October 2016 Archives

Doing all the right things doesn't mean squat if you treat your fellow human being with contempt. We all need to remember that most of us think we're doing the right thing, and want to do the right thing, even when we're not.

 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. 

October 23 - 23st Sunday after Pentecost 

"Humbling and exalted".  Text is from Luke 18:9-14

Click here for sermon audio 





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

A Pharisee and a tax collector walk into a temple.

Stop me if you've heard this one.  

Both of these men are coming before God with their own idea of what they want to receive from the experience. 

Now when you think about it, the temple is quite a daunting place and it can be such for anyone coming forward who does not feel that they are in a right place with God. But the Pharisee has been here many times and is certain of himself. He follows what he's been taught to follow, God's law, by the letter, or so he believes himself. And he's doing what he thinks is the right thing to do, thanking God for the gifts that he has given him... and that he is not like all those sinners that he lists off, thieves, rogues, adulterers, and even that tax collector over there that came in when he came in here. 

We don't always get what we want from persistent prayer and there are times that we don't understand God at all. But God listens, and God acts. 

 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. 

October 16 - 22st Sunday after Pentecost 

"Persistent".  Text is from Luke 18:1-8

Click here for sermon audio 





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

What does it take before we finally get justice? How many times do those who are oppressed have to cry out before the people in power finally listen to what they have to say and deliver a verdict that is fair and just? 

Jesus is telling those who are following him a parable that descries what it means to be persistent in prayer. It involves a widow and an unjust judge, someone who basically doesn't care. It's very clear in the text what this judge's issue is, he just doesn't like people. He's a misanthrope, and one gets the feeling he is just going to the bench to do his bare minimum that he needs to do and nothing more. 

Of course this widow that continues to pester him will not be daunted. She knows she has been wronged. We don't know what the matter is, whether it has to do with her property, some injury to her person, but it is definitively a matter that needs to be dealt with fairly and for certain. 


Many things happen in border towns. Many boundaries are crossed when people find their way to Jesus' side 

 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. 

October 9 - 21st Sunday after Pentecost 

"Boundaries".  Text is from Luke 17:11-19

Click here for sermon audio 






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

Boundaries may be invisible lines in the sand, that prevent us from going from one place to another. But have you ever seen a boundary from a plane? Sometimes, you may spot them...particularly if one place contains a park that ends at the lines of the boundary while there is farmland on the other side, but for the most part, when I'm flying, I can't tell where California ends and Nevada begins, or Utah, or Colorado...

Jesus grants his followers the power to perform miracles, and talks about the expulsion of Satan from heaven. This is the power of angels. But we have the power to do angelic things.  

Note: This sermon was a rerecord done as the recorder did not function on Sunday when It was delivered.  

 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. 

October 2 - Michael and All Angels Sunday 

"Angels".  Text is from Luke 10:17-20

Click here for sermon audio 






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

We start with a few short passages from Luke in which Jesus has sent the seventy out and they return with joy, proclaiming that by using his name, even demons would listen to them being cast out.

Here Jesus tells them about having seen Satan cast from heaven, which hearkens back to an older Jewish legend about how Michael and Satan fought and Michael cast Satan down from heaven. And they power that Jesus has given the ones that he has sent out is such that the miracles done in the name of the spirit are done not by the superhuman beings such as Michael and Gabriel but by the people that Jesus had appointed. 

Finally, Jesus tells them not to rejoice in the power that he has given them. That they should instead rejoice that they are destined to join him in the hereafter, the paradise where he resides with Father God and all the other beings of heaven. 

Through the name of Jesus Christ he gives his disciples power, the power to heal and exorcise demons and more important, the power to proclaim the good news in the world that Jesus Christ has come, God has forgiven all people and death holds no more sway over humankind. Such power being exercised by humans is limited, and only through Jesus' will and command. It is the power of beings who many consider to be mythological, but who our scripture tells us about with clarity and purpose. Who are these beings called angels, and what marks our fascination with them, despite our firm conviction that there is only one God in heaven.


What do you expect of slaves? Well, not to be slaves, for one thing. 

Jan Steen - The Bean Feast - WGA21734

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

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

September 28, 2016 - 20th Wednesday after Pentecost

"Twentieth Wednesday after Pentecost".  Text is from Luke 17:5-10

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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