21 October 2018 – B Proper 24: An experience at an Ethiopian restaurant in Washington, DC, many years ago leads to a lesson about sharing as a spiritual practice.
14 October 2018 – B Proper 23: Canon Gatza reflects on a recent icon of Jesus and the Rich Young Man, written by S. Katherine Sanders. The icon illustrated the cover of the bulletins this week.
7 October 2018 – B Proper 22: Fr. Bill Smith offers a helpful discourse on the teaching around divorce that Jesus confronts in this Gospel and concludes with a descriptions of the qualities that God is looking for as the Kingdom of God comes near.
30 September 2018 – B Proper 21: Deacon Joan Kelly reflects on stumbling blocks and salt.
23 September 2018 – B Proper 20: The food industry in America has figured out the formula to find the “bliss point” as you fill your belly, while the other messages you receive from the culture tell you that you can’t be satisfied until you have what they are selling. They Church wants to to have joy, a thing quite different from what else is out there.
16 September 2018 – B Proper 19: Our bodies hunger and our spirits need to be fed, but how often do we stop to think about our souls? A little music and the story of a Mississippi delta blues musician should inspire us to go there a little more often.
9 September 2018 – B Proper 18: Still referring back to the theme of whether or not there would be enough evidence to convict any of us accused of being a Christian, Canon Gatza offers some suggestions on using the Wisdom Literature of Israel to measure the progress of our faith.
2 September 2018 – B Proper 17: Fr. Bill Smith points out how some of the household customs of the Jews combine to produce a set of faith practices.
26 August 2018 – B Proper 16: Deacon Kelly picks up where the Rector left off last week and then continues with some comments on how easy it is to be a Christian.
19 August 2018 – B Proper 15: Christians are and were (for the most part) loving and peaceful people, right? So why were they persecuted over many decades and in many parts of the Roman Empire. A careful reading of today’s Gospel from John 6 offers us a clue.
12 August 2018 – B Proper 14: Jesus points out to the crowds that they have deeper needs than just to eat the loaves and fish, and it precisely those needs that he has come to satisfy. Plus, a separate recording of the extended introduction to the end of the story of Absalom.
5 August 2018 – B Proper 13: The extended discourse on the Bread of Life continues. F. Bill Smith comments on the distinction between a physical hunger and a spiritual hunger.
29 July 2018 – B Proper 12: After a couple of weeks of teasing around the miracle of the feeding of the 5000, we finally hear the story – though from John’s Gospel, not from Mark’s. Canon Gatza considers some of the “fiddly bits” from the miracle story itself that will be pondered in the later dialog and discourse as John 6 unfolds.
22 June 2018 – B Proper 11: Deacon Joan Kelly repeats for the congregation what Jesus said to the disciples: “You’ve got this!”
15 June 2018 – B Proper 10: Canon Gatza offers three bits deriving from this one Gospel lesson that is not actually ab0ut Jesus.
8 July 2018 – B Proper 9: Canon Gatza considers the differences between Mark’s story of the mission of the disciples and the versions in Matthew and Luke, leading to some reflection on the process of building community.
1 July 2018 – B Proper 8: Fr. Bill Smith offers a fulsome description of the circumstances at the house of Jairus and the Jewish customs around death. He goes on to remind us of how we should think about life and the moment of transition to larger life.
24 June 2018 – B Proper 7: Deacon Joan Kelly reflects on the sort of fear that gripped the disciples in the boat, and how it is like the fears that we are subject to, with a little advice at the end on how to handle them.
17 June 2018 – B Proper 6: Canon Gatza offers two bits: The first about how it must have felt to see Samuel come out of retirement to anoint yet another king, and the second about the theology of creation and how the earth itself participates in it.
10 June 2018 – B Proper 5: What does Queen Elizabeth II do for a living? What will a new king do for Israel and Judah? How are we to handle the gifts we ask for and are given?
3 June 2018 – B Proper 4: One of Fr. Bill Smith’s favorite Old Testament lessons affords the opportunity to reflect on the voice of God and the call to ministry.
27 May 2018 – B Trinity Sunday: Of all the choices that were presented by the scripture lessons this week, Deacon Joan Kelly decided that it would be easier for her to explain the Holy Trinity!
20 May 2018 – B Pentecost: What would it be like if we could hear St. Peter preach an entire sermon? It might sound something like this.
13 May 2018 – B Easter 7: Three and a half “bits” make up this sermon, including a particularly geeky one about Greek and English prepositions. Can anything good come out of grammar?
6 May 2018 – B Easter 6: Fr. Bill Smith asks, “What are we chosen for?” To be a “friend” of Jesus and each other — a term which has much richer meaning for Jesus than it does for many of us.
29 April 2018 – B Easter 5: The Apostle Philip hides at home in Jerusalem while the Deacon Philip goes to Samaria to preach? God works in mysterious ways!
22 April 2018 – B Easter 4: Deacon Joan Kelly on the importance of gathering as a flock.
15 April 2018 – B Easter 3: Today’s Gospel is John’s take on the same scene we heard about last week. It is the evening of Easter Sunday and the disciples are locked in the upper room wondering what is happening and what to do next. Jesus appears among them and begins to lay out the plan.
8 April 2018 – B Easter 2: Deacon Joan Kelly shares her thoughts on getting out of the locked room and into the world. (Note: we arrived at the church this Sunday to find two starlings that had somehow managed to get in. They spent pretty much all morning flying around the sanctuary, thus leading to some unusual noises you may hear as well as a sermonic mention of “distractions.”)
1 April 2018 – B Easter Sunday: Who will roll away the stone? Remembering that each Gospel tells its story a little differently than the others, it turns out that the answer to this question in Mark opens up some interesting avenues of reflection.
29 March 2018 – Maundy Thursday: It was a great celebration at the start, but then it just plain got weird!
25 March 2018 – B Palm Sunday: Rather than preach a full sermon after such a long Gospel reading (notwithstanding the Liturgy of the Palms beforehand!) this format of inserting a few clarifying comments during the Passion Narrative has received many compliments.
18 March 2018 – The Sesquicentennial Celebration: Our guest celebrant and preacher, The Rt. Rev’d Eugene Taylor Sutton, reviews the past and present ministries of Emmanuel Church, looking forward to a bright future.
11 March 2018 – B Lent 4: In the familiar hymn, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” we sing “Oh how sweet to walk in the pilgrim’s way.” That’s probably not how it felt to the people of Israel on their long journey to the promised land, especially when they are attacked by poisonous snakes.
4 March 2018 – B Lent 3: Fr. Bill Smith leads a spiritual journey from the Temple in Jerusalem to the Temple that now resides in our hearts.
25 February 2018 – B Lent 2: Deacon Joan Kelly on what it means to take up our individual crosses to follow Jesus.
18 February 2018: First Sunday in Lent: In the context of a Baptism service, here are some thoughts about covenants in general, the covenant with Noah and a preview of covenants yet to come this season.
11 February 2018 – B Last Sunday of Epiphany: We always read the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus on this Sunday. Thanks to a recent bequest the great Transfiguration window above Emmanuel’s altar has been cleaned, and details are now visible that weren’t before. After a brief tour of those details, the question of why this happened in the first place is addressed.
4 February 2018 – B Epiphany 5: Fr. Bill Smith fills in some of the details around the Gospel story of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, and reminds us that we are “saved to serve.”
28 January 2018 – B Epiphany 4: Deacon Joan Kelly describes how Jesus teaches, in contrast to the lack of authority of the scribes and rabbis of his day, as well as the sensationalism of today.
21 January 2018 – B Epiphany 3: The Episcopal Church is okay with questions, even when they don’t have clear answers, or even questions multiple answers. Here are four questions that are raised by the lessons which are begging for answers.
14 January 2018 – B Epiphany 2: Jesus calls Philip and Nathaniel to come and join him as disciples, but what exactly does that mean? Parishioner Bob Banker “finishes” this sermon by describing a ministry that he is deeply involved with.
7 January 2018 – Feast of the Baptism of our Lord: Fr. Bill Smith describes how he came to terms with the curious fact about Jesus being baptized by John. If John was in the business of forgiving sins, why did the sinless Jesus come to him? And what does that mean for us?
31 December 2017 – A Service on the Circle of Time: No sermon, but an interesting collections of lessons and psalms to mark the changing of the year.
25 December 2017 – Christmas Morning: Each year the Rector writes an original story for Christmas morning, featuring a character associated with the larger story.
24 December 2017 – B Advent 4: Can’t have Christmas before the 4th Sunday of Advent, and so almost 50 us us gathered in the parish hall around the large table for our last bit of preparation. Deacon Joan Kelly kept it short and very sweet.
17 December 2017 – B Advent 3: Our culture wants us to focus on what we get for Christmas. Recalling a sermon heard a long time, Canon Gatza focuses attention on what we are giving from ourselves, from our talents and skills.
10 December 2017 – B Advent 2: Canon Gatza draws on some personal experiences as well as examples from scripture to talk about wilderness experiences and what they are good for.
3 December 2017 – B Advent 1: Fr. Bill Smith on warnings and signs and what we need to do when we see them. “Keep playing; keep on going; don’t stop.”