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.
Blocked from Behind
"There's a little bit of life left--how are you going to use it?" The Rev. Whitney Fauntleroy preaches on the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Matthew 16:21-28.
In the Beginning...
The Rev. Jacob Bolton preaches on the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Exodus 1:8--2:10, and is read by Maggie Chamberlain.
"In this celebration of unity in Psalm 133, we also find the seeds of its critique. Unity isn't always what it's cracked up to be--at least, not for everyone." Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Joseph: The Pit and the Rope
I think a deeper reason Joseph may appeal to us is that we are attracted to people who suffer misfortune but don’t dwell on it; people who are victims but refuse to draw their identity from what has happened to them. We admire people who focus on the future and rather than the past, who keep their eyes on the prize ahead rather than on the pain of the Pit behind. We want to be like them, act like them, flourish like them. We want the Lord to be with us in prosper all we do. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time as part of a series on Genesis. The Scripture lesson is Genesis 37:23-28; 41:51; and 45:25-28.
Jacob's Holy Limp
What has always attracted my attention about this story is the limp – the fact that in his wrestling with God, Jacob emerges blessed, but limping; limping, but blessed. Limping and blessed! Sometimes when we wrestle with God these things emerge in the course of our wrestling. We are left limping, a holy limp, holy because to be blessed is to incorporate all that has been a part of our lives into our lives, in a way that that even the painful parts – the sources of our limp – can become sources of strength, wisdom, blessing. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time as part of a sermon series on Genesis. The Scripture lesson is Genesis 32:22-32.
Rachel and Leah
In the world to which we are accustomed – in which love leads to marriage rather than marriage to love, in which both parties have choice, and in which marriage is to only one person, the differences with the world of Rachel and Leah and Jacob can make this story seem laughable, offensive, or just too plain ridiculous to speak to us. But if we stick with it, as is the case with most Biblical stories, we can learn something from it, and leave this hour of worship not quite the same person we were when the hour began. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, as part of a sermon series on Genesis. The Scripture lesson is Genesis 29:15-23, 25-28, 30-35.
"Like so many people who marry, in marrying into the family of Abraham and Sarah, Rebekah takes on all the blessings and burdens of that family – particularly as these have shaped and formed Isaac into the person he has become by the time she links her life and destiny with his." Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, as part of a sermon series on Genesis. The Scripture lesson is Genesis 25:19-28.