Monday, January 23, 2017

Do Not Hide Your Face From Me (1/22/17)
He Qi, Calling Disciples

On Sunday, January 22, all of the members of the Belle Vernon Area Ministerium addressed the heroin epidemic in our community. In my sermon I told the story of Casey Schwartzmier, a young woman who died from a heroin overdose. We examined the image of light in the darkness in the Isaiah passage and Christ's call to discipleship in the Gospel of Matthew, and how those scriptures call us to act.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Auto-Pilot (1/15/17)

Martyr Vitale and Christ as the Judge (detail)

This Sunday we considered this period of transition in the life of Rehoboth Presbyterian Church, the ways in which congregations can cruise along on auto-pilot, and the ways in which these scriptures speak into that reality.
Called to Serve (1/8/17)

Baptism of Christ, mosaic, detail, from Ravenna Baptistery
On Sunday, January 8th, we ordained and installed new Ruling Elders and Deacons. On the same day, we celebrated the baptism of our Lord. It was very appropriate that both events were celebrated in worship, along with the Lord's Supper.
Christmas in the Trenches (12/24/16)

British and German troops celebrate Christmas along the Western Front, 1914.

I wanted to tell a different kind of story this Christmas Eve, the story of the Christmas truce during the First World War. This is an amazing story and it only happened in 1914. This sermon was inspired by John McCutcheon's song of the same title. I've posted a video of the song at the end of my meditation.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Will Follow (12/18/16)
Georges du Mesnil de La Tour, The Angel Visiting Joseph in a Dream

As I considered today’s gospel story of the angel's visit to Joseph, the song that kept running through my head was “I Will Follow,” by U2.
Preparing for Joy (12/11/16)
Hieronymus Bosch, John the Baptist in the Wilderness

On the third Sunday of Advent we considered the difference between happiness and joy, including some images from popular culture such as a song by Joni Mitchell and an episode of Seinfeld.
Preparing for Peace (12/4/16)
 Jesus MAFA, John the Baptist Preaching in the Desert

Peace can be difficult to find during Advent. It can be difficult at any time of year. In this sermon we examine the ideas of peace, repentance, and a particular scene from the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Slip Slidin’ Away (11/27/16)
Evgeniy Viktorovich Vuchetich, Let Us Beat Our Swords into Plowshares

I borrowed my sermon title from Paul Simon this morning. It was the first Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Hope. Yet hope seems to be elusive in our world today, so the title seemed appropriate.
Father Forgive (11/20/16)
Winston Churchill visits the remains of Coventry Cathedral in 1941.
On November 20, 2016 we celebrated Christ the King Sunday. We examined Jesus' call for forgiveness. I also told the story of Coventry Cathedral. It's an amazing story and there are some good pictures in this blog post. 
The Wolf and the Lamb Shall Feed Together (11/13/16)
Edward Hicks, Peaceable Kingdom

On November 13, 2016 we looked at a text from Isaiah and a lesson from the Gospel of Luke. There is a common misperception that the Scriptures of the Old Testament pain a picture of an angry, vengeful God, while the gospels present a kinder, gentler picture of God and Jesus. These two Scriptures turn that view upside down.
For All the Saints (11/6/16)
Johann Michael Rottmayr, Karlskirche Fresco

On November 6, 2016 we observed All Saints' Day. This is one of my favorite days on the liturgical calendar. I think we often fail to recognize some of the everyday saints in our lives, so this day gives us a chance to remember all the saints of the church. My sermon begins with a memory of my grandmother, Ora.
Don’t Want Not Short People (10/30/16)

Niels Larsen Stevns, Zacchaeus

On October 30 2016, we examined the story of Zacchaeus. I can't hear this story without thinking of Randy Newman's song, "Short People." I also can't hear this story without thinking of my Aunt Laurie. She was very short, too, but that's only one reason why I think of her. Read on to find out more. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Model Relationships (10/16/2016)
Eugene Delacroix, Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

I never cease to be amazed by the connections I find within the Presbyterian Church. I have a cousin in the congregation that I'm currently serving. I also have members in this congregation who are related to a member in the last congregation I served. Now if the two churches were only a few miles apart, this wouldn't be a great surprise, but they're more than 25 miles apart! This connection is where we begin the discussion of the story of Jacob wrestling with God.