19 November 2017 – A Proper 28: A different take on the Parable of the Talents focuses on the experience of the third slave, rather than the two faithful ones. It concludes with some thoughts about how we can avoid it. Note: there are additional comments about this sermon theme in the 21 November – 5 December 2017 Trumpet newsletter.
12 November 2017 – A Proper 27: The parable of the 10 Bridesmaids offers an opportunity to recall the great tradition of Wisdom Literature that we spend all too little time on in our Sunday Lectionary. The lesson asks an obvious question and provides for us the right answer.
5 November 2017 – A Proper 26: Fr. Bill Smith describes the true and false signs and signals of piety.
29 October 2017 – Reformation Sunday: A departure from our usual lectionary habits, Emmanuel joined with our Lutheran neighbors to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the publication of the 95 Theses. The Gospel text from John 8 offered some interesting insight into the issues of the values promoted by Confederate monuments, on the one hand, and the rising concern about sexual harassment, on the other.
22 October 2017 – A Proper 24: What exactly does belong to Caesar? And what exactly belongs to God? Deacon Joan Kelly reflects on the trap that the Herodians and the Pharisees set for Jesus.
15 October 2017 – A Proper 23: Idolatry is not an ancient sin, but something we must be aware of and on the lookout for in our own day. We may not have a golden calf to worship, but society is full of other symbols of identity that can cross over the line.
8 October 2017 – A Proper 22: A week after the shootings in Las Vegas, the violence of the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard becomes the hook on which to hang the too many questions that such incidents inspire.
24 September 2017 – A Proper 20: Canon Gatza preaches an “away game!” This is the sermon delivered to the congregation of Transfiguration, Blue Mountain Lake, in the Adirondacks on their last open Sunday of the year. Perhaps inspired by the Annual Hot Dog Sunday lunch to follow, this is about the bread of Holy Communion.
17 September 2017 – A Proper 19: Deacon Joan Kelly asks about the feelings behinds the actions of the forgiving master and the unforgiving servant.
10 September 2017 – A Proper 18: A review of the unique backgrounds and purposes of the four gospels, with a focus on Matthew’s community and it’s need for a process of reconciliation. This applies to the sad news coming from two local congregations.
3 September 2017 – A Proper 17: Another two bit sermon 😉 — The first about why it was so powerful for Jesus to tell his disciples to take up their crosses standing in front of the temple shrines in Caesarea Philippi, and the second about the language of the burning bush story.
27 August 2017 – A Proper 16: Two bits to this sermon: The first about the journey that took Jesus and his disciples through Tyre and Sidon to Caesarea Philippi; the second recalling a scene from the great Cecil B. DeMille movie, The Ten Commandments.
20 August 2017 – A Proper 15: Deacon Joan Kelly delves into the uncomfortable story of Jesus and the Canaanite woman and explores its call to us to be inclusive in our outreach and in the way we welcome others.
13 August 2017 – A Proper 14: As planned, this sermon was to be about the connection between the Story of the Watchers from the Book of Enoch and the story of Jesus and Peter on the water. But late breaking news from Charlottesville, VA, and an email from the Bishop to attend to the seriousness of the conflict drove it in a very different direction. Canon Gatza’s sabbatical last fall, which involved looking at Civil War battlefields and Civil Rights shrines, offers some substance to the debate about whether monuments should be removed and destroyed. (You can read about that sabbatical elsewhere on this website.) The thumbnail at the left can be opened to show the picture of the tablet at the Civil Rights Museum that was originally intended to connect with the Old Testament Lesson, but which instead becomes the focal point of the question, “If we begin removing offensive monuments, where will it all stop?”
6 August 2017 – The Feast of the Transfiguration: Fr. Bill Smith hears a wake-up call in the conversation and events on top of the holy mountain.
30 July 2017 – A Proper 12: If the characters we meet in the Old Testament are meant to be role models, then be like Jacob only when he is being good. And a close look at these short parables instructs us that the kingdom of heaven is more than occasionally disruptive.
23 July 2016 – A Proper 11: “Deacon Intern” Joan Kelly is now Deacon Joan Kelly (!) and in her first sermon for us after her ordination, she asks and answers the question, “Whose ladder is it anyway?”
16 July 2016 – A Proper 10: Poor Esau! His perspective is so narrow that he is willing to trade away his birthright for a meal after a long hunting trip. That begs the question, “What is a birthright?” and that leads to some speculation about a class of birthrights that are under threat in our generation.
9 July 2017 – A Proper 9: Fill in the blank: “Home is where _____________.” Some thoughts about how Abraham might have filled it in, which leads to the story of Isaac and Rebekah, the happiest couple in all of scripture.
25 June 2017 – A Proper 7: Canon Gatza’s sermon at the Church of the Transfiguration, Blue Mountain Lake, NY. No recording device was available, so here is the text, a reflection not only on what the prophet and the evangelist say, but how it feels to say it.
18 June 2017 – A Proper 6: When was the last time you were called upon to drop everything to offer hospitality to a stranger? 50 chapters before the 10 Commandments and the rest of the Law of Moses, we learn about a fundamental Biblical principle from Abraham.
11 June 2017 – A Trinity Sunday: Canon Gatza offers two bits: From the Gospel According to Matthew, three heart-breaking words in the middle of the Great Commission; and from Genesis, why the “goodness” of creation is better than “greatness.”
4 June 2017 – A Pentecost: What, exactly, does it mean to be a “recovering Pentecostal?” The Rev’d Canon Scott Slater, Canon to the Bishops of Maryland, shares some intimate details of his own experiences with the Holy Spirit.
28 May 2017 – A Easter 7: Deacon Intern Joan Kelly distills some of the most dense of the poetry of John’s Gospel into three take-away points.
21 May 2017 – A Easter 6: Buckle up! This sermon starts with hecklers and ends with body armor!
14 May 2017 – A Easter 5: An old Delta Blues number about the blind man standing on the side of the road sets the stage to help us understand the claim that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
7 May 2017 – A Easter 4: Fr. Bill Smith reminds us, on this Good Shepherd Sunday, to do the one thing that sheep know how to do: listen to the shepherd’s voice.
30 April 2017 – A Easter 3: Why Non Satis Scire (the motto of the Canon’s alma mater) is true for the story of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus.
23 April 2017 – A Easter 2: Deacon Intern Joan Kelly on why Thomas was no more a doubter than any of the other disciples.
16 April 2017 – A Easter Sunday: The Canon’s muse returns with a story about the Great Sabbath and Easter Sunday morning.
13 April 2017 – A Maundy Thursday: Comments on the directions for Holy Communion in 1 Corinthians.
9 April 2017 – A Palm Sunday: The Passion according to Matthew, with commentary by Canon Gatza.
2 April 2017 – Lent 5: The story of the raising of Lazarus becomes an opportunity for Fr. Bill Smith to help us appreciate how Jesus handles our prayers.
26 March 2017 – Lent 4: Deacon Intern Joan Kelly reflects on changes in theology that Jesus proposes in the conversation surrounding the healing of the man born blind.
19 March 2017 – Lent 3: Another short story, this time expanding on the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well, often named Photini in later tradition. Why would he take the time to speak with her? Perhaps there was more to the relationship than a chance encounter.
12 March 2017 – Lent 2: Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night with many questions. FWIW, the answers to those questions are not always made clear in the poetic language that John uses to describe the encounter. This short story imagines the dialog in a more prosaic fashion.
5 March 2017 – Lent 1: Priest Associate Fr. Bill Smith reflects on the notion of temptation as a test, not an attempt to seduce us to wrong-doing.
1 March 2017 – Ash Wednesday: We are reminded this day of our ultimate fate, but we are not dust yet!
26 February 2017: Last Sunday of Epiphany: We are surrounded by clouds of data in the 21st century, which have some interesting similarities to the clouds that are mentioned in scripture. Except for one cloud that serves to reveal something to us rather than hide things from view.
19 February 2017 – Epiphany 7: Following last week’s sermon on Law and Love, Deacon Intern Joan Kelly provides an additional observation that derives from the Sermon on the Mount: Perfection is possible.
12 February 2017 — Epiphany 6: You can summarize the point of the lessons in just six words: Law was good; Love is better. The grammar of that summary is pretty important.
5 February 2017 – Epiphany 5: Two for the price of one! Both Canon Gatza and newly named Priest Associate (but old friend) Fr. Bill Smith wanted to speak to the second portion of the Sermon on the Mount that is found in Matthew 5 this week. So both did! Fr. Bill preached at 10, Canon Gatza preached at 8 and Noon, and you can listen to both!
Jots and Tittles, illustrated.
29 January 2017 – Epiphany 4: There are lots of alternative Beatitudes available on the internet and several of them help us to see what Jesus was trying to say more clearly. Also included is my take on what I would call a “sermon prompt” on the theme of Black Lives Matter.
22 January 2017 – Epiphany 3: According to Matthew (and some non-canonical accounts) Jesus had already traveled more than the average person would have in the first century. So why does he choose to begin his ministry in the backwater town of Capernaum?
15 January 2017 – Epiphany 2: Deacon Intern Joan Kelly on what it means to offer the same invitation that Jesus did to the unnamed disciples.
8 January 2017 – Baptism of our Lord: Post-sabbatical reflection on the importance of going away in order to see things more clearly on returning.
Note: Due to the Rector’s Sabbatical in the Fall of 2016, there are no sermons available for the season of Advent.