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

In Community With Each Other, Sinners and Saints

October 4, 2015
Mark 10:2-16; Genesis 2:18-24    Time After Pentecost     Lectionary 27     October 4, 2015   Pope Francis has returned home and I’m remembering one of the saddest moments of his visit.  A woman approached him, in tears, feeling rejected by her church.  You see, she was divorced from her first husband.  Then she re-married, and that has excommunicated her from receiving the Eucharist.  She is an adulterer!  Doesn’t it say so, in our gospel passage this morning?  “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits…

Rabble Rousers

September 27, 2015
  Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29   Time After Pentecost-Lectionary 26   September 27, 2015   “The rabble among them had a strong craving…” You might remember the rabble from Cecil B. DeMille’s movie The Ten Commandments. Charleston Heston portrayed Moses. The rabble were represented by Edward G. Robinson. Robinson’s famous line from the movie asked, “Yeah, Moses, where is your God now?” The rabble were the people on the journey but who did not believe in the journey, and in our reading this morning, they are instigators. It only takes a few people to get the whole group grumbling. Before…

Disappointing Jesus

September 20, 2015
Mark 9:30-37 Time After Pentecost-Lectionary 24    September 20, 2015     Nadia Bolz-Weber , pastor of the ELCA congregation named House for All Sinners and Saints, has a “regular spiritual practice of warning people.”[1] At a brunch for newcomers, she told those who had recently joined the congregation that they needed to hear something. Pastor Bolz-Weber then went on to say, “This church will disappoint you. Or I will fail to meet your expectations or I’ll say something stupid and hurt your feelings. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when. Welcome to House for All Sinners and…

A Way of Life — One Particular Practice: Listening and Speaking as a Follower of Jesus

September 13, 2015
James 3:1-12     Time After Pentecost     Lectionary 24     September 13, 2015   Listen to an arresting teaching.   You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness.[1]  That’s one of the first verses in the letter of James.  It sounds a key note for the rest of the letter, which we’ve been reading on recent Sunday mornings. I am quick to say that “your anger does not produce God’s righteousness” unless it is truly righteous anger!  When someone is angry because she…

A Way of Life

September 6, 2015
James 2:1-17     Time After Pentecost     Lectionary 23     September 6, 2015   Are you a good Christian? Do you have to stop and think before you answer that question?  (I would have to!)  What is a “good Christian?” Some of you know that I actually try not to use the word, “Christian!”  That’s because it repels many who are outside of the church.  Many in our culture think of a “Christian” as someone who is holier-than-thou; living a life of “thou shalt nots”; someone who doesn’t enjoy himself; who is anti-gay; judgmental towards those who don’t have the…

Loving What God Commands

August 30, 2015
Mark 7:1-8. 14-15, 21-23; Psalm 119 Time After Pentecost     Lectionary 22     September 30, 2015   With my whole heart I seek you;             do not let me stray from your commandments.   I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.   Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes.   With my lips I declare all the ordinances of your mouth.   I delight in the way of your decrees as much as in all riches.   I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your…

Homily for Nancy Rivolta’s Memorial Service

August 29, 2015
  Isaiah 61:1-3, Psalm 121, Matthew 25:31-46 August 29, 2015   You can’t help but love a woman who wanted the song “God Save the Queen” and a New Orleans style jazz parade complete with marching band at her memorial service! (I hate to disappoint all of you, but the marching band is not coming!) Her wishes are a window into who Nancy was. She was the woman John fell in love with when he met her at Albany Medical Center where he worked in the pharmacy and she was a student nurse. Nancy was a determined woman, who…

Hungering and Thirsting for Life in Christ

August 23, 2015
Time After Pentecost – Lectionary 21     John 6:[52-55]56-69     August 23, 2015   For what do you hunger?  For what do you thirst? Our hungers and thirsts can be literal.  Early in the summer, when some friends and I were riding our fully-loaded touring bicycles for a couple of hundred miles up and down the mountains of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it was essential to eat large quantities of food and to drink great amounts of water for our bodies to continue to function!  Indeed, while we were demanding so much of our bodies, we had to pay…

Given for You

August 17, 2015
  John 6:51-58         Time after Pentecost—Lectionary 20 “Eat my flesh….Whoever eats me will live because of me.” It sounds like cannibalism. Saying, “I am the bread that came down from heaven” was provocative enough. Then Jesus says, “Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” How offensive is this? People asked, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” This same question has been asked over and over again ever since, and exactly what this means continues to be a…