Sermons from the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer
Love and Repentance| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Love and Repentance
"What John is not saying is, “you should feel shame, you should be ashamed of yourself, you should feel miserable and awful about yourself.” That’s not what he’s talking about. He is saying God is here. […] God is present, make a point of looking around and finding God. God is coming close to you and bringing God’s kingdom, which is to say, God’s reign of love and mercy into this world, and you are facing a direction, living a way that you are not able to see it."
The Hearth of God| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
The Hearth of God
"Drawing near to [the fire] and embracing it as a contrast to that cold and dark, is just like how the church gathers for Advent. […] The hearth becomes the heart of God. Drawing us in towards light and life and togetherness. The act of building a fire allows us to hold a little piece of what God has for us. It allows us to be reminded that like fire, God gives us warmth, provide us with light, enlivens our senses, and can literally be seen on your face when you draw near to it."
Expect Joy| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
"Are we going to wait for Jesus to show up exactly as we expect Jesus to be? Are we going to allow ourselves to be surprised by Jesus’ presence in the person right in front of us, maybe even when we look in the mirror? Jesus is coming. Jesus is here. You don’t need to look busy. You don’t need to try to be anything other than who you are. This season, this year, this life – bring all of yourself to the table. Bring all of what you are and what you have to God. To the one who sees you in your fullness, in your wholeness, in your ugliness and your beauty, in your pettiness and your death. Bring it to God. And when you place yourself before God in this world, it’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to wonder how it will go, but also, in Jesus’ name, expect joy."
Solid Peace| The Rev. Mitchell Bojarski
"The kind of peace that God is going to bring is something so far beyond what we are able to achieve that it’s foolishness for me to stand up here and say, ‘go and make that peace.’ [...] So, what do we do? How are we to live then? If, as we’re told, Advent is a season of preparation, what does that preparation look like?
Our task is to live as though we believe that the Lord is bringing that peace. To live as though we believe that there will a day when there will be peace so solid and firm and universal, that we won’t need the kinds of weapons that we use against each other. [...] That peace can come and will come from God. God will make that peace in the world. And we can start preparing for it today."
You Can't Forgive Like Jesus?| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
You Can't Forgive Like Jesus?
"God is not letting anything get in the way of holding on to you and caring for you. You can’t forgive like Jesus? Alright, Jesus can forgive like Jesus. And he is forgiving you, right now. You can’t hold on to humanity the way that God holds on to you? Well, you’re not God, but God is holding on to you. Can you give yourself a chance to be a little frail, a little fragile, a little weak, a little tired the next few weeks? Can you give yourself permission to be a little bit of a disaster? […] Can we shift our energy away from ourselves and all the things we are supposed to be and towards who God is in this world and who God is for us?"
The Beginning of Something Else| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
The Beginning of Something Else
"Some of us are at the stage right now of recognizing that we have to let things go. That anytime we are welcoming something new we are also frequently saying good-bye to something else. Maybe something we hold very dear, maybe loss of a loved one, our health, a job. Maybe it’s loss of something we believe in strongly and it no longer seems to be what we thought it to be. It’s almost as if we have to experience that loss to be open to creating the space for something new, something surprising to come."
Grounded in the Real Truth| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Grounded in the Real Truth
"Jesus does not pretend that the world as we know it will stay exactly the same. Jesus does not pretend that if you believe the right thing, you’ll be spared. Instead, Jesus tells us the truth. Things will fall apart. Legacies will die. Your body will die. And you belong to God forever."
Testify!| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
"As the holidays draw near, what are those shiny things and those perfect decorations in our homes that are distracting us from the opportunity to testify? We have an opportunity here, in these coming weeks and months, to pay attention to the way in which we live our lives. The way we speak the gospel. Think about the clothes that you buy. Think about the food that you eat. Think about the gifts that you purchase. All of these things are an opportunity for us to testify before others, before the system, what we’re about. The gospel of truth, the gospel of love."
Who Does She Belong To?| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Who Does She Belong To?
"Jesus comes today to remind us that the Holy Spirit is still speaking to us, guiding our feet into the way of peace and inclusion, reminding us that other people do not belong to us. That the systems of oppression in which we participate are not of heaven. And that we won’t get anywhere if we hope to lord over others, rather than serve along side our siblings in Christ."
How to Co-Exist| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
How to Co-Exist
"I don’t mean to minimize our differences and our struggles and our striving. I don’t mean to say, 'Listen, if you just believe in eternal life then everything will be a cakewalk.' That’s not true and we know it. We’re not talking about belief in eternal life as a way of escaping what’s happening right in front of us. I’m wondering if we can believe in eternal life, not just in our heads, but in our hearts, in such a way that it helps us to reengage in the world in which we live now. How will you engage in this world if you see the people around you as unendingly loved?"
An Exemplar of the Revolution| Guest Speaker
An Exemplar of the Revolution
"And what should we, saints and members of the household of faith, say about this exemplar, this visionary in exile, the prophet Daniel? I believe that he shows us, in a wonderfully rich way, how we should live in the world during our earthly pilgrimage. We are to remember that we, too, live in Babylon. We are exiles from our homeland, the city of God and the land of the blessed." ~ The Rev. Katherine Sonderegger
This is God's House| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
This is God's House
"Walking in Christ’s love is knowing. It’s knowing that this is God’s house. It belongs to all of us as caretakers. Whether we are talking about this church building, or the community, or the city, or the country, or the world. This is God’s house and it’s our call to care for it. How might we all tend it to be a place of love, welcome, and respect for all."
Humble Life-Balanced Life| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Humble Life-Balanced Life
"Finding balance a lot of times is about grounding yourself, being sure of your footing and keeping your focus on something. The thing that I ask you to ground yourself in today is the knowledge of your true belovedness, your creativeness, the love that God has for you. And the thing that I ask you to focus on today is God."
We're Here to Wrestle| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
We're Here to Wrestle
"Your struggle, your wrestling, it’s not going away. And I’m sorry about that. I wish it was, genuinely. That is not the story we have. The story we have is of a faith where instead of God erasing our struggle, God blesses us in our struggle. Our church has begun this Becoming Beloved Community work, which is a long-term commitment to racial justice, healing and reconciliation. What is that but a wrestling? That’s not separate from who we are, that struggle is a part of who we are. Identifying it and acknowledging it is a blessing. We are a church who insists on the blessing."
Holy People, Holy Things| The Rev. Mitchell Bojarski
Holy People, Holy Things
"When we come to church and we listen for what we expect to hear we miss some of the most important stuff. We miss this kind of stuff because we come to church and we hear what we think we are supposed to hear: some nice pious stories about holy people doing holy things. We miss that wrestling with God is a holy thing that holy people do."
This Love Reality| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
This Love Reality
"We want God to come back and give new life to something that hasn’t fully died, so we can continue to say that we believe in love and justice. But at the same time, worship worthiness, our own and others, and make our whole God about us being useful, us being enough, us being worthy. Jesus is trying to put that to death completely. This love reality is not about your worthiness. It’s not about your usefulness. Those are our concepts. We attach worthiness and usefulness to love, not God."
Increase our Faith| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Increase our Faith
"What the heck, Jesus? Miracles performed by mere humans? From a mustard seed? Masters and slaves? The propagation of destructive self-hate that we have become so accustomed to? The Gospel lesson for today is a suitcase over the weight limit in a heap of baggage that we carry as individuals and as the church."
Eternity Now| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
"This is not how we’re meant to live. We are not meant to live waiting for some other time, later on down the line, when we can finally start to recognize the humanity of others. When we can finally start to love right. When we can finally start to be loved. Eternity is now."