Our Liturgical year actually begins on 30 November 2014 this year. You’ll find the last five sermons of the year on the 2015 Sermons – Year B page above.
23 November 2014 – Proper 29: Canon Gatza returns to the pulpit this Sunday with a comment on a favorite stained glass window, and old Lutheran joke, and ultimately to unpack the Judgment Scene in Matthew 25.
16 November 2014 – Proper 28: Emmanuel was delighted to host the Rt. Rev’d Heather E. Cook, Bishop Suffragan of Maryland, to preside and preach for us during this Episcopal Visitation. Here are her remarks on the Parable of the Talents.
9 November 2014 – Proper 27: The Rev’d Bill Smith returns to bear the lion’s share of the load on Canon Gatza’s first Sunday back. You definitely will enjoy his take on taxes and offerings!
26 October 2014 – Proper 25: Thanks to The Rev’d Canon Dan Webster for visiting during the Rector’s absence. You get to hear the Third Sunday Band playing the Sequence Hymn around the Gospel lesson, which inspired some wonderful riffs around the two most important commandments.
19 October 2014 – Proper 24: Thanks to Fr. Bill Smith for celebrating and preaching for me at the beginning of my convalescence. You will immediately know why Emmanuel so appreciates his visits with us. Here, he holds forth on taxes and offerings.
12 October 2014 – Proper 23: A little bit about feasting and a close, verse-by-verse reading of the text allows us to see how high out of control the world seemed to Matthew, and also where the good news is at the end of a dark tunnel.
5 October 2014 – Proper 22: A surface reading of the Parable of the Tenants in the Vineyard yields a message about judgment. But the kind of outrageousness that we have come to expect from Matthew’s telling of parables is more visible when we turn it inside out and imagine the tenants as the heroes.
28 September 2014 – Proper 22: Can a line from the 1981 Ivan Reitman movie Stripes shed any light on the odd parable of the Vineyard Owner’s Sons? You betcha!
21 September 2014 – Proper 20: First a Bit about Jonah, and them some reflections on The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard which reveals a mistake that I have been making for over 20 years.
14 September 2014 – Proper 19: On this 200th anniversary of the Defense of Fort McHenry, we take a few moments to appreciate the literary skill of Francis Scott Key. It should not surprise us that one element of his poem’s form resembles a form that Jesus often uses: a movement from the particular to the general.
7 September 2014 – Proper 18: Is there another way to understand the steps Jesus recommends to stave off conflict in the Church? Would I have asked the question if there wasn’t!?
31 August 2014 – Proper 17: How quickly does the conversation about the Identity of Jesus change when Peter and others fall back on old assumptions rather than attend to the new reality.
24 August 2014 – Proper 16: Venue is important! Though most people take it very seriously, I think theconversation about the identity of the “Son of Man” and who Jesus is actually pretty funny because of its setting in Caesarea Philippi. Here’s a hint: Do you know who this is?
17 August 2014 – Proper 15: Thanks to the descriptions that Amy Richter draws in her book Enoch and the Gospel of Matthew, we discover that the encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman is much more than a miracle story. (See also 20 July’s sermon, below, based on the same book.)
27 July 2014 – Proper 12: Following up on the parable last week, it turns out that Matthew is aware of a more tangible enemy, the Roman Empire. Here is one way to understand the the selection of five short parables, each suggesting that the Kingdom of Heaven will win out over the Kingdom of Rome, both metaphorically and in reality.
20 July 2014 – Proper 11: This week’s parable concerns the weeds sown in the field of wheat. Matthew says that an “enemy” is responsible. Turns out that there is a very particular enemy that he may have in mind from an ancient story about “the Watchers.”
13 July 2014 – Proper 10: A sequence of three weeks listening to the parables of Matthew 13 begins here with the Parable of the Sower. And what does it take to understand these parables? How about a good sense of humor!
6 July 2014 – Proper 9: The illustration this week: Bog ponies. Seriously!
29 June 2014 – Proper 8: Jeremiah and St. Paul have always felt like kindred spirits to me. The worldview they shared included a vastly powerful influence that Paul, at least, identifies as Sin. Jeremiah’s confrontation with the false prophet Hananiah gives us a good illustration of that power at work in the world.
22 June 2014 – Proper 7: Welcome to “Ordinary Time,” when we quit skipping around following seasonal themes, and just read through the Gospel and the Epistles in order. And this year we are using the Old Testament lessons which match up with the Gospels. Today, a story about how the experience of visiting neighborhoods in West Baltimore gives meaning to Jesus’ injunction not to fear.
15 June 2014 – Trinity Sunday: Two different sermons that point to the same truth: what you believe really does matter! The Genesis portion was preached at the 10:00 AM service; the Athanasius portion was preached at Noon.
8 June 2014 – Pentecost: “Red or White?”
1 June 2014 – Easter 7: At the Last Supper the disciples wonder whether we can skip to the good part, to go directly to heaven rather than endure the changes and chances of the world.
25 May 2014 – Easter 6: A Memorial Day story of the Revolutionary war that illustrates the meaning of the word “Advocate.”
18 May 2014 – Easter 5: Stone for buiding and stone for slaying.
11 May 2014 – Easter 4: Canon Gatza was away this week, so our guest preacher, The Rev’d Bill Smith, wonders about the perfect church, and why we don’t live in one.
4 May 2014 – Easter 3: With the demographic lesson of last week in mind, we speculate about why the two disciples were on the road to Emmaus and what it took for them to decide to go back.
27 April 2014 – Easter 2: So … by the end of the evening, who had heard that the tomb of Jesus was empty? A little demographic exercise will help us understand the setting of Jesus’ appearance to his disciples on Easter evening.
20 April 2014 – Easter Sunday: This sermon begins with “Breaking News” from an email Press Release revealing that Jesus is about the be married! The whole scenario reminds us of many others who claim to know the real truth about what God is doing in the world. And yet, the sermon concludes, only one description of what God is doing in the world has withstood the test of time and has the power to transform, not just change lives.
And here is a copy of the Press Release, just so you know I’m not making this up!
13 April 2014 – Palm Sunday: The liturgies for this day, including the Liturgy of the Palms and the Passion reading, are sufficiently long that few preachers preach on this day. That said, the Passion of St. Matthew leaves little room for additions or explanations. It stands well enough alone.
6 April 2014 – Fifth Sunday in Lent: Did you ever notice that when Jesus heals someone or brings them back to life he almost invariably is touching them? Like last week when he made the mud with his spit. So what does it mean that Lazarus, alone in his tomb, just gets up?
30 March 2014 – Fourth Sunday in Lent: How the story of a woman born deaf and recently healed by surgery helps us to understand the story of man born blind.
23 March 2014 – Third Sunday in Lent: “Jesus met the woman at the well,” but maybe she isn’t exactly the kind you thought she was!
16 March 2014 – Second Sunday in Lent: Miscommunication is one of the tragic elements of the human condition. A little reflection on the conflict between “Roundheads” and Cavaliers from the 17th Century illuminates the difficulty in the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.
9 March 2014 – First Sunday in Lent: Though the lessons of Lent in Year A are among the most well known, sometimes a more careful reading of them will reveal new things. For example, do you really know who tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?
2 March 2014 – Last Sunday After Epiphany: After a winter as cold and grey as this one has been, we need a little light and perhaps a little humor. What would it have been like if the team at CSI Miami were to investigate the aftermath of Moses on the mountain?
23 February 2014 – Epiphany 7: Human beings are not wired to remember details except in so far as they fit important patterns, and for the past 35 years the patterns that I am concerned about are those that make up our faith. So, when I heard the story of how my mother’s cabin in the Adirondacks came to be built, I recognized the pattern immediately.
16 February 2014 – Epiphany 6: From the slippery slopes of the “Antitheses” of the Sermon on the Mount to the similar backsliding of the Church in Corinth.
9 February 2014 – Epiphany 5: A little “catching up” after our celebration of Candlemas leads into the benefits of being a “fool” for Christ. The banter at the beginning refers to the use of a contemporary painting to illustrate the comment Jesus makes in the Gospel about hiding a light under a bushel basket.
2 February 2014 – “Candlemas:” One of the three feast days that “trumps” the Sunday lessons in The Episcopal Church is the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple. Two witnesses are there, Simeon and Anna, who speak out loud what only Mary and Joseph know — that the child before them is destined for remarkable things.
26 January 2014 – Epiphany 3: Thoughts about the letter to the Corinthians itself lead to some musings about a congregation where stuff gets done without worrying about who is doing what.
19 January 2014 – Epiphany 2: “Behold the Lamb of God!” Some thoughts on the unique iconography of Emmanuel Church and the theory and practice of religious sacrifice.
12 January 2014 – 1st After Epiphany: We have hosted Joan Kelly for the past ten weeks as she explores the possibility of priestly ordination. Here she reflects on her experiences with a sense of call to ministry and the work of the Holy Spirit.
5 January 2014 – Christmas 2: Every year after the late Christmas Eve service I write a Christmas morning story. They portray the experiences of someone at or near Bethlehem the morning after Jesus was born. This year’s offering takes us a little farther afield to the home of one of the magi.