Who Hears: A sermon on How To End a Book about the end (Revelation)

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. “It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

Revelation 22:12-14,16-21

My sermon from Pentecost (May 8, 2016) on Revelation 22:12-14,16-21. Listen to the recording at the bottom of the page or read my manuscript below.


How to you end a book about the end? That’s the question I like to imagine John of Patmos struggling with as he was writing the last paragraph of what we call the book of Revelation. In my head, I see him sitting in a poorly lit room, with his manuscript on his lap, and smoke from candles making soot marks on the ceiling. He flips through what he’s written. He re-reads his visions of heaven and he recreates in his mind the vivid and colorful images his words paint for us. He sees the four horsemen, sees God’s holy city descending from heaven, and watches as God’s story of faith, love, and hopes collide with the faith, hope, and fear that the Roman Empire taught and proclaimed. Through Jesus, John knows that God is doing an almost ridiculous thing. Instead of scratching everything and starting over, God is taking what’s already here in this world and making all things new. The broken, the doubting, and even those who do not know God are being transformed. The call from John to the people who hear his words is simple: don’t forget that Jesus is with you through all things. And this relationship isn’t just life-affirming, it’s life changing. John, in the 21 chapters before this, shared so much. But how to end it? Maybe, as he waits for the Spirit to inspire him, he watches as the candlelight flickers, casting shadows on the walls. And as these shadows move and dance, he sees images of the people he’s writing these words to. He sees the 7 churches, the homes they use as sanctuaries, the men and women who lead worship, and the young and old who gather there on Sunday mornings, in the predawn hours, to experience Jesus. And so, as the images of people dance before him, John takes a breath, puts his pen to paper, and the words just come.

Now, this past Friday and Saturday, was the New Jersey Synod’s annual meeting. Our denomination’s regional body met – so the Lutheran churches in NJ, sent their pastors and some of their members to meet for a day and a half to talk about what it’s like being the church in New Jersey. I was there, as well as Joanne Milano and David Crouse. But I did more than just share the joys and struggles we experience here at Christ Lutheran. I also co-lead a workshop over lunch on Friday that was all about church communication. Over 3 dozen folks gathered in a small conference room to talk about social media, facebook, websites, newspapers, and more. And it was great because, in the entire hour and a half, the conversation didn’t stop. People talked. They asked questions. And, after the workshop ended and I returned to the wider churchwide session, there was one question someone asked that wouldn’t stop gnawing at me. I….couldn’t stop thinking about it. We were asked if the New Jersey synod had any tips or tricks on how to use church communication tools to target, and market to, a specific audience. Churches do have a point of view, a message to share, and different parts of our story appeal to different kinds of people. Someone who loves thinking, talking, and mulling over God while in conversation with ancient theologians and modern day scholars might not respond to a message which highlights that our denomination is second only to the Roman Catholics when it comes to providing social services like nursing homes, food programs, and more. Our story needs to speak to different kinds of people and we need to know the people we’re speaking too. And that’s what targeting is about: knowing our audience and knowing our own story, too.

But there’s about a third of God’s story that this question misses. By focusing on who we’re trying to reach or on the story they need to hear, we bypass the message teller. We hope that the right message, or the right story, or the right words or images to share, will do all the work for us. If we just advertise in the right spot, and make sure these ads show up in the right space like during the Super Bowl or we never someone logs into Facebook, everything will just fall into place. Faith will spread. Our pews will fill and the world will be changed. But, in this scenario, the message, in the end, won’t involve us at all. And that’s what got me about the question we were asked. The question wasn’t how we, personally, could share Jesus. The question was assuming that the message, somehow, isn’t meant to come through us. But the medium is the message and it’s hard to admit that God has has called us – to be God’s message tellers. We, who don’t always know what to say, who might not even know what our own faith story is, we’re the ones called to tell and share what God is doing in our lives. And sometimes this story – this message – is obvious. When we feel God active in our lives, that’s easy to share. But sometimes, the most honest thing we can do is admit to others when we don’t sense God – and share that our faith, is sometimes hard. We’re the ones who, in our baptism, are given the job to tell our story and God’s story too. The message without the message teller doesn’t share all of who God is and what God does. God is making all things new but that needs to be pointed out and shared with our family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. We’re called to point out when we see that new thing, when we see that transformation, even when the one who is new happens to be us.

When the ink of the last paragraph of Revelation finally dried, what John wrote was simply: come. Come and see what God is doing in the world. Come and see what God is doing in my life. Come and see how God loves – and God won’t let our brokenness be the final word for us or for the world. Come and see. Come and notice. Come and share. Because as God’s story bubbles up in our lives – as acts of service, acts of love, and acts of faith suddenly show up and make themselves felt – when we hear God say ‘come’ – we don’t hoard that message for ourselves. We don’t hide it from everyone else. We who hear, we who experience, we who see and know God, we go into our world, to our friends, to our families, and to even strangers – and, like John of Patmos, like the 7 churches he wrote too, we who are imperfect – who are broken – and who mess up – we point to Jesus and say to all: ‘come.’



Shine On It: a sermon on connection and what God’s Holy City looks like

And in the spirit [one of the angels] carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Revelation 22:10,22–22:5

My sermon from 6th Sunday of Easter (May 1, 2016) on Revelation 21:10,22–22:5. Listen to the recording at the bottom of the page or read my manuscript below.


So – bandwagons. Do you jump on them? I’m not ashamed to admit that I do. I’m not even a baseball guy but when the Mets score 12 runs in one inning like they did a few days ago, suddenly I’m paying attention. Another thing I’m paying attention to is this: vinyl records. I’m totally into it. A new release from a band I like comes out on vinyl? I’m buying it. Crates and crates of old records show up at our amazing Trash and Treasure sale yesterday? I’m crouched over them, letting the smell of old cardboard and all this dust billow over me as I flip through them. And it was while I was digging through those crates that I found this: X’s – Wild Gift. X, as in the letter, is a punk band from Southern California. And I actually already own this album – but only in digital form. My former experience with this music involves song names with the letters mp3 added to the end. But not anymore. This music experience now has heft. It has weight. It’s more physical, and in some ways, more connected that it was before. X’s music, dreamed up, created, and crafted in a specific time and in a specific place has been physically etched onto this record. And it takes something just as physical, the needle of a record player, to make that music come to life. Without the record, we have no music to play. Without a needle, we have no way to retrieve the sound that was created. Each part – the record and the needle needs to be connected to the other to create and share a beautiful song.

And it’s that sense of connection that flows through our reading from Revelation today. For the last five weeks, we’ve been walking through this final book of the bible. We started at the beginning, continued until we met the four horsemen of the apocalypse and are now in the last few chapters of the book. Our author, John of Patmos, is sharing a vision of what God’s future looks like. Last week, we heard how he saw a holy city – a new Jerusalem – descending from heaven and settling in our world. And today, John fleshes out what that city looks like. There’s a giant river, flowing through the middle, and a large tree that does an impossible thing and grows a different fruit every month, like some kind of cosmic fruit-of-the-month club. And in parts we don’t hear today, John describes this city as massive – 1500 miles long and wide. Surrounding it is a large wall, covered in every gem and stone. He goes in detail, naming the stones of the city, and sharing that every building and every street is made of transparent gold. But God’s city of precious stones and metals surrounds what is even more precious to God – people. And, like we heard a few weeks ago, this countless number of city dwellers contains every kind of person from every kind of place. The vision that God gives John isn’t only huge, it’s also vivid, colorful, and, above all, incredibly urban.

Because that’s what’s neat about what John is describing here. When we imagine heaven – or our paradise – or the place where God lives – do we imagine a city? The breathtaking scenes of paradise that we usually think about are beautiful vistas, white sandy beaches, and a wilderness that is perfectly harmless but when we see it, our breath is taken away. Even scripture, when it describes creation, talks about a beautiful garden that Adam and Eve called home. But today’s vision, while beautiful, doesn’t describe an isolated place. There are no beautiful vistas, signs of untamed wilderness, or white sandy beaches where the only thing we see is our feet, propped up, while we’re resting in a hammock. Instead, God’s future is a city – a city filled with city blocks, city streets, and city sidewalks. This new Jerusalem is more New York City than a mountaintop retreat, and is filled with buildings built right next to each other and with windows looking into a neighbor’s apartment. And with this city living comes city people. Everyone is moving, crowding streets and sidewalks. Each step we take involves weaving and dodging through crowds of people who don’t look, act, or sound like us. City living is a very physical kind of living. City living should be a very connected kind of living too. Every single person is gathered together, drawn around the Lord – around the Lamb – around Jesus – who is more than just a presence in this holy city. He’s it’s source. It’s from where he sits that water flows. And it’s that water that gives life to the tree that everyone seems to see. And from the food that comes from this tree, the people aren’t just fed, they’re healed. This tree isn’t for one kind of people. It’s for the nations. It’s for everyone. And it all starts with this Jesus who died on a cross and who marks that cross on his people, forever. To be in the holy city is to be connected to the One who provides life, the One who feeds, the One who brings light even into our darkest places. A life with Jesus is physical – tangible – truly connected and one that sings.

But this life with Jesus is a life in community. A city isn’t a city if we are the only ones who live there. A city needs people, it needs others, and it needs folks who don’t ignore each other but who care, listen, and get to know who their neighbors are. God’s future isn’t only a vision for tomorrow. It’s a vision for what living with God looks like right now. It’s as if the Christian life needs others so that we can live into God’s eternal dream for us. Like a needle on a record, when God grabs us in our baptism, we are called to be connected. We’re called to get to know each other. We’re called to notice who God has brought into our community and into our city.

And that means more than just noticing that [baptismal name] Nicole Bauer is joining the body of Christ today. I mean, we should notice her because she’s adorable. But more than just adorableness is happening today. Today, we’re changing. Today, the body of Christ as we could see it, is different than it was before. Our vision is expanding. Our understanding of God’s city is growing by 1. And as we share God’s story and a little of who we are to this new member of the body of Christ, we know that Nicole is going to do the same to us. As she grows and experiences the love God gives her everyday, our vision of Christ’s story grows. With her, we can all more fully sing the song God has given to us. Without each other, we’re like a record that can’t speak or a needle that has nothing to say. We can’t be who God is calling us to be without each other. We can’t wait to share our stories, to see what Nicole will add to our vision of what God’s city can look like, and to walk together, in faith, knowing that God’s future is big enough to include all sorts of people – and is big enough, no matter what, to include us too.



Sea No More: The Muppet Movie and the God-of-all-tenses

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

Revelation 21:1-6

My sermon from 5th Sunday of Easter (April 24, 2016) on Revelation 21:1-6. Listen to the recording at the bottom of the page or read my manuscript below.


“A frog and a bear seeing America” that’s the lead in a song from one of my favorite movies – The Muppet Movie. If you haven’t seen it, Kermit the Frog takes a road trip from the swamp he grew up into the bright lights of Hollywood. Along the way, he’s pursued by the evil Doc Hopper, a restaurateur with a chain for frog leg restaurants, who is hoping that Kermit will become his spokesfrog. Near the beginning of the film, Kermit runs into Fozzie Bear, a failed stand up comedian, and possibly the only bear in America who’s earned their driver’s license through a correspondence course. The two partner up, with Fozzie driving, Kermit in the passenger seat, and plenty of room in the back of their 1951 Studebaker to carry all the other muppets that they’ll meet. And so, they head off, starting their journey by singing their song: “Movin’ Right Along.”

Now, it’s a great song. Kermit’s playing his banjo, they can’t read a map, and it sounds like there’s a full orchestra just off screen, who happen to be following along. The two claim to know where they’re going – but the song shows otherwise. They somehow end up in Canada, pass by Rhode Island, notice the sun is rising in the west, and run into a snowstorm while suspiciously driving along some roads through what looks like Southern California. Kermit and Fozzie are “footloose and fancy-free” and in a song that lasts less than 3 minutes, they’re also literally all over the map. When we pay attention to the lyrics and what we see on the screen, none of it makes any logical sense. They can’t go to Rhode Island and Western Canada in just one verse. But what we see makes sense emotionally. We get a foretaste of this new and whacky journey that we get to go on with these two muppets who are ready for the big time – and wondering if the big time is ready for them. And that sense – that feeling – is a part of what our reading in Revelation is trying to do today. We hear a vision of heaven, a vision of the future, a vision of what happens when God comes to earth – but this vision, when we look at the verb tenses in this passage, doesn’t create a logical story. Instead we get an image of how we, right now, are caught up in God’s future and God’s future is already just movin’ right along.

Now, if you didn’t know, I received my undergraduate degree in engineering. When I was in high school, I dreamed about building things, writing computer programming code, and solving complex questions with thousands of variables. I didn’t plan on a career where I would be writing a few thousand woirds each week. If I had, I might have taken a few more English classes than I did. So, when I write, for example, articles for our newsletter, and even manuscripts for my sermons – verb tenses still throw me. Even when I’m careful, making sure each verb tense correctly shows when something happened or existed in the present, the future, or the past, I still slip up. I still need an editor to point out where I’ve gone wrong.

So it’s surprising to see, in our scripture reading from Revelation today, these verb tenses that are all over the place. The passage starts with our author, John of Patmos, reporting to us after seeing a vision of God’s future. So this vision happened in the past. But this vision is of God’s future. So that’s..the future. And this text, written as a letter to 7 churches – 7 churches who would read this outloud during their worship services – well – that’s the present. So, in a sense, we’re caught in mixed of tenses. Past-present-and future are all mixed up here. John saw a new heaven, a new earth, and a new holy city descending from heaven and landing smack-dab on the face of the earth. But then a voice declares – that God’s home is – right now – among mortals. This same voice then moves into the future – a future where God will dwell with people, live with them, and where God will wipe away every tear. And then, suddenly, we’re back in the past, with John telling us who he saw on the throne of the universe. And then this one on the throne, who is God, tells John – tells us – that God is making all things new, right now, and that God will, in the future, give water from the spring of life as a gift to all. This is a lot of tenses. This is a lot to see and hear at once. This also gets a little confusing – like reading a map upside down or expecting a sunset and seeing a sunrise instead.

But a God of all tenses – a God where the past-the present-and the future are all wrapped into one – that’s John’s God. That’s the image that John is painting for us. A God of all-tenses isn’t a God who is far-off, like some distant star, who cares little about the details of our daily lives. A God of all-tenses isn’t a God who is hidden, waiting for a series of pre-determined events to just…happen…in an almost myth like way before God, finally, shows up. A God of all-tenses isn’t only a God of the past, a God for yesterday’s people but who has nothing to say today. A God-of-all-tenses is a God who cares about our past, who loves us in our present, and who leads us into God’s future. This is a God who is active. This is a God who, even when we can’t see it, is breaking into our reality. A God of all tenses isn’t going to rapture people up to heaven but is, instead, going to step off the throne and come-on-down. A theology that claims that God is waiting to take the right kind of people up to heaven ignores this God of all tenses because a God-of-all-tenses cares about us in all of our tenses- our past, present, and our future – too.
Now, we all have our pasts. We all have our own roadtrip that we call life. We have our stories, experiences, and those times when we’ve forgotten God or when God is just not on our radar. We’ve all built our own walls, forcing our loved ones, our friends, our neighbors, and even strangers to pay for them in a multitude of ways. We’ve made choices. We’ve done wonderful things. We’ve even loved others too. But we’ve hurt others – and others have hurt us. Our past is ours – and that matters to a God-of-all-tenses. A God of all tenses doesn’t ignore our past – but instead, our God doesn’t let us stay there. God sees our junk – sees the junk we’ve experienced, created, or that junk that’s just been thrown at us. God sees all of it – and doesn’t let it be our final world, our future tense. Because God is in the business of dwelling with us today and living in the world right now. God is busy breaking in – like a new city, coming down from heaven, and making all things new. That newness includes us. That newness includes those we’ve hurt. And that newness includes those who’ve hurt us too.

When Kermit and Fozzie sing this song – they’re near the start of their adventure. They still have people to see, muppets to run into, and they’re heading to an epic showdown with Doc Hopper, a gang of hired goons, and the biggest Animal we’ve ever seen. Their story is just beginning. And our story, whether we’re 2 or 92, is just beginning too. The God that dwells with us, the Jesus that grabs us in our baptism and doesn’t let go, that’s our Fozzie, that’s our Kermit, in the Studebaker that is our lives. And whatever comes at us – whatever ordeal we face – none of that can undo that we are loved by a God who is in all our tenses – in our past, in our present, and in our future. At the end of “Movin’ Right Along,” Fozzie and Kermit wonder if the big time – if Hollywood and all its fame and fortune are ready for them. John of Patmos, in these last chapters of Revelation, shares that our future, our past, and our present are wrapped in God’s future; a future where the tears we shed are wiped away by the One who created us, redeemed us, and lives with us, right now, even in our broken lives and in our broken world. Our roadtrip is God’s and God’s roadtrip is our roadtrip too. So when we head out, facing our days, facing our world, and facing our lives – we can go footloose and fancy free, knowing that no matter what comes along, the God of our past, the God of our present, and the God of our future is with us – so that we can keep movin’ right along.



White Rapids: a sermon on sermon titles, Jesus, lost stories, and new life.

At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

Luke 13:1-9

My sermon from the Third Sunday in Lent (February 28, 2016) on Luke 13:1-9.


Sight: a midweek Lenten sermon on seeing Jesus in a blurry world.

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Mark 8:22-25

My sermon from a mid-week Lenten series on the 5 senses (February 24, 2016) on Mark 8:22-25.


Touch: a midweek Lenten reflection on Touch, Jesus, and giving life

Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

Luke 7:11-15

My sermon from a mid-week Lenten series on the 5 senses (February 17, 2016) on Luke 7:11-15.


Candy Hearts: a sermon on the wilderness, who we are, Peter Venkman, and Numbers.

The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: Take a census of the whole congregation of Israelites, in their clans, by ancestral houses, according to the number of names, every male individually; from twenty years old and upward, everyone in Israel able to go to war. You and Aaron shall enroll them, company by company. A man from each tribe shall be with you, each man the head of his ancestral house. These are the names of the men who shall assist you: From Reuben, Elizur son of Shedeur. From Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai. From Judah, Nahshon son of Amminadab. From Issachar, Nethanel son of Zuar. From Zebulun, Eliab son of Helon. From the sons of Joseph: from Ephraim, Elishama son of Ammihud; from Manasseh, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur. From Benjamin, Abidan son of Gideoni. From Dan, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. From Asher, Pagiel son of Ochran. From Gad, Eliasaph son of Deuel. From Naphtali, Ahira son of Enan. These were the ones chosen from the congregation, the leaders of their ancestral tribes, the heads of the divisions of Israel.

These are those who were enrolled, whom Moses and Aaron enrolled with the help of the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each representing his ancestral house. So the whole number of the Israelites, by their ancestral houses, from twenty years old and upward, everyone able to go to war in Israel— their whole number was six hundred three thousand five hundred fifty.

Numbers 1:1-16,44-46

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Luke 4:1-13

My sermon from the First Sunday in Lent (February 14, 2016) on Numbers 1 and Luke 4.


Visible: Ash Wednesday, God’s Fire, and Making Ashes

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

My sermon from Ash Wednesday (February 10, 2016) on Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.


I Am: a sermon on Jesus, mountaintops, and God’s cloud.

Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

Luke 9:28-36

My sermon from the Transfiguration (February 7, 2016) on Luke 9:28-36.