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

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…

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…

Anger Management

August 9, 2015
Ephesians 4:25-5:2 Time after Pentecost--Lectionary 19               August 9, 2015   Just as finding Halloween related goods in stores alongside back-to-school supplies alongside Fourth of July decorations makes me shudder, so does the early onset of another season. Unlike the obvious nature of those occasions, this one starts out subtly. You can recognize it when you begin to hear things like, “Mary voted to take away your gun rights. Michelle funded organizations linked to terrorists. Mitch took $600,000 from anti-coal groups. John met with terrorists.” Without regard to political affiliation, these are some…

What is It?

August 2, 2015
Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15, John 6:24-35     Time After Pentecost – Lectionary 18   My husband, who is from Rocky Mount, NC, moved to Philadelphia, where I had been born and raised. Out for breakfast one morning, before I became a vegetarian, I ordered scrapple. Griff asked, “What is it?” He has since determined that scrapple is made from the sweepings from a butcher shop floor. When we took a trip south, he ordered grits and I asked, “What is it?” Grits, well, I suppose they are better for you than floor sweepings, but I never quite acquired a taste for…

Trusting God, Watching for What God is Doing, Cooperating with What God is Doing

July 26, 2015
Time After Pentecost – Lectionary 17     John 6:1-21    July 26, 2015   Jesus presents Philip with an insoluble problem.  We’re six chapters into the story of Jesus, in John’s gospel.  Jesus has been doing some miraculous things.  At a wedding, in the town of Cana, Jesus turned water into wine![1]  He healed a royal official’s son just by saying some words, without even laying his eyes on the boy![2]  And there must be even more healings that Jesus has been performing, because: A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for…

R & R

July 19, 2015
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56  Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 16        July 19, 2015    “Come, all by yourselves, and rest for a while.” Jesus was responding to the disciples after they had told him all that they had done. When have you gone away for vacation? This week, I was on the beach for a day and a half in Duck, NC, researching our texts for today. Does that qualify? According to an article I read recently, a survey by the U.S. Travel Association found that Americans take fewer vacation days than they did 15 years ago.…

What Is The Work God Wants You To Do?

July 12, 2015
 Amos 7:7-15     Time After Pentecost – Lectionary 15    July 12, 2015   Amos is plaintive in his protest!  Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, is confronting Amos because Amos’ prophecies are upsetting the comfortable status quo.  Amaziah is saying that Amos needs to go away from there, to upset people in some other place.  Amos says, in reply, “I can’t.  And, just to let you know, I don’t want to be doing this!  God is making me do it!”  Or, as we actually read in the text: Then Amos answered Amaziah, "I am no prophet, nor a…

Belief and Unbelief, Repentance and Rejection

July 5, 2015
Time After Pentecost – Lectionary 14 Mark 6:1-13 July 5, 2015 It’s always interesting to read what’s actually in the Bible. In this morning’s stories from the gospel of Mark, do you notice what’s going on? These are stories of rejection! Nearly everyone rejects Jesus in his hometown, and Jesus has to prepare his missionaries to deal with rejection when they go out into the surrounding villages. As the gospel writer of Mark tells the story, Jesus has been teaching and healing and performing miracles. He has even stilled a storm! Now Jesus has come back home. Here’s the…