Jacob and Esau
Among the most pronounced divisions which unfold in Genesis is that between brother and brother. In the story of Jacob and Esau, can we find hope for reconciliation? Larry Hayward preaches on Genesis 25:19-28.
Isaac and Rebekah
From the time Isaac is born to Abraham and Sarah until the time nearly forty years later he marries Rebekah, we see Isaac experience nothing but trauma and loss. But as the story of Isaac continues in Genesis, we get to see Isaac experience a moment of healing as well. Larry Hayward preaches on Genesis 24:62-67.
Leaders and People in a Democracy
As we share in our nation’s 241st year of independence, the dynamics in this text concerning the relationship between the people of Israel and their leader Moses can, I believe, add a bit of wisdom to the dynamics of what it means in our time to be the people called “The United States of America.” I offer these comments neither as law, prescription, nor even opinion, but as perhaps a bit of wisdom gleaned from a particular moment in the history of the people of God who were not quite as far along in their formation as a people as we are in our nation today, but a people with whom we may have more in common than at first we think. Larry Hayward preaches on Numbers 11:24-30.
When we first read the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, it is hard to garner much respect for any of the adults in it, for the flaws of each are on full display. The book itself presents us with certain ethical dilemmas and at times violent, morally reprehensible, and stomach-turning behavior on the part of the people of God. Larry Hayward preaches today from selected verses in Genesis 16 and 21.
There are moments when we are called into spaces and places—or when places and spaces appear around us suddenly—where we feel helpless and overwhelmed by the need at hand. Into this world, we are called to see, to hear, to experience what is around us. And then we are called to speak good news, and even to heal. Rev. Casey FitzGerald preaches today on Matthew 9:35—10:23.
The Two Directions of Creation
This summer, Dr. Larry R. Hayward preaches a sermon series on the Genesis selections of the Lectionary. The series begins with Genesis 1:26–31. In this first Creation story we encounter both a vertical relationship, between God and humanity, and a horizontal relationship--a communal relationship--within God's own person and with each other.
Ready to Activate
The church is a gathering of difference: different stories, different backgrounds, different calling, different life experiences, different gifts. In 1 Corinthians, Paul is writing to a divided church, one where certain gifts are being valued over others. Paul writes to remind them who they are, that the church is best when it is a motley crew of faithful folks seeking to bring humanity in reach of something higher. On the Day of Pentecost, Whitney Fauntleroy preaches on 1 Corinthians 12:3b–13.
The Last Memory
As the disciples pick up the mantle of mission in Acts, they face bitterness, resistance, persecution. Some are imprisoned. Some are shipwrecked. Some are assailed by angry mobs. Yet the last memory they have of Christ is him blessing them: thus they are able to carry on, even when carrying on is the last thing they have the confidence to do. Larry Hayward preaches on the Ascension of the Lord from Luke 24:44-53.
Two Sermons in One
If our task as the church is to participate in the inbreaking of God’s kingdom on earth, perhaps we need not aim for some heroic and decisive departure from everything we have known in order to follow Jesus. Perhaps we just to situate ourselves at the beginning of the story, in the crowd that is eager to listen. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches from Luke 5:1-11.
Orating or Bestriding
In a context in which disciples are confused and fearful of Jesus’s leaving – “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” – Christ is saying, with calm reassurance, “You have seen the Father because you have seen me. I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is expressing exalted reassurance, not a call to conversion or theological precision. How does the beauty and power of John’s language about Christ actually lift our souls into his presence and lead us to belief? Larry Hayward preaches today on John 14:1-14.
Youth Sunday 2017
On Youth Sunday, several of our twelfth-grade students reflect on Psalm 23. Speakers are Anne-Marie Berens, Andi Scroggs, Chris Neureiter, Julia Ruffino, and Jilly Stone.
I Want to Preach Resurrection, Too
Those of us who are well-acquainted with the story of the resurrection still desire to encounter it anew. How can we experience the resurrection as something that is vivid and real to the heartbeat of this life, not just some promise of the life that is to come or some story from many years ago? Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on Luke 24:13–35.
Forgiving and Retaining at Easter
When the risen Christ appears to his disciples as a body in John, Christ bestows upon them the power to represent him in the world, and the power to "forgive" and "retain" sin. What does this offering of forgiveness do for us today? Larry Hayward preaches on John 20:19-23.
Before the Great Commission
The only real way we can respond to the resurrection of Christ is to fall down and worship. For people of faith, worship is crucial in accepting and preparing for a great responsibility, for our Great Commission. Larry Hayward preaches on Easter Sunday from Matthew 28:1–10, 16–20.
The Poet Thinks About the Donkey
Today is traditionally known as Palm Sunday, the day in which Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and was greeted by crowds waving palm branches and cheering, a day that leads to Jesus’ death but ultimately to his resurrection. It is the resurrection of Christ that makes his teaching beyond that of a great teacher, his death beyond that of a martyr, his life beyond that of other great lives, both those lived to their fullness of days and those cut short by human conflict and violence. And it all begins with a procession into Jerusalem on a donkey, to the waving of branches and shouts of “Hosanna!” Dr. Larry Hayward preaches today on Matthew 21:1-11, using Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Poet Thinks About the Donkey.” This sermon was preached at the 8:30 a.m. service.
If You Had Been Here
In today's story, Jesus finds his friends in difficult places, filled with fear and grief. In times of our own fear and grief, we often ask the same thing they did: “Why?” Jesus says, “Come, and see.” Casey FitzGerald preaches on John 11:1-54.
A Risk on the Part of God
King David is a person with tremendous capacity for good and evil, compassion and cruelty, tenderness and violence. Why would an all-powerful and all-knowing God invest God’s very self in a person like David – or for that matter a person like you or me? Why would God take such risk? Larry Hayward preaches from 1 Samuel 16:1-13.
Oh, the Water
Over 3500 years span the calendar between the people of Israel in the wilderness, Christ and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, and Van Morrison in the Irish countryside. But each experiences water as an entry point of a deeper experience of God. Larry Hayward preaches from Exodus 17:1–7 and John 4:7–15.
The Value of Geography
Faith normally comes to us in a place and may take us to another place, but it is rarely if ever “place-less.” We can never underestimate the role of geography in forming our faith, giving it roots, leading it to live. Even when geography is the source of friction and pain, we cannot escape it. Our faith takes form around place. Larry Hayward preaches today from Genesis 12:1-4.
Good for Food
In eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the woman and man were not giving into or falling into some base, lower nature; rather they were rising, extending themselves, aspiring to exceed and excel. They were responding to all that is good and noble, hopeful and helpful, not base or demeaning: Nourishment, beauty, knowledge. What’s not to like? Larry Hayward preaches today on Genesis 3:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11.
Turn the Other Cheek
Dr. Larry Hayward concludes an accidental sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, preaching on Matthew 5:38-48. How do we address the gap between the demands of these words of Jesus and the world in which we seek to understand and live them out?
The Sermon on the Mount
In her sermon a few weeks ago, Casey FitzGerald challenged us to re-engage with Scripture such that we might see the tension within it; between it and ourselves; and between it, ourselves, and our world. Today, she leads us in hearing a large piece of Scripture—three chapters from the gospel of Matthew—that our time in worship does not normally afford us to hear. Let anyone with ears, listen.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?” “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Though Jesus never uses the word “church,” he is describing not only what the individual life of the Christian is to be, but also what the followers of Jesus Christ are collectively to be. He is describing the church. Larry Hayward preaches on Matthew 5:13-20.
From the Mount, a Sermon
The Beatitudes speak to what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be the church. Are they commandments to follow in this life, or are they descriptions of the life to come? Are they reflections of the way things are or the way things ought to be? Larry Hayward preaches on Matthew 5:1-12.
When Jesus Began
The Christian Church around the world is in a season of focusing on the beginnings of the ministry of Jesus Christ. How did Jesus’ ministry reflect the political circumstances of his day, and how did he prepare for it? How did his followers respond to his call to ministry? Larry Hayward preaches today from Matthew 4:12-22.
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