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

Losing Your Life

September 16, 2018
Mark 8:27-38 Lectionary 24 ~  17thSunday after Pentecost What kind of investor are you?  How much are you willing to risk in order to gain? Are you conservative, hiding your dollar bills under your mattress?  Are you one who takes risks, helping to fund speculative start-up companies?  Maybe you keep your money in safe savings accounts, or certificates of deposit. I’m only asking because in our reading today Jesus talks about saving, and losing, profit and gain, forfeit and return. We also hear about suffering and rejection, denying ourselves, picking up our cross, being killed and losing our life. …

What Is God Doing in the Interruptions — Breaking In, Opening You Up, Drawing You More Deeply Into God?

September 9, 2018
Mark 7:24-37     Lectionary 23     Pentecost 16     September 9, 2018   How do you do with interruptions?  Think of when you’re intent on what you’re doing, focused on your agenda – and you’re interrupted.  Does that make you frustrated?  Impatient? Isn’t that what’s happening to Jesus, in this morning’s story in the gospel of Mark? So far in the story, as Mark presents it, Jesus has been quite intent and even urgent in his agenda.  It’s stirking how often we come across the word, “immediately.”  Jesus is conscious that he is embodying the kingdom of God; he is speaking…

Hearing and Doing the Word

September 2, 2018
James 1:17-27     Lectionary 22     Pentecost 15     September 2, 2018   We spend the next five weeks reading the book of James in worship.  It’s a New Testament book that Martin Luther did not care for.  When Luther translated the Bible into German, he took James out of the New Testament and put it in an appendix!  That’s because James emphasizes works rather than grace.  James would form us to think we can save ourselves by what we do.[1] Lutherans are guided, instead, by what St. Paul writes in his letters in the New Testament.  Paul makes it clear: it…

Do You Also Wish to Go Away

August 26, 2018
John 6:56-69 14thSunday after Pentecost ~ Lectionary 21 This is our fifth Sunday reading from the 6thChapter of John’s Gospel.   Have you had your fill of bread yet?  This series of readings began with a large crowd following Jesus because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick [John 6:2b].  They were with him all day watching him heal and hearing him teach. When it got time for dinner, Jesus wanted to feed the people, rather than to send them away.  You remember the story.  A boy shared all the food he had.  Jesus gave thanks…

Knowledge and Wisdom

August 20, 2018
  Ephesians 5:15-20, John 6:51-58  Lectionary 20  Pentecost 13   Knowledge and wisdom are two attributes that our society values.  Access to knowledge is easier today than ever before.  Books, documentaries, and the internet are readily available resources, as long as you can discern fact from fiction.  Having knowledge does not necessarily make a person wise. There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.  That a tomato is a fruit is knowledge.  Not putting tomatoes in a fruit salad is wisdom. The dictionary defines wisdom as the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments. …

Receiving Nourishment for the Journey

August 12, 2018
1 Kings 19:4-8; Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2; John 6:35, 41-51     Lectionary 19     Pentecost 12     August 12, 2018 Jesus speaks this invitation: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."  Those are Jesus’ first words in the gospel of Mark, the gospel we’re reading most Sundays during this liturgical year. The kingdom is present, in Christ!  It is given to us, by God! What does it look like to repent – to turn away from what makes for death, to turn towards this good news of Christ?  What…


August 5, 2018
John 6:24-35     Ordinary Time ~ Lectionary 18   Beginning with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish, Jesus fed all of them, more than five thousand people.  They ate until they were satisfied, we are told, and there were leftovers to boot. When daylight came, the people went looking for Jesus. Where could he have gone? His disciples were missing, too!  Soon, they decided to expand their search. The crowds got into boats and sailed to the other side of the sea where they finally found Jesus. In their encounter, we hear the questions that that they had—lots of questions.…

We Are What We Eat

July 29, 2018
  John 6:1-21     Time after Pentecost ~ Lectionary 17 Signs are helpful, most of the time.  They give directions so that we know what to expect. Some signs are very clear, like the one in a coffeehouse that reads, “Unaccompanied children will be given an espresso and a puppy.”  Signs tell us which direction we need to go to get to our destination.  Sometimes signs are not well understood. If you are directionally challenged, which I am, signs can be confusing. Have you been to where Route 60, Francis Street, Lafayette, and Page Street meet?  Signs can be misinterpreted,…

Gathering Around Jesus

July 22, 2018
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56     Lectionary 16     Pentecost 9     July 22, 2018   Did you know that there are “sandwiches” in the gospel of Mark? No, I’m not talking about the food that anyone is eating, in these stories about Jesus!  “Sandwich” is the term Biblical scholars use to describe how Mark tells the stories of Jesus.  As you read through the gospel of Mark, you come to notice how the writer often begins one story, then inserts a second story into the middle of the “sandwich” and tells that entire story, and then finishes the first story. We’ve seen…