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

Assumptions

October 20, 2019
Luke 18:1-8 Lectionary 29    19th Sunday after Pentecost   How did you hear this story?  What characteristics did you ascribe to the judge?  How about the widow?  What things were we actually told about the judge, and about the widow?  Sometimes, our brain takes perceived information and turns it into “facts.” To illustrate this, I am sharing a story, which you may have already heard, but listen again. Standing in line to check out at the store was a young mother, Susie, with her toddler. Behind her was a well-dressed couple.  In front of her was a woman struggling…

How Much Faith Is Enough?

October 6, 2019
Luke 17:5-10 17th Sunday after Pentecost  ~  Lectionary 27  “Moderation is for monks,” my husband says.  “More is better!” is his motto.  This explains the shrubs in my yard are burnt by fertilizer.  Do we ever have enough?  Do we think in terms of and focus more on scarcity than we do abundance?  Do we wrestle with deficits instead recognizing gifts?  How often do we feel inadequate?  Couldn’t we benefit from more?  Perhaps we could profit from a better ability to speak in public, greater engagement with other people, more knowledge, or greater faith. Today we hear the disciples…

Angels Among Us

September 29, 2019
  Daniel 10:10-14; 12:1-3   Revelation 12:7-12   Luke 10:17-20 St. Michael and All Angels   Are angels real?  A Google search for “angels” turns up pages of entries for the Los Angeles baseball team Angels.  (They have a zero percent chance to win the World Series this year.)  Are angels real? Amazon Alexa won’t commit.  My seminary professor for theology did not believe in angels.  When class got a bit too intense, asking him a question about angels provided a distraction, and often some comic relief. We talk about angels frequently. This is especially true when we speak of children. …

The Dishonest Steward

September 22, 2019
Luke 16:1-13     Lectionary 25   15th Sunday after Pentecost Do I look like I’ve been through a wrestling match?  Is my hip out of place like Jacob’s?  Our reading from Luke this morning challenges even scholars.  It’s been said that this passage “poses significant theological challenges,” and “is difficult to read and difficult to preach.”  One commentary read, “It is no exaggeration to say that the parable’s meaning has stumped even the best and most creative interpreters of Scripture.”  *Someone* even questioned God’s sense of humor. Had I been wiser, Pastor Wertz would have been here and preached this week instead…

Choose Life

September 8, 2019
Deuteronomy 30:15-20     Luke 14:25-33     13th Sunday after Pentecost   We are faced with choices every day.  Some choices, such as which cereal to buy, are relatively inconsequential.  The college we attend, and what major we choose have more impact on our lives.  Choosing to have a life-partner will change our life in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.  We are faced with literal choices when filling out an Advance Directive for our medical care.  Even in our dying, we have choices. In his book Being Mortal, Atul Gawande explores what it means to live a good life when our…

Table Manners

September 2, 2019
Luke 14:1, 7-14      12th Sunday after Pentecost I want to ask all of you who are sitting, how much thought did you give it?  Sitting, I mean.  Not how to sit, but where to sit and why.  Are you in the back row or the front?  And with whom are you sitting?  Maybe you just come and sit in the same space every Sunday and so by now you don’t think about it much.  But if you have ever organized a wedding reception, you must.  If you don’t assign tables, nobody will sit with your crazy aunt.  Is the…

Sinners and Saints

August 18, 2019
Hebrews 11:29-12:2     10thSunday After Pentecost   What do you know about your family tree?  In recent times, we have become fascinated with locating ourselves in our families and culture.  The movie Rootshelped to spark our interest in “finding ourselves.”  Technology has helped make it easier for us to track our lineage.[1] Companies like 23 and Me and Ancestryhave tested more than26 million people’s DNA to add to their family tree data base.[2]  Where we come from and who we come from is an integral part of who we are.  One of my husband’s relatives, Mary Lewis, searched their family tree. …

Hope in the Meantime

August 11, 2019
Genesis 15:1-6   Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16   Luke 12:32-40 9thSunday after Pentecost   Last Sunday morning, 27 people were injured, and 10 people were killed within 30 seconds in Dayton.  The dead included the sister of the shooter, and the shooter himself. I found out about the shooting from a text message that my daughter, Kelly, sent to me. By the time I was able to search for the details, 22 more people were killed, this time in El Paso at a Wal Mart.  24 more were injured. The death count for that shooting is now at 31. The investigation so far…

Enough

August 4, 2019
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-23     Luke 12:13-21 18thSunday after Pentecost       They say that you can’t take it with you, but that doesn’t mean that people haven’t tried.  Civil War Confederate Major William Wise was buried with his horse, his favorite hunting dog, and a sword.  He was convinced he was going where he could track down and kill Satan.  Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley took his red guitar, a Bible, and marijuana with him to his grave.  More recently, people are being buried with their cell phone.  During the visitation, friends all call the person.  I wonder if, when…