Getting to Know You
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael is stuck: stuck in himself, stuck in his own ignorance, stuck in his own constricted view of reality. But when he is told to “come and see,” his willingness to go leads him to Jesus. And Christ’s seeing, and Christ’s knowing, change everything for Nathanael. Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on John 1:43-51.
Presented in the Temple
Whatever children and youth experience from hearing, seeing, interacting with adults – in the kitchen, in the hallways, at the water fountain, in the classroom, in the sanctuary, in the choir loft – whatever they experience from us shapes their faith, for good or for ill. We are all Simeons and Annas. Rev. Dr. Larry R. Hayward preaches from Luke 2:21-40.
The Beginning of the Good News
Matthew, Luke, and John, each writing thirty to sixty years after the death of Christ, have introduced us to Jesus with words carefully chosen and beautifully written. In contrast, Mark’s words are informative. They are important. But they are not particularly poetic or beautiful. Instead, Mark calls us to get to work, “immediately.” The kingdom of God is near. The business of life is at hand. It is time to repent, turn our attention to the kingdom Christ brings, commit ourselves to it, get to work on its behalf. Larry Hayward preaches on Mark 1:1-14.
Christmas Eve Homily 2017
though the stories that Christian churches across the world recite, sing, and tell this night are about a particular birth of a particular person in the midst of a particular people at a particular time and place in history – namely, Jesus Christ, born as a free, Jewish male, in first century Palestine – the significance of his birth transcends the time and place and gender and race and legal standing and national heritage in which he was born. The peace Christ brings transcends these all.
In and Above the World
Our sermons this Advent are drawn from the opening to each of the four gospels in the New Testament. We heard the beginning of Matthew three weeks ago; the beginning of Luke last Sunday. Today, we focus on the opening of John’s Gospel. Both Matthew and Luke begin their stories of Jesus with his conception and birth, not an illogical place to begin. As we will see next Sunday, Mark begins with Jesus is an adult. By contrast, John takes the origins of Jesus Christ all the way back to and even before creation. In fact, when we open the Gospel of John, we wonder if we haven’t by accident opened the Book of Genesis. Larry Hayward preaches on John 1:1-18.
Glory to God
Preaching her last sermon at Westminster, Rev. Casey FitzGerald leaves us with three thoughts: 1) Do not be afraid--fear is the wrong story; 2) Surround yourself with Elizabeths--those who would name for you how God is working in your life. Be Elizabeths--do not withhold your joy in naming the way you see God working in the world; and 3) Learn and tell the stories, that, like Mary, you might recall the promises of God when you and the world need them most! The Scripture lesson is Luke 1:26–56.
Matthew: a gospel whose opening words would not necessarily win a prize for catching our attention. But by putting the account of Christ’s birth right after the family tree, Matthew shows us how it is connected to the broad passage of time and humanity that has come before—and how we might see the new life born in our midst. Patrick Hunnicutt begins a series of Advent sermons exploring how the gospels frame our understanding of the coming Christ in their opening pages. Today’s Scripture lesson is Matthew 1:17-25.
Above Every Name That Is Named
"I realize that in the past couple of years, in the midst of our national divisiveness, I have been trying to emphasize two things at the heart of the Christian faith: That every human being is created in the image of God and is therefore a child of God, and that the steadfast love of the Lord is given to every human being. But our text for this Reign of Christ Sunday exceeds in emphasis even these two hallmarks of Christian teaching. In emphasizing human unity, today’s text points to something else: God’s ultimate power which stands above us all." Larry Hayward preaches on Christ the King Sunday from Ephesians 1:15-23.
The Case for Free Trade
In this sermon, we probe two fundamental questions that appear to be at the center of this imaginatively truth-telling parable: who is God, and how do we live joyfully with this God and with all who share in God's life both now and in the age to come? Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on Matthew 25:14-30.
Reflections on Remembrance Sunday
Following a tradition that began in 1982, Westminster remembers those who have given their lives in service to our nation. Several choral anthems, were offered to mark this Remembrance Sunday, with Dr. Larry Hayward offering reflections on each.
What the Wise Consider
I wish I could say that every wave returns to the sea before it does damage, that every storm is stilled before it becomes destructive, that every disease is stopped short before it claims its first victim. I wish I could say that that every international crisis will end before the words are spoken that cannot be taken back, before the first sword is drawn, the first bomb dropped. But you know that I cannot make that promise. And neither does the psalmist. But in a psalm that is both eloquent and realistic about the heights and depths we experience as human beings, the psalmist closes with these words: Let those who are wise give heed to these things; And consider the steadfast love of the Lord. Larry Hayward preaches on Psalm 107.
Like many Protestant congregations around the world, we at Westminster are acknowledging the 500th anniversary of the Reformation today. In this sermon, Larry Hayward shares what the Reformation has come to mean to him, a Presbyterian pastor in the twenty-first century. “I hope what you glean from this sermon will help you understand our church, our Reformed tradition, and most of all, where your own faith fits or lives in tension with our heritage.” The Scripture lesson is Romans 12:1-4, 9-15. The sermon title is a reference to Karl Barth’s commentary on The Epistle to the Romans.
Where Does Westminster Fit Within Christianity Today?
Is there a place for a church like Westminster: with worship rooted in tradition centuries old, with thoughtful preaching and teaching, with acceptance of and respect for a variety of people’s individual religious experiences and the differing moral viewpoints which grow out of those experiences? Will there be a place in the world for the values and practices we at Westminster hold dear and have embodied since our founding in 1940 as we move ever so quickly toward 2040? Larry Hayward expands on his recent talks with Adult Education and the Men of Westminster. The Scripture lesson is Acts 17:16-34 (selected verses).
24 Karat Magic
"The Israelites serve as simply people--flawed and forgetful people. They remind me that God has long been in the business of loving people who are either completely a hot mess or, at best, more or less ok." Whitney Fauntleroy preaches on Exodus 32:1-14.
The Ten Commandments
"In 37 years of preaching, I have never given a sermon on the Ten Commandments. But they are central to our faith; many of us were exposed to them or even memorized them as children; and they are our Old Testament passage from the lectionary today. So I think it’s about time." Larry Hayward preaches on Exodus 20:1-18.
For Jesus, the political is pastoral and the pastoral is political. Casey FitzGerald preaches from Matthew 21:23-32.
In the midst of the history we are living, God is living with us. God provides. But God’s provision also places a call upon us: a responsibility to know who we are, and to know where we have been as a prelude to knowing where we will go. Larry Hayward preaches on Exodus 16:1-5, 10-15.
Through the Sea
Dry land or no dry land, the people of Israel take a leap of faith and step into the waters. Larry Hayward preaches on Exodus 14:19-31.
What is it about God—the God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Christ in whose name we gather, who is the Spirit whose presence we invoke—that compels us to one simple and positive four-letter word? Larry R. Hayward preaches on Romans 13:8-10.
The Burning Bush
Perhaps God will remain within the burning bush until he finds someone willing to join him in the effort of setting his people free. Larry R. Hayward preaches today on Exodus 3:1-15.
Jesus asks his disciples two questions of identity: "Who do people say that I am?" and "Who do YOU say that I am?" Rev. Whitney Fauntleroy explores how the answers reveal both our typical human capacity of defining people through what we already know, and our ability to move beyond that through experience and revelation. The Scripture lesson is Matthew 16:13-20.
In our story for the day, our assigned lectionary text, Jesus drops the mic on 2017: It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles. Jesus is clear--words matter. Casey FitzGerald preaches today from Matthew 15:10-28. The song included in the Scripture reading is "Listen in the Silence" by Linnea Good.
The Pit and the Rope
Larry Hayward continues his summer sermon series, "In the Beginning". Today's scripture is Genesis 37:12-28.
Ultimate Fighting Discipleship
Something about being human means being drawn to a good fight. Patrick Hunnicutt continues the story of Jacob in Genesis 32:22-31.
Rachel and Leah
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