Sunday Sermons

December 24, 2017 – The Rev. James Richardson

Christmas Eve 2017

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us, authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The Bible is filled with many names and descriptions for God. Besides those you just heard from Isaiah, let me mention a few more, starting with the Hebrew: “E’lohim,” “Adonai” and “Yahweh,” which has been Germanized in some bibles to “Jehovah.” (more…)

December 24, 2017 – The Rev. James Richardson

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Her name in Hebrew is Miriam. She is very young, maybe 14 when she becomes pregnant.

In the society of her day, pregnancy that young is not unusual. Life expectancy is very short.

But Miriam’s pregnancy’s out of wedlock, and that is something else again – a scandal upon her parents. She is betrothed to Joseph, and worse, he is not the father. (more…)

December 17, 2017 – The Rev. James Richardson

Third Sunday of Advent

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; … —to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.”

Today belongs to the prophets of old, those crusty characters who fear nothing and no one, and tell the truth no matter the cost to themselves or the cost to everyone else around them. And, let’s be honest, they are typically on the downer side of life most of the time.

Few of us are called to be prophets, so relax. You don’t have to be like one too. But we are called to hear them. (more…)

December 3, 2017 – The Rev. James Richardson

First Sunday of Advent

“Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance and we shall be saved.”

­— Psalm 80:7

As you have gathered by now, today is the first Sunday of Advent, the church season of waiting before the dawn of Christmas and the celebration of Jesus Christ coming into the world as a newborn innocent baby long, long ago. (more…)

November 26, 2017 – The Rev. James Richardson

Christ King Sunday

Every Sunday, we gather here in this sacred place, sometimes under “clouds and thick darkness” [Ezekiel 34:12], to tell the ancient story of the people of God and how, generation after generation, against all odds, they survived every hardship, every storms, every fire, every disaster, every calamity.

We tell the story of how, against all odds, generation after generation, they arrived in the promised lands of hope and healing, new life and salvation. By gathering here, Sunday after Sunday, we make this story of salvation our story, too. (more…)

November 23, 2017 – The Rev. James Richardson

Thanksgiving – 2017

Contrary to popular belief, Thanksgiving as an annual observance did not begin with the Pilgrims. They observed this only once.

Nor did Thanksgiving begin with George Washington. The national day of thanks he proclaimed after the War for Independence was observed only once.

Thanksgiving as we know it came long after. The annual day of thanks we now observe was begun in one of the darkest moments of our national life. (more…)

November 19, 2017 – The Rev. Pamela Moore

Gospel: Matthew 25: 14-30

The Storm

The 1932 Presidential election was the first election held during the Great Depression, a worldwide economic downturn and a time of great fear (Encyclopedia Brittanica). Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his first inaugural address said, “This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.” (more…)

October 29, 2017 – The Rev. Pamela Moore

Serenity

Almighty and Everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope and serenity.

Given these past few weeks and in the aftermath of the firestorm, I would like this morning to reflect on the power of serenity. Many people are familiar with Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” However, that is not the entire prayer. The full version of the prayer goes like this, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things, I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next.” (more…)

October 22, 2017 – The Rev. James Richardson

“My presence will go with you,” the Lord tells Moses, “and I will give you rest.” (from Exodus 33:12-23)

Welcome home.

For those who have been gone, for whatever reason, we’ve missed you. Welcome home.

For those new to us, we need you. Welcome home.

For those visiting us, we hope you will be back. Welcome home.

For our friends and neighbors who have lost so much, our heart and tears are with you. Welcome home. We need each and every one of you. Welcome home. (more…)

October 8, 2017 – The Rev. James Richardson

I would like you to join in me in a prayer for those who have died and were wounded in Las Vegas this past week. Please find a red prayer book near you and join me in the prayer on page 815, the Prayer for the Human Family.

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Last week, I spoke to you about why we exist as a church: We exist to pray. (more…)

October 1, 2017 – The Rev. James Richardson

Feast of Saint Francis Sunday

There is an old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.

As all of us know far too well, we live in interesting times. Our world lately has seen far too much of natural disasters, political conflicts, violence and warfare.

In such interesting times as these, I am reminded of why the Church exists.

We exist to pray. (more…)