Sermons from the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer
A Scoundrel Saves the Day| The Rev. Gary Lubin
A Scoundrel Saves the Day
"In response to losing life as he knows it, the steward is reborn becoming an agent of reconciliation, renewal, and new life. His actions bring about successful closure, for the books of course, but also healing relationships. The master is really pleased to be looking so good and those debtors have got to be happy for they have been forgiven much. Here is a salvific irony: a scoundrel saves the day. Debits transform into credits."
Accountability and Grace| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Accountability and Grace
"Jesus’s ridiculous parable today is, as usual with Jesus, about accountability and grace. This guy is being held accountable and he’s finding some grace. And the disciples, we, are being held accountable for our own self-righteous behavior and for our own ability to not only want people to do the right thing, but to do it for exactly the right reasons and those reasons are the reasons I choose. We do this. And then we are being shown grace, because there is a powerful grace in Jesus telling us to lighten up."
Lost & Found| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Lost & Found
"The fear that was in their hearts, it just melted away and nothing but joy remained as I received a lecture about not running off, ever, ever, ever again. […] I didn’t really understand a word that they said. I didn’t even believe that I’d really been lost. But I certainly did feel the joy of being found. I must have known before that day I was truly loved and valued. But being found, after being lost, that’s a feeling you don’t forget."
It's Not About Me. Or Is It?| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
It's Not About Me. Or Is It?
"The story that we hear today is not about you. Think about the story that Jesus tells. When he starts the story, ‘which one of you having a hundred sheep and having lost one of them,’ who is Jesus getting you to connect to? One of the lost sheep? One of the 99? No. He’s putting you in God’s shoes. This is a parable that absolutely acknowledges how lost we can be. And absolutely pushes us to recognize how self-righteous we can be. But in the end this parable is not about us, this parable is about God."
If You Care| The Rev. Mitchell Bojarski
If You Care
"As we talk about Becoming Beloved Community, it becomes incumbent upon us to be like Onesimus. To go into the world and say, ‘I know that I’ve wronged you, I know that I’ve benefited from injustice. How can we be in relationship again? How can we find a way to be brothers and sisters again?’"
The Only Way Forward| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
The Only Way Forward
"The insistence of the Gospel is that our shared history has made us one. Now the only way forward is sharing life together. James Baldwin says that for the American, the world is white no longer and it will never be white again. And he doesn’t mean, I say to a room of mostly white people – including myself, he doesn’t mean anything threatening to us and our whiteness. He means that the cost has been counted like Jesus says. That the cost has been counted. That we belong to one another."
Sharing What We Have| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
Sharing What We Have
"Sharing a meal and offering a hand are things we can do in the moments of our lives, if we don’t keep focused inward, if we don’t keep focused on our needs, our importance, our independence. If we can let go of that and instead focus on the others who come are way, then we can share what we have and in so doing, share Christ’s love."
Greater, Greatest, Best| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Greater, Greatest, Best
"When we make our home in God, when we place our hearts back in the makers hands, when in Jesus’ name we recognize our belovedness and our belongingness, we get out of that whole game of greater, greatest, best. And that kind of pride is destroyed. When we make ourselves about loving and being loved, when we do that work, that is the humility that God is talking about."
Now Is The Time| The Rev. Melanie W. J. Slane
Now Is The Time
"What is Sabbath, after all, but a culmination of the two greatest commandments, love God and love neighbor? If now’s not a good time, I don’t know when we’ll get around to it. I really don’t. And that’s what Jesus says to the Pharisees today. If now’s not a good time, this woman has been suffering for years and years. If now’s not a good time, I don’t know when we’re going to get around to it."
What If I . . . ?| The Rev. Mitchell Bojarski
What If I . . . ?
"We like to think of The Episcopal Church as being on the vanguard of progressive, forward-thinking kind of movements. But a time not so long ago some leaders of The Episcopal Church were opposing things like desegregation and civil rights. After the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested for civil disobedience and while he sat in a Birmingham, Alabama jail, a bunch of religious leaders wrote him a letter. They said, 'Listen, we’re on your side. We get it. We’re hip to the cause, but we don’t think now is the right time. You’re stirring up more trouble than you’re solving.' And the Episcopal Bishops of Alabama, along with Episcopal priests in Alabama signed that letter. Dr. King wrote back to say that 'Now is always the right time for the truth.'"
Belief Is Not an Escape| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Belief Is Not an Escape
"Belief in God and belief in the power of love is not for us an escape from suffering and is not for us an exit from real life. Belief in the power of love and the presence of God and belief in the transformative reality of Jesus Christ, his life and death and resurrection, does not get us a chance to opt out of reality. For the Christian, that’s our beginning, our genesis."
Treasure in Your Heart| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
Treasure in Your Heart
"I think the real message here is to not let our stuff, or our concern about accumulating stuff, get in the way of our relationship with God. Those words come where Jesus says, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. If we let our stuff be our treasure, if we let our accumulation, if we let our success, if we let all of those worldly things be our treasure, then that gets in the way of our relationship with God."
Ready for Action| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
Ready for Action
"When Jesus talks about being ready for action, he’s talking about being able to see God at work in the world at any given moment. He’s talking about us acknowledging our own belovedness and belongingness to God so fundamentally, so clearly, so powerfully that we can’t help but acknowledge other people’s belovedness and belongingness. And we can’t help but act for change in this world."
What Will You Do?| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
What Will You Do?
"You are the body of Christ. And you can pray with your feet. And you can pray with your hands. You, right now. And so, I ask you, as we acknowledge the sorrow and the pain and our own fear of violence in this country, what are you going to do about the violence in your country, in your community? You. What are you going to do to end white supremacy? What’s your part in it? How will you work for reconciliation and love? How will you be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in this world?"
I'm Angry and I'm Scared| The Rev. Mitchell Bojarski
I'm Angry and I'm Scared
"When I get this angry, when I feel this kind of wrath against people who are perpetrating these kinds of crimes and threatening our safety, I get in a position where I’m creating an us and a them. There’s me; peace-loving and fair-minded. And there’s all of them; who are just angry and scared and doing all these terrible things. Paul reminds us that there is no more us and them. It’s just us. We’re all in this together. […] And I know that together we can do something to change all this."
Inscribed in Our Hearts| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
Inscribed in Our Hearts
"The Lord’s Prayer is inscribed in our hearts. And, yes, we may wrestle with the language, we may even wrestle with the word “father.” Sometimes the word “father” doesn’t conjure up loving feelings for us. We may wrestle with a lot of different aspects and yet there is an underlying relationship with God revealed in that prayer, an underlying invitation to connect, to relate to God, to be present with God."
Attitude of Prayer| The Rev. Mitchell Bojarski
Attitude of Prayer
"So often these people, who do not remember their own children, they have no idea who I am or what I’m doing there, and they hear the words of the Lord’s Prayer, will join right in. [This comes] from a life of shaping themselves by this way of prayer. The words that Jesus taught them will come because they’ve lived this attitude that Jesus taught them. They’ve prayed these words over and over and over and over again. To the point where they’re second nature. They have this prayer written on their hearts, because they have used not just the words, but the attitude of prayer that Jesus was trying to teach."
To Be Fully Present| The Rev. Joyce Keeshin
To Be Fully Present
"If we find we find we always default to one, maybe we put our
toe a little bit in the water of the other. Maybe if where always the doer, maybe
we step back for just a minute and let someone else do. Maybe if we’re always
seeking to be on the listening side, maybe we step forward a little bit. Maybe
we look to find the grace in both paths because there not opposite paths, they
all lead us to God."
Both And| The Rev. Mitchell Bojarski
"There’s a place for Marys and there is a place for Marthas. I
don’t just mean in this church or in this room, that we need some Marys, we need
some Marthas. There’s a place for Mary and Martha in each one of us. None of us
should be just like Mary here in this story and none of should be just like Martha.
You shouldn’t be doing all the work. You shouldn’t just be studying your Bible
and doing no work."