December 2015 Archives

Whether it be angels or helicopters, the messages from above might give us some insight as to how to be neighbors to those who need shelter. 

Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The delivered sermon is often considerably different than the sermon notes which are included for convenience below.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 24, 2015  -  Christmas Eve

"Message from Above".  Text is from Luke 2:1-14


Merry evening to you my sisters and brothers in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God.

Here we have to night the hope of the ages, the coming of the newborn Jesus Christ, Messiah of all the heaven.   We have the birth of Christ set in historical perspective, while Augustus is emperor and Quirinius as governor of Syria, while Joseph makes his way all the way from his home in Nazareth way up in Galilee all the way to Bethlehem, not far from Jerusalem, because that's where he was born.


The encounter between Mary and Elizabeth is incredible on a number of levels. And what Mary has to say is amazing.  

Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The delivered sermon is often considerably different than the sermon notes which are included for convenience below.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 20, 2015  -  4th Sunday in Advent

"Conversation between Two Women".  Text is from Luke 1:39-55


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

If the words to this morning's reading sounds familiar to some of you, well, it's because every Wednesday we sing it here during our Vespers service, right after our community meal.  And what we have in it is somewhat amazing, particularly in terms of scripture. 

It's something that happens all the time.  Women visiting one another, and talking about things. And in this case, pregnant women, friends, who love and admire one another, being there for each other. But this is not the kind of thing that holy scripture is usually about, which what makes it amazing here. 

God loves all his people. Some that we believe hopelessly bad of us have the potential to do good things, and the rest of us have the potential to do bad. And both good and bad are in each of us.  

Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The delivered sermon is often considerably different than the sermon notes which are included for convenience below.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 13, 2015  -  3rd Sunday in Advent

"Take a Moment".  Text is from Luke 3:7-18


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

What started out as a kind of a side show has morphed into something that's taken a different direction altogether.  The people came out to the Jordan River to witness this unusual character named John the Baptist, because they knew he was going to shout at them and tell them that they were nothing but a brood of vipers. But when they start to hear then thing that he says, they become agitated. And even hearing him berate them and telling them that they were doomed he also offers them some kind of hope. That even despite the sins that they have been doing there is an opportunity for them to turn it all around. 


I'm posting this here because I've had difficulties reading any online version of this text from my phone, and I wanted to make sure that people had easy access to a readable version of the text if they wanted to find it.  I've included the entirety of the text in this entry, but in particular, a readable version is available by following this link: It Works How and Why: Step 5.  
Please note, the following text does not belong to me. It is included here for convenience. It is the copyright of Narcotics Anonymous (©NA).


STEP FIVE
"We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."
Now that we have completed our written inventory, it is essential that we share it promptly.  The sooner we work our Fifth Step, the stronger the foundation of our recovery will be. We've built this foundation on spiritual principles such as surrender, honesty, trust, faith, willingness, and courage; with each step forward in our recovery, we strengthen our commitment to these principles.  We reaffirm our commitment to recovery by immediately working Step Five.

The world speeds by at a phenomenal rate. We are living in a time that will never come again. God's time is God's time and while we await God's return, there's no point in rushing it. Be in the now. 

Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The text is included for your convenience, but it is not entirely like the delivered version, which includes nuances that can't be read.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 6, 2015  -  2nd Sunday in Advent

"Take a Moment".  Text is from Luke 3:1-6


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

Our reading from Luke begins with an interesting take on the setting of where we are in the history of Israel. Pontius Pilate was governor and Herod and Philop and Lysanaus were rules over parts of the divided provinces of Israel. Annas and his son-in-law Caiaphas were the high priests over the Judeans, a role they switched from time to time.  No, this reading is not set in the birth year of Jesus, we'll get to that in the coming weeks. No, this is the precursor to his ministry, where John the Baptist foretells the coming of one whose shoes he is not even worthy to tie by way of a reading from Isaiah, whose words, seeking the repentance of the hearers, are intimately familiar to those people of Israel. 


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