Text Sermons

Sermon – Easter Sunday 20 April, 2014/Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
One day three men were walking along and came upon a raging, violent river. They needed to get across to the other side, but had no idea how to do it. The first man prayed to God, saying, “Please, God, give me strength to cross the river.” Poof! God gave the man big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river in about two hours.

Seeing this, the second man prayed to God, saying, “Please, God, give me the strength to cross the river.” Poof! God gave him a rowboat, and he was able to row across the river in about three hours.

The third man, seeing how things had worked out for the other two, also prayed to God, saying, “Please, God, give me the strength and ability and intelligence to cross the river.” Continue reading ‘Sermon – Easter Sunday 20 April, 2014/Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson’ »

Sermon – Sunday of the Passion 13 April, 2014/Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson

In about half an hour’s time we have reenacted two events in which, in the roles we have played, we have completely contradicted ourselves. We began by shouting “Hosanna,” hailing Jesus as the Messiah, and then we joined with the crowd in calling for his execution.
Many of us here today have done this year after year for decades on Palm Sunday, and that repetition may have caused you not to think much about the extreme contradiction. Continue reading ‘Sermon – Sunday of the Passion 13 April, 2014/Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson’ »

Sermon – Sunday April 6, 2014/Rev. Richard C. Marsden

In 1739, on the first anniversary of his conversion, trusting in Jesus Christ as his lord, Charles Wesley wrote an 18 stanza poem later put to music.
In the hymn are two verses that read:

He speaks, and listening to his voice,
new life the dead receive,
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
the humble poor believe.

Jesus the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease,
‘tis music in the sinners ears,
‘tis life and health and peace.

I can’t help but think that this gospel lesson was in his mind as he wrote those verses.

Death is a reality that has been part of our human experience since Adam and Eve bit the fruit and chose to live life for their own purposes rather than God’s. It is a mysterious, threatening, inescapable end to this mortal existence; the only reality we know. Continue reading ‘Sermon – Sunday April 6, 2014/Rev. Richard C. Marsden’ »

Sermon – Sunday March 30, 2014/Rev. Charleston D. Wilson

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Imagine with me for a moment that the person sitting next to you knows everything (and I mean everything) about you – even and especially what St. Paul describes in our epistle today as those “secret” and “unfruitful works of darkness,” which, from time to time, we all have wrought.

In Prayer Book parlance, he’s referring to those things “known and unknown,” things “done and left undone” that have become “grievous unto us,” whereby “we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep,” revealing – yea verily – there is “no health in us.”

But hold on and don’t get squeamish in your seat, thinking you’ve been discovered only to be chastised or written up. Continue reading ‘Sermon – Sunday March 30, 2014/Rev. Charleston D. Wilson’ »

Sermon – Sunday March 23, 2014/Rev. David S. Bumsted

As many of my high school students are learning as we read through John together, I can be a little enthusiastic when it comes to Biblical texts. I was trying to think of an image that would fully encapsulate my exuberance, and one came to me as I was watching my favorite English TV show, Doctor Who. You see, I resonate with the giddy aplomb with which he whirls through space and time with his friends; knowing enough to be dangerous but always teaching, always learning, and with deep regard for his companions. Sometimes the universe of the Bible seems like a dizzying array of literary connections, with constellations of facts, metaphors, allusions, and history. Continue reading ‘Sermon – Sunday March 23, 2014/Rev. David S. Bumsted’ »

Sermon – Sunday March 16, 2014/Rev. Richard C. Marsden

We hear of two people mentioned in our scripture readings this morning, Abraham and Nicodemus in the context of faith in God. One has it, the other seeks it.

It is the kind of faith that is proclaimed and acclaimed in the psalm—faith that asserts that my help comes from the Lord—the maker of heaven and earth. A trust that God will not let your foot be moved, he always watches over you, is your protection on your right hand, preserving you from all evil, keeping you safe, watching over your going out and your coming in from this time forth for evermore.

Isn’t that the kind of faith we want to have, a faith that is more relationship than merely religious? Continue reading ‘Sermon – Sunday March 16, 2014/Rev. Richard C. Marsden’ »

Sermon – Sunday March 9, 2014/Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson

The Lutheran theologian Helmut Thielicke, who came to prominence in post-World War II Germany, told of a time when he put on puppet shows for children in a refugee camp. His show was the greatest attraction in the camp, and every day the hall was filled with children who came to see the puppets. It was Thielicke’s job to play the part of the devil. He describes his part in this way: “I wielded a horrible, fiery red puppet in one hand and mustered up a menacing and horrible voice to represent all the terrible discords of hell. Then, in tones brimming with sulphur I advised the children to indulge in every conceivable naughtiness: ‘You never need to wash your feet at night; you should stick out your tongue at anyone who displeases you; and be sure to drop banana skins on the street so people will slip on them.’”

Some people might think that he was putting horrible ideas into the children’s heads, but the children didn’t want to follow that creature that obviously was opposed to everything that is good. Continue reading ‘Sermon – Sunday March 9, 2014/Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson’ »

Sermon – Ash Wednesday March 5, 2014/Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me,
Bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all his benefits,
Who forgives all your iniquity,
And heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit,
And crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
Who satisfies you with good as long as you live
So that your youth is renewed like the eagles. (Ps. 103:1-5)

Another Lent has arrived. It seems to me that the older I get, the closer together the Lents are! Once again the crosses, icons, and paintings are veiled, with the exception of the crucifixes and the Stations of the cross. The penitential Lenten array has replaced the green of ordinary time. We have now entered the season when we know we will hear more about sin than usual, when there is greater emphasis on fasting and abstinence and other acts of self-denial, when parties are discouraged. And we begin it all with someone putting a black smudge of ash on our foreheads.

It sounds kind of depressing. Why would anybody want to do that? Continue reading ‘Sermon – Ash Wednesday March 5, 2014/Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson’ »

Sermon – Sunday March 2, 2014/Rev. Charleston D. Wilson

In the Name of the Living God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

We have just heard St. Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration. Peter, James and John are led by Jesus up to the top of the mountain, where they behold His glory unveiled, if only for a moment, and they are utterly and completely overcome.

This event, the Transfiguration, has captured the hearts and minds of Christians from the earliest days. The artistic among us will enjoy knowing that only our Lord’s Nativity and the Annunciation have more often been portrayed in art than the Transfiguration. Archeologists tell us that from the very beginning of Christian art, when many early Christians prepared for the burial of a loved one by drawing or carving stories from our Lord’s life on the sarcophagus, the Transfiguration is recognizably the event most frequently depicted.

Our sisters and brothers in the Eastern Orthodox Communion of Churches celebrate the Transfiguration as a principal feast – right up there with Christmas and Easter. In our own branch of the Church Catholic, we now read the account of the Transfiguration at least twice; today, the last Sunday before Lent, and on the 6th of August, when we read St. Luke’s slightly longer and more detailed version.

And, of course, I don’t have to remind you that here at Redeemer the Transfiguration plays a prominent — and even daily– role in our life and worship. Look no further than to your left into the Chapel of none other than the Transfiguration and you’ll see a stunning painting and reredos, both depicting the event we have just heard proclaimed in our midst.

But all of what I’m sharing so far simply sets the stage for what’s really at the heart of the Transfiguration.

A sudden voice from a blinding cloud proclaims: “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased.” And then we get to the heart of the matter — Three little words: “Listen. To. Him.”

Now, as one who has been accused numerous times of not listening – particularly if it involves grocery lists, errands or when and where to pick up the kids – I’m keen on cultivating what some call the art of listening. And whether you’re a good listener or not, you have to admit that listening – truly receiving what is being said or offered – isn’t as easy as it seems.

There is a fairly well known story about Franklin Roosevelt, whose biographers all agree, hated formal receiving lines. He was known to complain to his aids that no one actually ever listened to him when they shook his hand. So, one day President Roosevelt decided to prove his point by changing what he said to each guest. Just as he shook their hand, he leaned in and said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” Astonishingly, Roosevelt later said, no one ever noticed because, as he said all along, they weren’t listening.

Thus, it’s one thing to hear the words “Listen to Him”, by which I mean, it’s easy to hear the sounds and syllables. But, beloved, it’s an entirely different matter to actually and intentionally listen to Jesus. Continue reading ‘Sermon – Sunday March 2, 2014/Rev. Charleston D. Wilson’ »

Sermon – Sunday 23 February, 2014/Rev. David S. Bumsted

You know, a lot of interesting things happen to a person when they go from being a guitarist in a regional indie-rock band, to a Jesus-follower and then to a theology student. I am one of those people, and one of my interesting things that happened was my close friendship with a young Church Historian, Theologian, and professor named Fr. Thomas Buchan. We were at a party or something when he told us this little gem of a story that relates directly to our Gospel lesson this morning. He was at church meeting once when the subject of “turning the other cheek” came up in conversation with a friend. The fellow said that he had always had trouble with that teaching, that he just felt like it was impossible to live into and that Jesus was being unrealistic; sometimes you just gotta smack someone, you know? Then Dr. Buchan said sheepishly, that he thought it meant that Jesus was teaching us to think twice about that sort of thing. Apparently, a bit of a verbal fracas broke out. Now some of you had a chance to meet Fr. Buchan when he came down for our ordination, and you might remember him as quiet, kind of shy, kind of silly, and just plain kind. Well, he was embarrassed to say that in that conversation he had acted outside of his temperament, not to mention acting outside the principles behind Jesus’ teaching, and was deploying his mighty intellect to verbally rout his conversation partner. The other fellow, exasperated, clearly intellectually outgunned, and near defeat, shouted at his friend: “You’re worrying so much about what Jesus said, it’s almost like you want to BE Jesus.” Continue reading ‘Sermon – Sunday 23 February, 2014/Rev. David S. Bumsted’ »