Sermons from the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer
Let Us Begin with Prayer| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
Let Us Begin with Prayer
"Prayers are not a substitute for action or cover for a lack thereof. They are transformative. They are transformative for the one who prays and the ones for whom prayers are said. They bring us more consciously into experiencing the presence and the love of God. Prayer helps us clarify, center our thoughts, our fears, our longings. Prayer allows us to offer comfort and support to those feeling in great need. Prayer is when we turn our attention to God, and we acknowledge and are most open to that exchange of love. Love between God and ourselves and those we love."
Rest and Nourishment for the Journey| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Rest and Nourishment for the Journey
"Psalm 23 is exactly what we need to hear in the most difficult times. Jesus the Good Shepherd will lead us. He will lead us like he led the blind man to healing and restoration. And he will come and find us, just like he went and found that blind man. He will come and find us, even when we can’t find him. When we don’t know where he’s gone and when we don’t know how to thank him for all the good things that he’s done in our lives."
What Strange Times| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
What Strange Times
"The Israelites want to believe in God’s presence. They want to believe that they are being cared for. But when they look around, they’re filled with fear.
What will deliverance look like for us during this pandemic? I’m not the kind of Christian who believes if you just pray hard enough, a vaccine will just appear. Or that people will all of a sudden be safe. [...] What’s fascinating right now is our job as people of faith is to interrupt our own lives, to make real sacrifices in the way that we are living, so that we can participate with our government workers, our healthcare workers, and with our community so that as many people can be cared for as possible in way that’s practical. Our job is to reach out to each other in ways we haven’t before. We are literally loving each other by staying away from each other."
When You Recognize God| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
When You Recognize God
Jesus’ response to this [question from Nicodemus] is that this isn’t just a tweak. This is new life, new birth, a new perspective. You do not earn the presence of God. You do not achieve the reconciliation of the world. You cannot get your act together enough to be saved. God shows up. God is in this world, present and active, moving and loving, bringing justice. Will you see it?
Called To Be Receivers| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
Called To Be Receivers
To receive we need to be willing to be vulnerable. We need to be willing to be open to what somebody else might bring us. To be open to that aspect of understanding of God’s love that maybe we can’t quite see for ourselves, but maybe we can begin to see through somebody else’s eyes. Through somebody else’s worlds, through somebody else’s experience. We are called not only to go forth, but we are called to be receivers. We are called to be receivers of God’s love.
Led Into The Wilderness| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
Led Into The Wilderness
Wilderness can sound kind of scary, like maybe a place we don’t want to go. Maybe a place that’s terrifying. And yet, wilderness is not inherently that. Wilderness is a place apart. Apart from our normal day to day. Apart from our comfort zone. Apart from where we find our regular busyness, where our mind usually goes, where we are most at ease. Wilderness takes out of all of that and takes us into a place separate, a place that’s unfamiliar. A place that perhaps, we are more open to hearing God.
The Naked Truth| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
The Naked Truth
Hopefully this Lent, we’re taking some time to consider the effects of the fruit that we consume. The lies that we eat. Adam and Eve ate that fruit, they saw and they knew the truth. That they were human. That they were naked. And that they were dust.
Embracing the Truth| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Embracing the Truth
As a people of God we are beckoned, we are invited by God to take some time to reorient ourselves around the truth of the lives we live, to embrace our own mortality, and to embrace the temporary reality in which we currently reside. We are invited to deny any semblance of pretended stability and security and acknowledge that the true stability that we find is in the love of God and the true security is in our eternal belongingness to the one who makes us.
Walking Up a High Mountain| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
Walking Up a High Mountain
Jesus, who touched his disciples, who had compassion, asked them to rise and to not be afraid. It is that expression of God that I would experience in friends, in family, even in strangers. God’s presence among us, in the simplest ways assures us that we are loved, that whatever path we walk, we do not walk alone.
Interrupting Grace| The Rev. Gary Lubin
So, as the light of Christ shines its brightest and fullest, excited Peter continues speaking. And while he’s just yacking away, a bright cloud dramatically overshadows the mountain. God is trying to get a word in edgewise. God affirms Jesus is God’s very own, and only, beloved Son. “With him I am well pleased,” God says. Then God is obliged to interrupt Peter with this powerful command, “listen to him."
Checking Boxes| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
The point of our commandments, the point of the Great Commandment of God, is that we will live in love with our God and with our neighbor. That our hearts will be set outward towards those around us. That is the commandment of God. That our lives will be devoted not simply to following a set of rules so we can say we’re good people. But that our lives might be devoted to one another, fully and totally, that we might give ourselves sacrificially to one another. And that by giving ourselves to one another, give ourselves to God.
Wooing God| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
"The message of God is: You are loved, act like it! Stop acting like you need to prove you’re lovable. You’re loved. You all are still trying to woo God and prove to God you’re worth it and God’s already died for you. It’s done. Stop acting like you’ve got to win God over. You’ve got God in your corner. You are deep in the heart of God. And you’re still thinking that you’re going on your first date. It’s done. You belong. Now what?"
A True Fast| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
A True Fast
"A true fast, a real fast, a fast that is acceptable to God, is a fast that requires you both to give up something and to take on something. We often separate these things: “I’m giving up chocolate and I’m going to take on reading.” A real fast requires both: giving up and taking on. Not either/or. For when we give from a place of deep gratitude, we give of ourselves and when we take up a cause that is good for the other, we have to relinquish our own self interests."
Generational Anxiety| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
For a bunch of people across different age groups wondering, “do I matter yet?” or “do I matter now?” or “do I matter, still?” that is a profoundly scary thing to feel and to wonder. And what Jesus does in this Gospel, and what Jesus does in our lives, is that he imbues every single one of us, whatever stage and age we are, with this sense of our importance to God and to this world. Whatever age we are, we have something to give to this world and we shouldn’t be scared that we don’t matter.
Where Is the God of Justice?| The Rev. Mitchell Bojarski
Where Is the God of Justice?
It’s easy for us to believe we don’t need purification. And it can be tempting for me to cry out, “Where is the God of justice?” when I see injustice around me. And then I’m reminded from Malachi, that I’m part of the injustice in this world.
Confronted with God's Presence| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Confronted with God's Presence
The inevitability of God’s presence, God’s love, and God’s redeeming power is palpable in the story. So, when we get to the point where Jesus shows up to the disciples and says, “Follow me,” yeah, sure, they have a choice, but it doesn’t feel like it. It feels like part of the inevitability. When they are confronted with the reality of God’s presence, what else are they going to say but “yes, yes, I’m in”.
To Start a Movement| The Rev. Mitchell Bojarski
To Start a Movement
Jesus walks to Capernaum to start his ministry. Why in the world would he go there? It’s an amazing thing he does, he goes to the middle of nowhere to start a movement that will change the world. Part of the reason why he goes there, is that Jesus’ message is for the whole world.
Captives of Our Own Culture| The Rt. Rev. Martin G. Townsend
Captives of Our Own Culture
We, surrounded as we are by prosperity, do not comfortably see ourselves as captives of our culture, estranged from our true home in God. But that is what Isaiah invites. He is calling both the discouraged faithful and those who have been assimilated into Babylonian culture back to a center that will hold.
Sitting Around Drinking Wine| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Sitting Around Drinking Wine
It’s the greatest book ever written and I’m so glad that we get to read it together, here in our book club. People may look at us and think we are just sitting around talking, but we are actually being transformed. So that we, in turn, can help transform the world. Onlookers might think that we are just living in a fantasy world. Some alternate reality. Some dream of what could be. But we are experiencing the divine nature of God in our midst.
Born for Something New| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Born for Something New
In baptism, we are asking that our old self, our born self, our human self be set aside. That some of the things that are just inherent to our human nature, we let those things die. So that we can choose a new life, a blessed life, a life that blesses others. A life that goes out into the world in witness to the love that Jesus shared with us. A self-sacrificing love, a love that gives everything for the love of the world.