Recently in Sundays after Epiphany Category

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. 

Jesus doesn't do his hometown any special favors, reaching out to those who are more in need. They got mad about it. Could there be some deep seated fear?

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. 

January 31, 2016 - Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

"Privilege".  Text is from Luke 4:21-30


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

No sooner is Jesus speaking the good news that the fulfillment of all of the hopes and dreams of the people of Israel from the prophet Isaiah has come to pass, that those selfsame people of Israel begin to turn on him. And not just any people but the ones from his own home town, Nazareth, those who watched him as a child, watched him grow up and had him sitting in the temple teaching to them. Because while the prophecy of the coming salvation is all well and good, the idea that they might have to take a second seat to others. That the good news might not be to his home town folk first and then to others later.

Jesus declared he Year of the Lord's Favor was now. Our baptism demands that we live into that ordained time of Jubilee. 

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.  

SPECIAL NOTE: the recorder was off the first 6 minutes of the sermon so I had to rerecord that portion it from home, later.  The sound quality will be going through a distinct change about 6 minutes in -- Cary.

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

January 24, 2016 - Third Sunday after Epiphany

"Jubilee".  Text is from Luke 4:14-21


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

The year of the Lord's favor is upon us and there is good news to be heard all over the place.  

From the very beginning we hear that Jesus is filled with the spirit. In Luke this takes place right after his time in the wilderness, which started as well, Jesus was filled with the spirit, having been driven into the wilderness by its power under his baptism. And as Luke tells us, a report has already spread about him to the surrounding country, and of what?  Because virtually nothing has taken place in public except the event of his baptism. And now he arrives in Nazareth, his home town, where people already know who he despite the reports because this was the town where he was raised and because it is the Sabbath, he heads to the synagogue.

Six jugs of wine?  That's ridiculous?  Who is going to drink that much in just a few days of a wedding? But the blessing of Jesus Christ makes the sweetness and quality immeasurable.  

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. 

January 17, 2016 - Second Sunday after Epiphany

"Wine Beyond Measure".  Text is from John 2:1-11


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

While the Wedding of Cana may seem fairly straightforward at first glance, there is in fact quite a bit going on here if you have read it a few times through, and no small amount of subtleties in the dialogue among and action between each of the participants. And so let me lay out the essential parts of the way that John intended to lay out the account.

This is the very first of Jesus' miracles in John. There is a fairly recognizable pattern for miracles in John in that it starts with describing the place and time, then moves forward into describing the complications, and then some actions that need to be done before the miracle and finally the miracle itself. This recounting of the Wedding of Cana is especially important as it is the first one of Jesus' miracles in John. Although there are many other stories that never found their way into the New Testament, some in particular which focus on Jesus' childhood, this is truly the first of the miracles of Jesus, as he himself says his hour has not yet come, we understand that he has not yet been revealed. In fact, Jesus does not do miracles for the sake of doing them, but so that those who are following him may understand who he is.

Baptism is a means of entry into Christian community. But it is not only that. Remember your baptism? I don't. 

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. 

January 10, 2016 - Baptism of our Lord

"Our Baptism".  Text is from Luke 3:15-17, 21-22


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

Well, it feels like we've gotten out of the wondrous Christmas season and no sooner are have we finished with the accounts of Christ's birth that we jump full force into Jesus's ministry. With a hearken back to part of an account we read in Advent, one in which John the Baptist makes his important prophecy about the coming Messiah, we come full circle, because that reading was, in fact what brings us to Jesus's own baptism.  Which is a baptism like no other baptism. 

Like many others, we see that Jesus was baptized in the midst of a time when other people were being baptized, putting Jesus in the midst of humanity, and emphasizing the fact that Baptism is a community event. However, it's important to emphasize once again that the baptisms that were done by John, in fact all of the baptisms done in those days were done out of repentance to declare a human being free from sin. It was done in order that their enmity be washed away and that they become new persons. 

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