Jesus knows all of our secrets. There's no point in hiding from him. We become vulnerable whether we like it or not before Christ, our God. The living water is a gift that changes our lives and gives us reason to live. 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 19 - 3nd Sunday in Lent

"Laid Bare".  Text is from John 4:5-42


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Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God.

The narrative of the Samaritan woman at the well is gorgeous, and so full of possibilities in its own right.  We have Jesus walking in Samaria, and he comes to this city and conveniently, while his disciples are away getting food, he stops at Jacob's Well, where he encounters this woman. To understand the tension, it helps to know a little bit about the different characters.  While Jesus is a Galileean, he is nevertheless specifically Jewish, just of a rural variety. And furthermore he is, at least to his disciples, a rabbi, a teacher, kind of a holy man. Samaratans like this woman are of a different breed of people altogether. It's not that they're that different from Jews, their religion stems from worship of the same God that the Jews worship.... Yahweh. But for the Jews, Yahweh is at the Temple in Jerusalem, and all worship must take place there. For Samaritans, the worship takes place on Mount Gerazim. The other major difference belongs to the distinction of the Old Testament, because the Samaratans were the ones who remained in the land of Israel during the Babylonian exile, and believed that their version of the face remain uncorrupted from Persian and Babylonian influences. 

And from these minor differences comes a major break, because the Jews considered the Samaritans, in many ways, worse than Gentiles. For a holy man such as Jesus to be speaking with a Samaritan woman was simply unheard of, particularly on his own. It was a violation of several laws and more significantly, social customs. 

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Don't you hate it when people tell you suffering builds you up? I don't want to hear that when I'm in pain! But what I would like to hear is that I'm not suffering alone. Jesus is there with us. 

This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 15, 2017 - 3nd Wednesday of Lent

"Homily on Romans 5:1-11".  Text is from  Romans 5:1-11



What happens when we've been baptized as a child and yet we still feel like we're going through a "born again" experience? It means living out your baptism. We can grow and make changes in our lives well beyond our baptism. 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 12 - 2nd Sunday in Lent

"Born Again, Again?".  Text is from John 3:1-17


Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God.

We move into a different part of the gospels with today's text and the next several Sundays, going from Matthew to John's gospel, where we have some very interesting revelations play out in the text.  

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In today's reading we have a visit from a Pharisee named Nicodemus. It's no mistake that this important encounter is with one from the generally reviled group of people known as Pharisees, but Nicodemus is special. He appears to either be genuinely trying to understand the words that Jesus is telling him or at the very least investigating Jesus for other purposes, but having a worthwhile dialogue with him. 

And in the midst of this dialogue, Nicodemus is bringing all of his own preconceptions to this encounter with Christ and has basically closed is mind to all possibility that Jesus has to offer. Jesus says that nobody is going to see God's kingdom without having been born from above. Nicodemus is perplexed. Birth happens once, right? What do you expect to crawl back into your mother's womb and go through it all over again? Jesus clarifies with a lengthier explanation, that things of the flesh are of the flesh and things of the Spirit are of the Spirit, and that one must be born of water and spirit, that is, "From above" in order to enter the kingdom. Now Nicodemus is astonished. What in the world is Jesus telling him? Jesus castigates Nicodemus, he is a teacher of Israel one who is supposed to understand Godly things and he doesn't get it? 

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We're born again when we get baptized, whether as a child or as an adult. Being baptized can be a choice, but don't worry, God's got the little babies taken care of too. It's okay to simply reaffirm your baptism when you're all grown up.  

This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 8, 2017 - 2nd Wednesday of Lent

"Homily on John 3:1-17".  Text is from  John 3:1-17 

What does it mean when Jesus is tested in the wilderness? Would that we should fare as well! 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 5 - 1st Sunday in Lent

"The Wilderness".  Text is from Matthew 4:1-11


Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God.

These words from Matthew herald us into our Lenten journey. As soon as Jesus is Baptized by John the Baptist in chapter three of Matthew, he is brought into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit where he is to meet the devil for testing. There he fasts for forty days and is understandably quite hungry at the end of that time. The devil, also named the tempter or tester here, then presents him with three different tests.

What does showing your faith today look like? 

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 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

March 1, 2017 - Ash Wednesday  

"Carrying the Message".  Text is from  Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 


And now Jesus talks about unconditional love. Do you have an enemy? You might not even know it. We're expected to love that person anyway. Wha-what?? 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

February 19, 2017 - 7th Sunday after the Epiphany  

"Who is Your Enemy?".  Text is from Matthew 5:38-48



Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God. 

What better way to close out this year's Epiphany season--before  next week's transfiguration, that is--than the final reading of Jesus's Sermon on the Mount. We've found out who was blessed, we've learned how to be disciples, we've learned that it isn't enough just to hold to the letter of the commandments, that we need follow the spirit of them as well, and now Jesus breaks down what God expects of what it means to truly follow Him.

It seems like the further we get into the Sermon on the Mount, the more conditions Jesus puts on his people. But what is he really asking of them? 

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

February 12, 2017 - 5th Sunday after the Epiphany  

"Demands on Salvation".  Text is from Matthew 5:21-37



Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God. 

What is God saying to you? What is God telling you to do? 

Here in the third section of Jesus's sermon on the mount we move from God has done this to a "do this" point. And the things that Jesus is telling us to do here, these taking of God's righteous commandments and relating them to what we normally think of as relatively minor sins... it just seems to be making things so hard. 

Blessed can have many meanings, and the implication that "blessed" was similar to "wealthy" was not unintended, even in Jesus name. But Jesus turns it around, and the beatitudes are telling us that we are blessed when we walk in his ways.

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

January 29, 2017 - 4th Sunday after the Epiphany  

"Registered".  Text is from Matthew 5:1-12




Good morning to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God. 

The Sermon on the Mount, which starts with the Beatitudes, is Jesus's first act that takes place in the Gospel of Matthew. It also sets the stage for how Matthew wants to present Jesus which is as a teacher of righteousness. It is in the Sermon on the mount where the disciples of Jesus first learn about what it means to be disciples. Who was Jesus saying was being blessed, and what exactly did that mean? 

The first group that Jesus says are blessed are the poor in spirit. We find in Luke's version it simply reads poor, and what Matthew is telling us is that poverty is not only a material condition but a spiritual one. What Jesus is saying here is that the poor, who, as today, existed in great numbers, in fact probably more so, and who were nevertheless rich, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. 

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Following a God who died in public execution style, hanging from a cross, beaten and naked, is foolishness, no?  Not to the believer.

This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

January 25, 2017 - Fourth Wednesday after Epiphany

"Foolishness of the Cross".  Text is from 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

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