Recently in Advent Category

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God comes in the form of a human being in the same way all human beings come into the world, a fragile and vulnerable infant who can't take care of itself. What does this mean about who our God is?  

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

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 21, 2016 - 4th Wednesday in Advent

"Fragile and Vulnerable God".  Text is from Luke 2:1-20

This Sunday's gospel was concentrated around Joseph. Joseph could have set Mary aside when he heard she was with child. Joseph received instructions from an angel and chose to take her as his wife. Joseph had all the power. Because women had no power in those days. 

 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. 

December 18, 2016 - Fourth Sunday in Advent  

"Condition of Women".  Text is from Matthew 1:18-25




Greetings to you, sisters and brothers, my family in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God. 

Now, a lot of people might be familiar with the story of the birth of Jesus, and we have seen performances from Christmas Pageants the longer and inevitably more familiar birth narrative originating from Luke. We see Mary hearing from the angel and we see Mary being the devoted pregnant mother, and Mary always seems to be the most important part. But Joseph? He has never really gotten much to say in a Christmas pageant. He seems to be relegated to a side part.

But reading the narrative from Matthew, we don't do a lot of talking much about Mary and the birth at all, so much as we do about the drama surrounding Joseph and the angst that he must have been going through. 

But what was Joseph to do anyway? When we say that Joseph was engaged to Mary, it's not so much like we understand engagement. Joseph didn't walk up to Mary, get down on one knee, pull a ring from out of his pocket and say, "Mary, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

Isaiah is always a prophet of two times, his time and the time of Christ. 

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

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

December 14, 2016 - 3rd Wednesday in Advent

"Third Wednesday in Advent".  Text is from Isaiah 7:10-16

You go into the desert, do you expect to see palaces? You have a warehouse with no running water and sketchy electricity, you expect to have sprinklers and smoke detectors? You have out-of-control housing prices, what kind of conditions you expect for the people who can't afford proper housing? 

 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. 

December 11, 2016 - Third Sunday in Advent  

"What Did You Expect?".  Text is from Matthew 11:2-11




Greetings to you, sisters and brothers, my family in Christ, saints and sinners, children of God. 

The gospel during Advent is good news. It is anticipation from beginning to end. It cries out from the perspective of souls longing for justice and self-determination. It reminds us that our God is a God who brings justice to all the world, a God who feeds the hungry, who frees the captives, welcomes the poor, the stranger, the widow and the orphan into God's loving arms. As Mary cries out, God comes to the aid of God's servant Israel, and remembers a merciful promise made to Abraham and all that would succeed him, a promise that with the birth of Jesus becomes open to all the world.

And yet, when we look at our Gospel message, we relate a time of ending for one of the heralds of the king to come. We read about one part of John the Baptist's ministry last week, while he was baptizing people in the River Jordan. Now he is in Herod's prison, hopeful that the one who he's been hearing about, Jesus of Nazareth, is the one foretold by the prophets, the one who he's been proclaiming who is coming forth. And John the Baptist has good reason to be wondering, because he knows his time is at end. It matters not what his eventual fate will be, and I doubt even John knew that he would soon be served up on a platter to the daughter of Herod, regardless, John knows that he will not be lasting very long in the prison. 

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. 


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. 


Jesus gave his followers signs. Signs are all around us today. How do we know what they mean or what they are for. And how do we see the signs in the world and still live in hope for Christ's reign? 

 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. 

November 29, 2015  -  1st Sunday in Advent

"Signs of Hope".  Text is from Luke 21:25-36


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

Today is the first Sunday in Advent, and the first Sunday of a season that we look forward to the great coming of the Messiah in the form of a humble child. And we move to a different cycle in the church year and get to move ourselves into that eager anticipation. There is much joy to come in the world, as we lift our Christmas trees up in our living rooms and spread the lights across our mantle pieces and dust off our ornaments, decorating our homes. Maybe even going online and shopping for gifts for Christmas, trying to be the first in line at the store to get this year's crazy toy. While much of the season is driven by the crass commercialism of the media market trying to encourage us to spend, spend, spend, there's no fault in ourselves for wanting to share the joy of our past year with one another, brightening up our lives and making memories of one more holiday season with family, friends and those that we love. 

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