weigh down or fill up our hearts are likely to come out.  One person will ask another about upcoming surgery.  Our college students will be asked how classes are going, and what they hope to do when they graduate. Maybe people will simply talk about the weather.  Whatever the topic, in these conversations is the Word made flesh.  Whether we recognize…

Return to God, Rest in God, Discover Delight in God

March 6, 2016
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32     Fourth Sunday of Lent     March 6, 2016                 “What would I do for a twenty-four hour period of time if the only criteria was to pursue my deepest joy?”[1]  This is the provocative lead question in the book about Sabbath-keeping that many of us are exploring right now.  What would you do during a day, if your only purpose was to do what delights you?  This is the chief reason to return to God and to rest in God:  it is to discover delight in God! I see that in the parable…