Eli and Ancestry
The Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on the Second Sunday after the Epiphany. The Scripture lesson is 1 Samuel 3:1-10.
In the Spirit
Rev. Jacob Bolton preaches on the Baptism of the Lord Sunday. The Scripture lesson is Mark 1:4-11 and Acts 19:1-7.
Now Made Known
"A few decades after his death and resurrection, as reflected in our Scripture for today, the earliest generation of leaders of the church seek to bear witness to God’s promise to “all the nations of the world” by sharing the good news and grace of Jesus Christ with Gentiles, people who were not part of the Jewish covenant, people who were among the 'nations of the world.' In our passage, the writer of Ephesians marvels at both the power and beauty of God who through Christ is reaching out to and including within his promise the formerly excluded Gentiles."
Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Second Sunday after Christmas. The Scripture lesson is Ephesians 3:1-12.
Check the Boxes
Rev. Jacob Bolton preaches on the first Sunday after Christmas. The Scripture lesson is Luke 2:22-40.
To Their Own Towns
Secondly, the details with which Luke describes Joseph’s journey to his home – And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem – serves as a reminder that as glorious, as spiritual, as salvific as is the event to which Mary and Joseph travel and in which they are direct participants – the birth of Jesus Christ – that birth is rooted to earth. Originating in the beyond, that birth occurs in history. At a particular place and time. Among a particular people. In a land of particular rulers. An event of heavenly origin, it occurs on earth, redeems the earth, transforms the earth, saves the earth. It is in turn welcomed on earth, glorified on earth, lived out on earth, sung to and about on earth by those who are drawn to it, touched by it, and moved to orient our lives toward it and from it. It is a heavenly event that shapes and molds who we are, how we live on the earth we all home. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on Christmas Eve, the Nativity of the Lord. The Scripture lesson is Luke 2:1-7.
The Biography of the Virgin Birth
The Spirit of God hovering, brooding, sweeping over, overshadowing the watery chaos at Creation. That same Spirit hovering, brooding, sweeping over, overshadowing the watery chaos of Mary’s womb, and creating within it the Holy Child, the redeemer of the world. Is there anything more worthy of our wonder and worship than this? Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. The Scripture lessons are Genesis 1:1-5 and Luke 1:26-38.
All Decked Up
The words of the prophet emerge, saying this: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.” For God’s blessings to be seen in this world, the world needs those who are willing to claim it for themselves. Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on the Third Sunday of Advent. The Scripture lesson is Isaiah 61:1–3, 10.
Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on the First Sunday of Advent. The Scripture lesson is Mark 13:32-37.
The Least of These
The point of his final discourse in Matthew is that that even as we might await the end of history, when Christ as the Son of Man will return in all his glory, Christ is still present with us, when, without even thinking about what we are doing, we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, take care of the sick, and visit the imprisoned. “In as much as you have done it to the least of these my brothers and sisters,” he says, “you have done it unto me.” Jesus Christ is present. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on Christ the King Sunday. The Scripture lesson is Matthew 25:31-46.
The Parable of the Talents
Now I know in a time of pandemic it is risky for a minister to endorse certain types of risk: the risk of defying health warnings, the risk of not wearing a mask, the risk of ignoring social distancing. For me to urge you to that kind of risk would amount to homiletical malpractice. But what I am inviting you to consider is a different kind of risk: a risk that dares to hope, that dares to believe, that dares to trust that we will not be in this situation for ever, that we will not be sequestered for the rest of our lives, that we will not be unable to greet and hug and hold friends and family and fellow church members for the rest of our days. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Matthew 25:14-30.
A Post-Election Sermon
I fear that over the last decade or so, we have become a nation whose unresolved anger – often growing out of centuries of real and profound grievance – has led us to slap the faces of even the people with whom we share earth and stars and common dreams. While one interpretation of this week’s election is a rejection on the part of the American people of an unbridled expression of anger, whatever anger we have within our body politic will not likely disappear with the results of an election. We cannot just vote our anger away. We must as a people face, acknowledge, understand and address our anger so that we can channel it toward constructive ends; otherwise, it will continue to consume the institutions of our common life – such as churches and schools and businesses and families – which are not immune from the lasting sting of its slap. Following a tradition that began in 1982, Westminster celebrates Remembrance Sunday on the Sunday closest to Veterans Day. We do so to remember those who have given their lives in service to our nation and to honor those who serve today. We also add our prayers for continued peace throughout our nation and the world. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on this Remembrance Sunday, the Sunday following the 2020 Presidential Election.
A Pre-Election Sermon
No matter who wins the election this week, if we in our country are going to have constructive discussions about immigration and healthcare and opioids and Black Lives Matter and climate and criminal justice and trade and taxes and our role in the world, if we are going to discuss, better yet navigate, the differences between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome, we need an equality of listening that leads to an equality of empathy. This is a basic starting point for constructive decisions for the common good and, because of the role we play on the world stage, for the good of the world. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on All Saints' Day. The Scripture lesson is 1 Samuel 12:1, 13-15.
Stewardship in a Time of Coronavirus
I continue to be grateful for the celebration you gave me this summer on the fortieth anniversary of my ordination to the ministry. Among the things that means is that I have been involved in exactly forty stewardship campaigns – that process each Fall in which the church asks each member to make a financial pledge for the upcoming year to support the work of the church. But none of these previous forty campaigns has had much in common – at least outwardly – with the one we are beginning today. This one is indeed “Stewardship in a Time of Coronavirus.” Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is 2 Corinthians 8:1-15.
"My hunch is that whenever this season of our lives is over, our beloved community of faith will looks a little different. Yes, we will still be Presbyterians; yes, we will still be Westminster. But we will have changed. We will have reformed." Rev. Jacob Bolton preaches on the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8.
Think on These Things
If we allow the words Paul spoke to the early church speak to our day and time, Paul calls us to rejoice. What on earth can he mean? Has he no accurate sense of the appropriate time to issue such a call? Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Philippians 4:1-9.
Two or Three
"However Jesus said it, we can doubt the number he used mattered that much. The point is the interplay: the two-way dynamic between the gathering of God's people and the presence of God's authority and power." Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, in celebration of World Communion Sunday. The Scripture lesson is Matthew 18:15-20.
The Parable of the Sower
The Parable of the Sower is thus not simply about our effort, nor simply about any success we might meet. Rather, the parable is about mystery: the mystery of our putting ourselves forward, on this earth, in this life, in this day and time and culture in which we live. Ultimately, the interaction between seed and soil, effort and outcome, is a mystery, residing in the heart and hands mind of God. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Matthew 13:1-9.
How Do You End a Parable?
My friends, the only way we will survive this fall in our country, our city, our church is if, over the next several months, we strive to see that we are part of a community and strive to see – and even celebrate – the blessing of God as it is bestowed in the lives of other people, many of whom we have not heretofore considered as worthy as we are. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Matthew 20:1-16.
God Intended It for Good
This one sentence forms a theme of the Joseph story and touches nearly all the characters in Genesis: "you intended to do evil…God intended it for good." Only time, faith, wise discernment of events will tell us whether the things which so pain us one day we will another day interpret as God using for good. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, concluding a sermon series on Genesis. The Scripture lesson is Genesis 50:15-21.
Judah Drawing Near
"When Judah stepped forward to Joseph, he brought a self, a family, a people, a nation together. The promise of God kept its long and winding road toward fruition." Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, as part of a sermon series on Genesis. The Scripture lesson is Genesis 44:18-34.