Sunday Sermons

November 29, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

Every Sunday morning, I am on the road to church before dawn.

This morning, the sky was a deep, indigo blue. A bright morning star shimmered just above Orion’s belt.

I had to stop and look for a time at the spectacle of God’s creation just above my head in the time before the dawn.

Today begins the season of Advent, the time before an even more amazing dawn, the time of expectancy awaiting the light coming into the world: The birth of the Christ child. (more…)

November 22, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

As you know, this coming week we will observe our annual national celebration of Thanksgiving, which also happens to be one of two secular holidays that are on the Episcopal Church’s calendar of sacred feast days.

The other secular holiday on our church feast days is the Fourth of July, when not only was our nation founded, so was our church.

You may think you know the origins of Thanksgiving Day as an annual national holiday – but you might be wrong. (more…)

November 15, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

As you know, our world is reeling from horrific violence as Islamic extremists set off bombs and massacred scores of people in Paris this weekend. Bombs and carnage are a daily fact of life in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

We must acknowledge that these are acts perpetrated in the name of God.

It is tempting, as one of my oldest friends did yesterday, to blame all religion for propagating extremist ideologies that lead only to hate and evil. (more…)

November 8, 2015 – The Rev. Pamela Moore

I grew up in an upper middle class to wealthy community in New York back in the 1950’s and even though we did not officially have an entrenched caste system like India, it was pretty clear who was considered part of the in crowd and who was an “outcaste.” There were very few African American families in town and as I recall almost all of us were either working class or somewhere between there and lower middle class. The civil rights movement was just beginning to take hold in other parts of the country however given the times it was still wiser in my community to keep your head down and accept the social role you were assigned when in the company of the folks who knew they were “all that and a bag of chips.”

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November 1, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

A few years ago, Lori and I went on a pilgrimage here in California, traveling the length of the state to all 21 California missions founded by 18th century Spanish Franciscans.

As any California fourth grader can tell you, the first mission was founded in San Diego by Father Junipero Serra, and the last mission was founded right over the hill from here in Sonoma. (more…)

October 25, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

On a recent Wednesday morning, I joined an extraordinary circle of people sitting in the chancel up here: Our Anam Cara prayer group.

“Anam Cara,” by the way, is a Celtic phrase that means “soul friend.”

We chanted a psalm, and sat for a time in silent meditation and prayer.

There is something powerful about sitting in a circle with soul friends praying in silence. (more…)

October 18, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

This morning we are back on the road with Jesus and the disciples. Everyone is walking and talking all at the same time.

The story begins with two self-absorbed disciples, almost comically asking Jesus for the best seats in the house in heaven.

They are so wrapped up in their worries about the hereafter they are forgetting the here-and-now.

The story ends with Jesus talking about his own death as a “ransom for many.” He is already in the hereafter. (more…)

October 11, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

“Jesus, looking at him, loved him…”

Have you ever asked a question you just knew you shouldn’t ask? And when you did, you discovered you just volunteered for something?

In this morning’s gospel lesson, I can almost hear Peter slapping his forehead and groaning, “Oh, now what?” (more…)

October 4, 2015 – The Rev. James Knutsen

I’ve been listening quite a bit lately to the modern French composer Olivier Messiaen. Messiaen was a devout Christian, a Roman Catholic, and was for over 50 years the organist at the Holy Trinity Church in Paris. Now, I warn you, if you run out and buy some of Messiaen’s music, you’re likely to find it jarring and off-putting at first. (more…)

September 27, 2015 – The Rev. Linda Lee Clader

What if?

I’d like you to remember that question. I’ll try to keep asking, to remind you and me. What if?

What if?

For the past several weeks, we’ve been hearing snippets from the biblical book we call the Letter of James. If you’re like me, you’ve listened during the reading, and maybe followed along on your service sheet insert, and then promptly forgotten what you had heard. (more…)

September 20, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

A couple of years ago, Lori and I traveled to Jerusalem with a group of friends from Northern California.

When we arrived in the Holy City we could immediately feel the tension on every corner.

Armed soldiers were everywhere, and the resentments and suspicions were etched on the faces of everyone we saw on the streets. (more…)

September 6, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

Stop.

Stop right here.

Did we just hear Jesus calling a woman a “dog”?

Well, yes, we did.

Go back and look at this story from the Gospel of Mark. The story this morning is not easy to hear.

This woman was of a different tribe, a Gentile ­– a non-Jew – from Syrophoenicia, which is now modern Syria. Her people were idol worshippers. (more…)

August 30, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

Imagine this scene for a few moments:

Jesus and his followers are camping along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. They have been there for several days, and it is hot and their work is intense.

Crowds gather.

He tells many parables about seeds and small things that grow to big things, and how everyone should let their lights shine that others may see. (more…)

August 23, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

A few years ago, I went on a fishing trip with some buddies to Idaho. We spent a week exploring the streams and lakes around McCall, Idaho.

We caught a lot of fish, and some of us – like me – started to get a little overconfident.

One afternoon, we worked our way downstream along the Payette River, which winds through a wooded canyon and into a rocky gorge.

Somehow I ended up on the north side of the gorge while everyone else was on the south side of the gorge. (more…)

August 16, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

Thank you for bringing us home.

Please let me introduce you to Lori, my wife, my partner, my best friend.

We are thrilled to be back in our home territory of Northern California, and we are thrilled to be in this beautiful church.

We are thrilled to be with you.

To be here in Sonoma County is like a dream, and I am still pinching myself to make sure it real. (more…)

July 26, 2015 – The Rev. James Knutsen

It is always good to be here, to have the honor of speaking to you and presiding at this altar, and today somehow I feel that especially. It seems a moment to reflect that it’s been a challenging, choppy time for Incarnation this past nine months or so, often painful and/or confusing for many of you, I know.

All of life is transition, but this last year it has been especially so, and we humans find change and transition and uncertainty stressful even though they are, fact, the norm. (more…)

June 21, 2015 – The Rev. Linda Lee Clader

It’s all too big for them. Its all too out of control. Whirlwinds. Surf, beating at the little boat. Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?

Now, really. What are they expecting him to do? Yes, they’ve witnessed some miraculous healing. Yes, they’ve seen him exorcise a demon. They’ve heard him teach and they’ve heard the confusing stories he tells. But now—just what are they expecting from him in the middle of a hurricane? (more…)

June 14, 2015 – The Rev. Francis Geddes

A New Creation

2 Corinthians 5:6-17 – “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

For me, an example and vibrant part of that new creation is the awareness that the person who is sitting in front of you, the one sitting behind you, and on either side of you, are potential healers. You are a potential healer, but you and they do not know that to be a fact. (more…)

June 7, 2015 – The Rev. Linda Clader

Think about this: what were the first words God spoke to human beings in today’s episode of the great drama of our holy scriptures?  What were those first words?  Do you remember?

“Where are you?” God asks.  “Where are you?”

These weren’t the first words God spoke to the human in the story.  (more…)