Sermons on Reign of God

Hearing the Full Song

The world is, in my mind, divided into two kinds of people – those who hear background music and those who don’t. I am in the latter group. I can be shopping with Jill and she will start humming a song and ask whether I remember it – and when I ask what made her think of it she says, “They’re playing it now – can’t you hear it?” and then yes I can discern the melody above my thoughts…

Incarnation Now

This morning we gather to remember and celebrate the incarnation – the time when God became human. We remember the baby Jesus coming out of the womb, wet, bloody and probably yelling; and his young mother wrapping him tightly and placing him in the manger. Sometimes I realize that I’m thinking of Jesus the Christ as being a part of God that somehow got detached. Rather like when you take a snip of a geranium and plant it and it…

Emmanuel in hard times

Luke 2:1-14(15-20) What a year its been! Or more accurately, what a nine months it’s been! For just about as long as Mary was pregnant with Jesus, we have been living with the coronavirus and the restrictions, fear. Illness and death that it has brought. And so we come to this special night: the night when we remember the birth of Jesus the Christ as a tiny baby in the Middle East. When I think of the Middle East I…

Saints, Heretics and Misfits

Revelation 7:9-17 1 John 3:1-3 Matthew 5:1-12 Good morning saints of God! Today, All Saints Day, is the day that we remember those who have gone before us in the reign if God – those who have formed us and made us who we are – those who have taught us and those who have shown us how to follow Jesus. And the astonishing thing is that, in the mystical communion of saints, although they are physically gone from us…

Holiness

On Tuesday mornings, we are currently reading and reflecting on a book by Richard Foster which describes different strands or emphases in Christian thinking. This week we talked about the Holiness tradition. Now I had seen it as being about rules of behavior and associated it with anti-gay sentiment. But Foster sees it quite differently. For him holiness is about virtuous living, it is about being Christ in the world. And he says, “virtue is good habits we can rely…

Be Careful What You Pray For

Isaiah 45:1-7 Matthew 22:15-22   There is an old admonition:  Be careful what you pray for. So, in today’s collect what DID we just pray for? Do we dare go back and check it out?   “Almighty and everlasting God, Preserve the works of your mercy”… That’s us. Preserve us. Not make everything happy, happy, well and wonderful; But in other words, help us to stay alive, intact, free from decay, Not rancid, sour, putrid, rotten. And why are we…

Staying Peaceful in the Crowd

Philippians 4:1-9 Matthew 22:1-14 This is a difficult parable isn’t it? The Kingdom of heaven is like a king who when people don’t show up to his son’s wedding and some of them even shoot the messenger, he becomes enraged and sends homeland security to kill them and burn their cities. Then he sends out his slaves again to invite people to his feast and having seen what happened to the first group of guests, everyone shows up. Now we…

Justice, justice

Jonah 3:4–10 Luke 10:25–37 In our Thursday Bible Study group we have started a study of Paul’s letter to the Romans which is an important yet difficult book. It inspired Luther to rebel against the Catholic church, and has spawned hundreds if not thousands of commentaries. It starts with a sweeping condemnation of all Gentiles rapidly followed by a sweeping condemnation of all Jews. The wrath of God is visited upon everyone. Only after we are thoroughly crushed does Paul…