The Church is like a family and we all have a sense how things operate and our rolls. When something outside of the church family enters in or if something within the church family changes and introduces discord, then like our families at home, the church will work to restore balance and a sense of harmony. Over time, if that balance is not restored, if those negative catalyst continue to impact the church, then you will see a falling apart, because at that stage, the disquiet at church is also affecting person’s personal life; and so, in order to restore the balance in their own life, they will cut out the area causing the disquiet. However, the disquiet is not always bad, because it can bring needed change. And, as I’m certain you are aware, this swing in the balance of the church has occurred almost continuously since its beginning. During the 17th century, within the Church of England, we saw a rather dramatic swing take place with the rise of a more radical protestantism and latitudinarianism. Continue reading “Sermon: John Keble”
Clotile would haul Boudreaux to church every Sunday morning and make him sit on the front row with her, because, as she liked to remind him on a regular basis, “It was probably as close to Jesus and heaven as he was ever going to get.”
Well one Sunday, as the preacher of the First Atchafalaya Church of the Redeemer was getting his second wind about 30 minutes into the sermon, wouldn’t you know it, but Satan appeared. Seeing who it was, the preacher, Clotile, and all the parishioners were crawling out windows and trampling one another in a frantic effort to get out of there. All except Boudreaux who just sat there calmly staring up at the Devil with a very disinterested look on his face. Continue reading “Sermon: Lent 4 RCL A – “Mark””
In our study of the Gospels there are always certain characters, outside of Jesus, that grab our attention. There is of course Jesus’ mother, Mary, the disciples, John the Baptist, and even some of the antagonist – Pilate, Herod, the religious leaders. But is seems to me there is always one that fades into the background – Joseph, Jesus’ earthly “step-father.” Perhaps that is where he prefers to be, in the background, but as the head of the Holy Family, he should be looked to as one of the primary figures in the life of our Savior.
What do we know about him? He was a carpenter, which was honest work and a good trade. He was older than Mary and likely very respected in the community. I don’t think he was wealthy, but given his work he was likely comfortable. It would seem that his life was probably rather uncomplicated, right up until the time that he discovers Mary is pregnant. Because they were not yet married, everyone – including Joseph – assumed that Mary had committed adultery; therefore, Joseph could have accused her and she would have been stoned to death, but instead he decides he will quietly walk away. Yet, the angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” So instead of walking away, Joseph did as the angel had instructed him. Continue reading “Sermon: Joseph”
When he was about thirty, Napoleon Bonaparte became a part of the First Consul of the French government. Five years later, he became the Emperor, crowned by Pope Pius VII at the cathedral in Notre Dame. It was about this same time when the Napoleonic Wars began to rage across Europe and would not end for over a decade. It is estimated that up to 6.5 million people died as a result of those wars.
Throughout these wars, various coalitions would form in an attempt to resist the French invaders, but it was not until the seventh coalition that they were successful in defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Continue reading “Sermon: Lent 3 RCL A – “The Blessed Virgin Mary””
King Frederick II, an eighteenth-century king of Prussia, was visiting a prison in Berlin. While there, the inmates tried to prove to him how they had been unjustly imprisoned. All except one.
That one sat quietly in a corner, while all the rest protested their innocence. Seeing him sitting there oblivious to the commotion, the king asked him what he was convicted of. “Armed robbery, Your Honor.” The king asked, “Were you guilty?” “Yes, Sir,” he answered. “I entirely deserve my punishment.” The king then gave an order to the guard: “Release this guilty man. I don’t want him corrupting all these innocent people.”
Today, as we continue to look at the witnesses of the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord, I would like for us to consider the Apostle Peter, but I would like to begin by recalling the few episodes we have of Judas Iscariot during this same timeframe. Continue reading “Sermon: Lent 2 RCL A – “Peter””
Once the Devil was walking along with one of his cohorts. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. “What did he find?” asked the cohort. “A piece of the truth,” the Devil replied. “Doesn’t it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?” asked the cohort. “No,” said the Devil, “I will see to it that he makes an idol out of it.”
You have heard of the Council of Nicea. It took place in the year 325. It was there that the Nicene Creed was established. To us today, the discussion may sound a bit tedious, but in them, the participants were in fact looking for the truth. Continue reading “Sermon: Gregory of Nyssa”
“Son,” ordered a father, “Don’t swim in that canal.”
“OK, Dad,” he answered. But he came home carrying a wet bathing suit that evening.
“Where have you been?” demanded the father.
“Swimming in the canal,” answered the boy.
“Didn’t I tell you not to swim there?” asked the father.
“Yes, Sir,” answered the boy.
“Why did you?” he asked.
“Well, Dad,” he explained, “I had my bathing suit with me and I couldn’t resist the temptation.”
“Why did you take your bathing suit with you?” he questioned.
“So I’d be prepared to swim, in case I was tempted,” he replied. Continue reading “Sermon: RCL A Lent 1 – “Mary Magdalene””
George Sweeting, former President of Moody Bible Institute and author tells the following story: “Several years ago our family visited Niagara Falls. It was spring, and ice was rushing down the river. As I viewed the large blocks of ice flowing toward the falls, I could see that there were carcasses of dead fish embedded in the ice. Gulls by the score were riding down the river feeding on the fish. As they came to the brink of the falls, their wings would go out, and they would escape from the falls. “I watched one gull which seemed to delay and wondered when it would leave. It was engrossed in the carcass of a fish, and when it finally came to the brink of the falls, out went its powerful wings. The bird flapped and flapped and even lifted the ice out of the water, and I thought it would escape. But it had delayed too long so that its claws had frozen into the ice. The weight of the ice was too great, and the gull plunged into the abyss.” Continue reading “Sermon: RCL A – Ash Wednesday”
Rabbi Cohen was tasked with teaching a class at the Beth Israel Hebrew School and he decided to discuss the sanctuary’s new magnificent stained glass windows, and tried to draw out a message for the children. “Like the pictures in the windows,” said Rabbi Cohen, “Each of you represent one window, but together as a community we make a whole picture.”
The Rabbi continued, “You see each one of you is like a little pane in the greater stained glass window.” And then pointing to each child, he said, ”You’re a little pane. And you’re a little pane. And you’re a little pane. And…” Continue reading “Sermon: Last Epiphany RCL A – Transfiguration”