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

Identity: It’s Complicated

March 26, 2017
John 9:1-41     Fourth Sunday in Lent     This reading from John’s Gospel is a great text for Lent if we consider that Lent is traditionally the season of preparation for those who will be baptized at Easter. This is the season of instruction for the candidates who will be asked, “Do you wish to be baptized?” To answer “yes” each candidate ought to know into whom or what he or she is being attached through the sacrament of baptism. If you want to get to know Jesus, this is a powerful reading. The scene is full…

Our Lives of Faith Are Our Response to What God Did When We were God’s Enemies

March 19, 2017
Romans 5:1-11     Third Sunday of Lent     March 19, 2017   Paul writes to the Jesus people at Rome: [W]e have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. Then what Paul writes is truly shocking: And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, …  Can I just pause here to allow that to sink in?  Our sufferings!  [W]e also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and…

Nick at Night

March 12, 2017
  John 3:1-22     Second Sunday in Lent When you are in the dark, how do you feel?  Do you feel at peace, enveloped by the quiet?  Are you unsettled and afraid? Does darkness feel more secure than what you might discover in the light, or vice-versa?  Are there things you would rather do in the night? Nicodemus came to Jesus in the dark of the night.  Of course, they had just changed the clocks, so now it was dark an hour earlier than it was the day before.  Try explaining that to your dogs. Here’s what happened before setting…

Returning To Be the Human Beings God Has Created Us To Be

March 5, 2017
Matthew 4:1-11     First Sunday of Lent     March 5, 2017   I’m going to be very Lutheran today!  We are sinners, all of us.  That is because “we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.”[1]  At the same time, simultaneously, we are saints.  That is not because of anything we have done.  It is accomplished purely through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  “God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ.  By grace you have been saved.”[2]  This is fundamental Lutheran…

What Kind of Crazy Are You?

March 1, 2017
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 Ash Wednesday  What kind of crazy are you? This is the question we should be asking on our first date, so states Alain de Botton in his article, Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.  Apparently, this is either people’s most deep seated fear, or their dreadful reality; this was the most read article of 2016 in the New York Times.[1] Please note that Botton uses the term “crazy” without prejudice or disrespect, and not intending offense to those with mental illness.  He writes, “…we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try…

Proclamations by Three Members of the Lutheran Student Association at the College of William and Mary

February 27, 2017
Matthew 17:1-9     Transfiguration Sunday     LSA Sunday   I. Brittany Acors.  Brittany is a junior, double majoring in Biology and Religious Studies. Our readings today all have something in common: people—some ordinary, some not so much—are called up on a mountain to receive something amazing.  Moses receives the commandments, the author of 2 Peter was with Jesus on the mountain, and Jesus brings his followers to the mountain to see him transfigured and declared greater than even Moses and Elijah.  Everyone stands in awe as they receive the word of the Lord in person.  Nowadays, hearing the voice…

Looking for Loopholes

February 12, 2017
  Matthew 5:21-37     6th Sunday After Epiphany   W.C. Fields, the great comedian known for his womanizing and drinking, was a self-admitted agnostic, and so it surprised his friend, Gene Fowler, to find Fields reading the Bible. ”’What are you doing, Bill?’ asked the incredulous Fowler.  ‘I’m looking for loopholes,’ Fields whispered.”[1] W.C. Fields isn’t the only one to look for an easier way out.   Years ago, I attended one of my husband’s high school reunions in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.  Griff’s friends gathered around to greet us.  He introduced me and told them that I, his wife, was a…

Your Light Shall Rise in the Darkness

February 5, 2017
Isaiah 58:1-12, 1 Corinthians 2:1-16, Matthew 5:13-20 Fifth Sunday after Epiphany (Lectionary 5) In my reading this week, I was struck by this passage from Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”[1]  It’s amazing how Paul’s warning is so applicable to us today. Tuesday mornings, our local pastors gather to talk about the readings for the coming Sunday.  In recent weeks, politics and their effect…

Doing Justice, Loving Kindness and Walking Humbly With Our God

January 30, 2017
Micah 6:1-8     Fourth Sunday after Epiphany (Lectionary 4)     January 29, 2017   Do you know what God desires?  God desires that all of creation will flourish.  That is the consistent witness throughout the Bible. God desires that all human and animal creatures, that all fish and birds, that all vegetation will flourish in interdependence.  That is the point of the two creation stories in the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible.[1] God desires that all human beings will flourish.[2]  That is why God called Abraham and Sarah to become the parents of a nation of blessing…