Sermon for the third Sunday after Epiphany - Matthew 8:1-13
Three men, not like anything or anyone we believe them to be. Unclean. Outsider. Less-than. As these three are brought together in our readings we end up getting a better idea of the fourth man. The Jesus-man. The God-man. The one who comes for the least, the lost, the outside, the unclean, the sinner. The one who comes to save the enemy, to love the aggressor, to be broken under the weight of those who are supposed to hate him, or even stay away from him, and he finds them, grabs them, and brings them to his Father.
Sermon for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany - John 2:1-11
Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. You are not Jesus. I want to make that clear so let me say it again. It might seem like an easy truth, but you are not Jesus Christ. And that is a good thing. It is a good thing because it makes it more joyous when we come to the miracles of Christ and realize they are his works, done in his way, for a reason. No worries for you to try to live up to the water-to-wine Jesus example. Because John actually does not use the word “miracles”, nor “wonders”. He uses the word “signs”. He wants us to see a sign pointing to Jesus. To create faith in him. To believe in who He is for you. To trust in this One who takes you, the ordinary sinner, and makes you new.
Sermon for The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord - John 1:29-34
Baptism is this weird thing in the church. We often don’t know what to do with it apart from the ritual itself. It’s there. Our churches have the fonts in them, but there is this hovering confusion with it. Seeing it as a pledging to a fraternity. Do the deal and your in. Get the kid wet, things will be good. Then we tend to cast it aside for a while. We let it sit there. We maybe use the phrase “baptized child of God” every now and then. We go and witness to someone else’s baptism, but otherwise it becomes this past thing that it happened, that’s it. We’re good.
Sermon for the Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord - Matthew 2:1-12
Epiphany means the “ta-da” of God. A manifestation. An a-ha. A Here-I-am-for-you moment. All the spotlights, all the signs pointing to God with hopes that you will see and believe. This whole Matthew 2 story is one to draw us into the journey of faith. To give a voice to you, you gentiles. You people of the nations. You who should not be named let alone belong in the Kingdom of God. To give you a place. Notice the magi call him “The King of the Jews”, and yet these magi are not Jews. These are gentiles, and more so. Magi is the word used to name them. Literally – magicians. Sorcerers. Some say astrologers. They were the court advisors to the princes of Babylon. They could have been similar to the same folks whom the prophet Daniel was placed in charge over during the Babylonian exile 600 years before Christ. The ones the king sought for guidance on what has, is, or will happen. These magi possibly would have had a taste of this Jewish heritage, this Messiah talk, “King of the Jews”, through the overwhelming influence of Judaism on Babylon itself. From Babylon and Persia we get the Rabbinic tradition. We get the various Targums and manuscripts. Huge commentaries on the various texts of Jewish Scripture. Babylon, along with the vast empire of Persia, modern-day Iran, Syria, elsewhere, helped keep Judaism alive throughout the Middle East. Strange that we rely on those who conquered the Kingdom of Judah to keep the faith and traditions alive. Strange to think that those who would lead the downfall of the people of God, now 600 years later, seek the very King who is to provide salvation to all people.