Ready or Not – A Sermon on Matthew 25:1-13

  I’m going to start today by summing up both of our Scripture readings in one sentence: Get ready. In Joshua, the question is whether the people are ready for the covenant. Are you ready for a relationship with this God? Are you ready for a religion that may cost you? Because if you commit…

“All Together Now” – A Sermon on Revelation 7:9-17

  Yesterday I saw “This Random Life” at the Ensemble Theater. It’s a play about people who feel very disconnected from the people who are supposedly closest to them. A brother and sister who annoy, resent, and worry about each other by turns. Their mother who hides the reality of her life from them to…

Emotion and Christian Discipleship – a sermon on Psalm 145:1-8

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just wake up thinking like that every day? If we could just be filled all the time with wonder at the world around us and awe of the creator? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we constantly overflowed with joy and delight in what God is doing? Well, maybe….

A Sermon on Genesis 29:15-28

**Throughout this sermon, there are repeated references to “turning the story,” a phrase which came from the Children’s Message. We looked at pictures that, from one perspective, seem to be people hanging precariously from cliffs or walking on their hands up impossible inclines. When turned, the pictures reveal that the people are lying on the…

“God’s Soft Spot for Strangers” – A Sermon on Matthew 9:35-10:14

One of the most ubiquitous and enduring lessons of childhood in the U.S. is, “Don’t talk to strangers.” I’m not sure that was always true, but for the last several decades, parents have warned their kids of “stranger danger.”  This is a week when I’ve been especially conscious of how dangerous strangers can be. The…

A Sermon on Romans 8:19-23

Romans 8:19-23 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and…

A Pentecost Sermon on Acts 2:1-21

A liturgical year ago, last Pentecost, I had the honor of preaching at a friend’s ordination in Michigan. Ordinations are always festive; all the clergy dress up in red and process down the aisles, and the candidate gets to pick all their favorite music, and everyone is usually really happy, and there’s lots of laughing…

Living Legacies – A Sermon on John 17:1-11

It’s been a bad couple of years for musicians dying. Last year we lost George Michael, Leonard Cohen, and Prince, among others. This week, Gregg Allman died. Last week it was Chris Cornell, who hit me the hardest of all. I’m at the tail end of Gen X, a generation who has lost most of…

“A Bunch of Nobodies” – a sermon on 1 Peter 2:2-10

1 Peter 2:2-10 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into…

Lectionary Blogging – Easter 5A

On Sunday I began my call as the pastor of the Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. In moving from an associate position to that of a solo pastor, I have shifted the focus of my work pretty significantly; one of the most notable changes is that instead of roughly twelve sermons a year,…

Getting Specific – A Sermon on Luke 10:25-37

I suspect that for many of you, this has been a tough week. It has been for me. The daily death toll – first Alton Sterling, then Philando Castile, then the five police officers in Dallas – has left me somehow with too many and not enough words. And then the news and the internet…