Sermon: Epiphany 3 RCL A – “Purpose”

That summer, no one living along the bayou could catch any fish except old Boudreaux. Knowing Boudreaux, the game warden thought something might be up, so he asked him how he did it. Boudreaux told the game warden that he would take him fishing the next day and show him. Once they got to the middle of the lake, Boudreaux took out a stick of dynamite, lit it, and threw it in the water. After the explosion fish started floating to the surface. Boudreaux took out a net and started scooping them up. When he had them all gathered, he looked back at the game warden who was just sitting there with his mouth opened, too stunned to even speak. Finally getting his wits back, he started hollering at Boudreaux, “You can’t fish like that. It is so illegal that I’m hauling you into jail this very moment.” Boudreaux sat there for a moment, then he took out another stick of dynamite, lit it, and handing it to the game warden asked, “You gonna fish or you gonna talk?” Continue reading “Sermon: Epiphany 3 RCL A – “Purpose””

Sermon: Confession of St. Peter

Rev. Gaspard Mermillod, he died in 1892, was a cardinal in the Catholic church and early in his career he served in a parish in Geneva. He was an extremely devout man and was known for his preaching on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

It was his practice, at the end of each day, to lock the doors of the church then go to the altar where the reserved sacrament was held and tend the sanctuary lamp. Following this, “When he had carefully looked after everything, he knelt on the altar steps for a short time, after which he made a reverent genuflection, kissed the floor as a sign of profound reverence before the Most Holy Sacrament and then returned home.” This was his daily practice. However, one evening, he was interrupted.

Following the prayers, genuflection, and kiss, even though the doors were locked and he believed he was alone, he heard a noise behind him. Turning, he saw a distinguished young woman coming out of the confessional. “What are you doing here at this hour, Lady?” asked Mermillod. Continue reading “Sermon: Confession of St. Peter”

Sermon: Epiphany 2 RCL A – “Held Captive”

Some of you had the opportunity to meet Dumb Dumb. He was my big white standard poodle. I call him Dumb Dumb, be he showed moments genius, like the time I had him up at the church I served in Billings. It was midnight Christmas Eve mass. I’m reading the Gospel of shepherds, when I hear the very distinctive tinkling of his tags. It’s then that he trots into the sanctuary, sits down directly in front me (while I’m reading), and says, “Hey. What’s up?” However, some of his other achievements suggest that there wasn’t a lot going on upstairs. For example, it took a hot cup of coffee to free him from a fence post after he decided to lick it when it was minus 16 degrees. And then there was the time I was doing some home improvements. For six weeks I had the kitchen blocked off with a piece of plywood to keep the dust down and for six weeks, more than once a day, in fact, many times a day, every day, the daffy dog would charge around the corner and crash into that piece of plywood. He just could not remember that it was there. Continue reading “Sermon: Epiphany 2 RCL A – “Held Captive””

Sermon: Julia Chester Emery / United Thank Offering

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany. In 1521, he was excommunicated from the church. What followed was a war between the protestants and the Roman Emperor who was in support of the Roman Catholic church. These wars claimed many lives, but peace was somewhat established in 1555 with the settlement known as the Peace of Augsburg, a part of which stated that the local German princes would have say over the religious preference of their individual realms, of which there were 224. This relative peace lasted for about 65 years until Ferdinand II was elected Holy Roman Emperor. Once elected, he tried to impose his Roman Catholic beliefs on everyone, which caused revolts in the German protestant north and was the spark that in 1618 ignited the 30 Years War in Europe. By the end, in 1648, the war had claimed some 8 million victims. Continue reading “Sermon: Julia Chester Emery / United Thank Offering”

Sermon: RCL A – “The Baptism of Our Lord”

No, I’m not going to talk about politics, but one politician has recently brought up the idea of term limits, laws stating that politicians can only hold a particular office for so many years (the humorous part of the law he proposed was that it would not apply to any current politicians. Funny how our law makers so often make laws that apply to everybody but themselves. This could get ugly. Never mind.), but I actually think that term limits are a pretty good idea. I also think they are a good idea for church politics, but that would be another rant, so… never mind again. But on term limits, my thought process tells me that if they weren’t in office for too long, then they wouldn’t have the opportunity to pass too many silly laws.

If term limits didn’t work on the passing of silly laws, then I recently came across a more permanent solution that I think would. It seems in Ancient Greece, in order to prevent statesmen from passing idiotic laws upon the people, lawmakers were asked to introduce all new laws while standing on a platform with a rope tied around their neck. If the law passed, the rope was removed. If the law failed, the platform was removed. If nothing else, it would demonstrate the level of commitment one has for what they say or propose; and would certainly bring new meaning to the expression, “Putting your neck on the line.” Continue reading “Sermon: RCL A – “The Baptism of Our Lord””

Sermon: RCL A / The Epiphany – “Example of the Magi”

A traveling salesman reports: In a small Southern town there was a nativity scene that indicated great skill and talent in its creation. One small feature bothered me though. The three wise men were wearing firemen’s helmets. Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left. At a “Quik Stop” on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets. She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, “You darn Yankees never do read the Bible!” I assured her that I did, but simply couldn’t recall anything about firemen in the Bible. She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a particular passage. Sticking it in my face she said, Continue reading “Sermon: RCL A / The Epiphany – “Example of the Magi””

Sermon: Christmas Feria – “Whatever is…”

Dr. Edward Miller was the Dean of the Medical Faculty at the medical school and CEO of the hospital of Johns Hopkins University, and he conducted a study on those who have had heart surgery in order to eliminate various heart conditions related to poor lifestyle choices.

His study stated that there are approximately 2,000,000 bypass and angioplasty surgeries per year in the United States at an approximate cost $120,000 each. Of those, only half of the patients will remain healthy for more than a year. Why? Because 8 out of 9 of them will not change their diet, exercise, etc. that got them into that condition in the first place. What is Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Continue reading “Sermon: Christmas Feria – “Whatever is…””

Sermon: Christmas Day RCL A – “Light”

Bilbo Baggins, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, was stuck in the cave with Gollum and they began their riddling contest. After a few, Gollum put the following riddle to Bilbo:

“It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt,
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills,
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.”

Any guesses, My Preciouses? Continue reading “Sermon: Christmas Day RCL A – “Light””

Sermon: Christmas Eve RCL A – “Hiding”

A telemarketer called a home one day and Little Johnny answered. In a small voice Johnny whispered, “Hello?” The telemarketer said, “Hello! What’s your name?” Still whispering, the voice said, “Johnny.” “How old are you, Johnny?” “I’m four.” “Good. Is your mother home?” “Yes, but she’s busy.” “Okay, is your daddy home?” “He’s busy too.” “I see, who else is there?” “The police.” “The police? May I speak with one of them?” “They’re busy.” “Any other grown-ups there?” “The firemen.” “May I speak with a fireman, please?” “They’re all busy.” “Johnny, all those people in your house, and I can’t talk with any of them? What are they doing?” With a little snicker and a bit too gleefully Johnny whispered, “Looking for me.” Continue reading “Sermon: Christmas Eve RCL A – “Hiding””