Touches on the Fringe
We have something notable to celebrate today. Today we celebrate the sustaining power at the fringes: power moving on the margins of church and community, on the margins of faith and hope, of society and nation. Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on the Sixth Sunday of Easter. The Scripture lesson is Luke 8:43-48.
The Finest of Materials
The Christians in First Peter who heard this call were not living in easy times. They were living a quarter a century after the death and resurrection of Christ. They were living in Rome. They were a minority, subject to persecution, some episodic, some systematic. They suffered for their faith, and knew they might be called upon at any time to given an account of why they believed the way they believed. And they were re-shaping their faith in light of the fact that Christ had not returned as many had expected soon after his death and resurrection. Yet still they are being summoned. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Fifth Sunday of Easter. The Scripture lesson is 1 Peter 2:2-10.
"Let us remember Jesus as he was, rather than as we want him to be." The intention of this prayer from the Book of Common Worship is to encourage us to remember all of Jesus, hopefully reminding us that we are made in the image of God, not in the image of our idealized Christ. Rev. Jacob Bolton preaches on the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The Scripture lesson is John 10:1-10.
1 Peter and the Grapes of Wrath
Despite its glory, or perhaps because of it, the First Letter of Peter also turns its attention to the rough and tumble, weal and woe, of life on earth. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The Scripture lesson is 1 Peter 1:3-9, 13-25.
All of Us Are Witnesses
On this the 2nd Sunday of Easter, let us remember that resurrection is not about a certain day of the year but about an orientation to life, death, and life after death. This day, I invite you to remember that we all are witnesses, to remember when the name of God, the name of Jesus, became more than a mere word to you. Rev. Whitney Fauntleroy preaches on the Second Sunday of Easter. The Scripture lesson is Acts 2:14a, 22-32.
Perhaps in all those Easters we have anticipated and celebrated – with the size of the congregation, the beauty of the weather, the conviviality of the gathering, the suits and dresses and hats – we have overlooked that the first Easter emerged in darkness for people who like Mary were traumatized: going to a tomb at night, finding its entrance unsealed and presumably invaded by grave-robbers. Easter doesn’t occur in the light. But it brings the light. While it is still dark, Easter brings light.
What You Signed Up For
There are many questions that the continuous sweep of a pandemic has raised for us the past few weeks. For all these questions – theological and human – some will soon have answers, some will have answers in time, and some will never have answers. But there is one thing with which we are left: the witness of our fellow human beings. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on Palm Sunday. The Scripture lesson is Matthew 21:1-11, and is read by Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt.
The Will of Grace
Hebrews boasts that “we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.” This assurance can only emerge from those who have been met by God not just in their strength, but in their weakness. Not those whom God finds to be puffed up, but those who are shrunken down. Not those who are found and can see, but those who are blind, and lost. That’s what we need. We need to be met where we are, to go where God would have us be. Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt preaches on the Fifth Sunday in Lent. The Scripture lesson is Hebrews 4:14-16.
A Run-On Sentence
On a small scale, I never thought I could accept that the worship of God could occur – at least for me – without the congregation being gathered, in the Sanctuary, in the Chapel, worshipping as a community. But when I walked into this Sanctuary last Sunday, even though the pews were empty, the place was filled with the Spirit. And this week whenever a familiar face has appeared on the monitor I now have set up in my basement, that even though location changes and media of communication is new, the face or faces on the screen are community, the community with whom I worship, the community I love, the community of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Fourth Sunday in Lent. The Scripture lesson is selected verses from Number 13-14, read by Rev. Whitney Fauntleroy.
The Ant and the Sluggard
I was tearful on Friday when our Session made the final but correct decision – in a conference call in which nearly all thirty-three members participated – to cancel all our activities, to livestream our worship, and to close our facilities. It was clearly the right decision, but I never thought I would see the day when I would say, “I’m sorry, but you cannot enter this house of worship.” Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the the Third Sunday during Lent. The Scripture lesson is Proverbs 6:6-11 (Revised Standard Version), and is read by Rev. Jacob Bolton.
Face to the Wall
During an illness, King Hezekiah, one of the three vaulted kings of Israel, is told by the prophet Isaiah, “Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.” In this sermon, we will see how Hezekiah faces news of his impending death. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Second Sunday in Lent, when the Westminster choir presents the Bach cantata, "God's Time Is the Best of All Times." The Scripture lesson is Isaiah 38:1-8, and is read by Rev. Patrick Hunnicutt.
Count Our Days
No matter how bleak or insignificant a human life seems to be, the most important thing is to seek wisdom, to seek a wise heart, to seek a heart that begins with awe, reverence, respect for the Lord as the first principle and animating force for life. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the First Sunday in Lent. The Scripture lesson is Psalm 90.
If You Are
Rev. Whitney Fauntleroy preaches on the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Matthew 5:22-26, and is read by Boy Scout Drew Berlett.
Light to All the House
His name was George Steiner. He passed away Monday at the age of 90 at his home in Cambridge, England. He had served as the chief literary critic at The New Yorker for over thirty years. Now it may seem odd for so highbrow a figure as a professor of literature to serve as a connection to a sermon given on a hillside by an itinerant first century rabbi, to fishermen and tax collectors and other ordinary people who had gathered around him. But maybe there is more in common between Jesus’ teachings and the obituary of a scholar of literature than at first meets the eye. Rev. Larry Hayward preaches on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Scripture lesson is Matthew 5:14-15.
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