A Thrill of Hope
Reverend Olivia Patterson preaches on the first Sunday of Advent. The scripture lesson is Luke 21:25-36.
Daniel’s vision of a “Son of Man” who comes down from heaven is a vision of a savior whose kingdom takes root in the kingdom of the world – the reign of the “one like a human being” is a reign of God that renders secondary if not illegitimate the reigns and rules we know on earth. Jesus Christ as “Son of Man,” this “one like a human being,” can lift us above the disease that has become endemic in our culture of looking to politics for our identity and filling our identity with our politics. Faith in a transcendent Son of Man – rather than one who simply melds with and blesses our political dreams and demonization – can help us renew our public life without being defined by it. Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on Christ the King Sunday. The Scripture lesson is Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14.
The Cross and the Rectification of All Things
"Because the power of sin and evil impact the entire created order, “fixing things” involves more than “forgiving an individual’s particular sins” or “saving an individual’s soul.” It involves more than helping us as individuals come to spiritual and psychological peace – in light of what we have done or what has been done to us. It is rectification."
Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lessons are Romans 6:3-4; Romans 8:22; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; and Isaiah 54:8.
"I want to share today a few brief texts and stories from the tradition of our faith that affirm the call to service many of us feel. Whether we hear these texts as praise from the pulpit, as a renewal of a call we may be questioning, or as encouragement which even the most committed among us need from time to time, these texts can remind us of what originally led us to vocations of service and why we remain in them."
Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches at the 8:30am service on Remembrance Sunday. The Scripture lesson is Hebrews 12:1-4, 12-13.
The Cross and the Gravity of Sin
"The truth is that all of us come to worship – at least in large measure – because we want to feel better: about ourselves, our family, our work, our health, our world, the condition of our souls and psyches. If we are willing to confess and face the reality of Sin, we want to do so only followed by a full-throated assurance of pardon. In this series on the crucifixion of Christ, I want to stress that we can only face the awfulness of the crucifixion if we understand the power of Sin and Evil the cross overcomes."
Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on Reformation Sunday. The Scripture lesson comes from Genesis 3:1-7; Psalm 51:2, 4, 12-13; Romans 5:12, 14, 15b, 18-19.
A Stewardship Benediction
"When the unknown writer of the Letter to the Hebrews closes his epistle, he blesses his readers with a benediction: 'Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.' Along these lines, I want to bless you with a stewardship benediction: May the God of peace continue to make you complete in everything good so that we may do God’s will." Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Hebrews 13:20-21 and 2 Timothy 1:3-7.
Contending with the Almighty
"Job is a book that asks really hard questions. It's a long read, but it's worth sitting down and reading start to finish. Today, I'm going to focus on Job and Job's relationship to God, and Job's relationship with the world. The two loudest messages that I received from Job this week: the importance of engaging with God across the whole spectrum of human emotion, and the need to surrender control." Olivia Patterson preaches on the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is selections from Job 21, 27, 38.
A Horse With No Mane
The rich man of Mark chapter 10: many scholars and sermons disparage this man; they treat him as a lost cause. But this man, with all his flaws, was also this: he was someone Jesus loved. And that love, more than anything else, defines who he was, and who he is as a citizen of the commonwealth of heaven.
Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Mark 10:17-27.
The Godlessness of the Cross
"As we look at the Crucifixion, we will be talking about the shame and degradation it entails, and we will even consider the possibility that the Crucifixion of Christ was godless. Thus, this may be the darkest and most challenging of the sermons in the series, but my hope is that it will prepare us for the larger hope entailed in the death and resurrection of Christ as Father, Son, and Spirit for all the people of the world, all the time, ourselves included."
Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture passages are Isaiah 52:14, 53:2b-3; Mark 15:33-34, 37; and Philippians 2:5-11.
The Primacy of the Cross
"What is unique about the death of Christ – and what makes the Crucifixion so definitional to our faith – is not that another heroic martyr has died. Rather, what makes the Crucifixion of Christ unique is the claim (which I affirm) that on the Cross it is the fullness of God who dies – not just God’s spokesperson or representative or proxy or Spirit or shadow or even simple human Son; rather, it is God’s own self who is put to death by a combination of civil and religious authorities in a way that is brutal, shameful, public, and painful."
Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, as part of a sermon series on the Crucifixion. The Scripture lesson is 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.
In Hebrew, the word for widsom is "Chokmâh," or a person with a wealth, and a depth, of spiritual, moral, and relational intelligence. What James alludes to, and what we as Reformers must in fact hold fast to, is that wisdom is not solely a contemplative attainment - it's most faithfully expressed when made manifest in particular actions.
Rev. Dr. Jacob Bolton preaches on the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is James 3:13-18.
When Covid Met Delta
"Today’s sermon will be different than most, in that its primary aim is to introduce you to the preaching I plan to do over the course of the next several months and perhaps beyond. Why do I think a series on the crucifixion fits now? With the appearance of Delta, with its quick spread, with vaccines for children as yet unannounced, we are not likely to be free of COVID for several months (if we ever fully will be). But with the resurgence, we now more than ever need the spiritual strength and consistency not only to get by, but to flourish as much as possible. By offering a sermon series, on a topic as central as the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I want to provide some consistency from the pulpit that might lead you to a deep dive into the Christian faith."
Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Revelation 7:9-17, and is read by Ms. Olivia Patterson.
Privilege and Responsibility
In Hebrew, the word “generous” literally means “good of eye.” My friends, even though we are a largely white church, there are ways we can develop more goodness of eye, ways we can learn what people of different colors and backgrounds experience in this world, so that we might be part of a new day in our church and in our country. Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23.
Keep Your Eyes on the Field
Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Ruth 2:1-10.
Filled with the Holy Spirit
Rev. Jean Coyle, Westminster Parish Associate, preaches on the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is John 14:15-27.
Characters with Character: Joseph of Arimathea
When we consider the last few hours of Jesus’ life, three people involved in his death stand out in our memories. The third person who plays a role in the last hours of Jesus’ life shows a different kind of character: not the character that comes when we change, but the character required when the situation around us changes.
Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Luke 23:50-56, and is read by Rev. Dr. Jacob Bolton.
Characters with Character: Elizabeth
Today we encounter Elizabeth, who is a paragon of patience, who listens to God speak through the prenatal movements of her son John the Baptist, and who prepares both her son and Mary the mother of Jesus for the roles they play in the birth and life of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Luke 1:39-45.
Characters with Character: Uriah the Hittite
"Today’s character in our summer sermon series is Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband, David’s military officer. Though we might forget about Uriah – or never have noticed him – the Biblical narrator does not forget Uriah. So what about Uriah’s character?" Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is 2 Samuel 11:6-17.
Characters with Character: Abigail
Today in our summer sermon series on Characters with Character, we encounter another strong female from the Old Testament: Abigail. Abigail is a woman described as beautiful but who uses her intelligence to navigate between two powerful and angry men—one of whom is her husband, one of whom is King in waiting—to defuse a situation which could have been the end of all of three of them.
Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is 1 Samuel 25:23-31.
Characters with Character: Lois
Today’s character, Lois, is only mentioned in one verse in the Bible. In order to get a feel for the character Lois had, we have to follow the life of her grandson Timothy, whose faith he attributed to her influence. Perhaps it is the length and steadfastness of Timothy’s faith that comes directly from the length and steadfastness of the faith that “lives in” his grandmother Lois. No drama is reported. No conversion experience is evident. No tragedy or crisis giving rise to a turning to God. Just faith. Pure and simple. Living in a woman, then her daughter, then her grandson.
Rev. Dr. Larry Hayward preaches on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is 2 Timothy 1:3-7.