Author Archives: Bill Bradbury

Sermon–July 9, 2017

Sermon

5 Pentecost—9-A, July 9, 2017

William Bradbury

Zechariah 9:9-12, Psalm 145:8-15, Romans 7:15-25a, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Growing up at Saint Anne’s, Atlanta most of the prayers I heard from the prayer book ended with the phrase, “through Jesus Christ, Our Lord”, so naturally I figured Christ was Jesus’s last name. I was in high school before I realized Christ is a title, which should be preceded by the word, “the”, so Jesus is properly called Jesus the Christ. Of course I also didn’t learn till much later that Christ is not a Christian term first of all, but a Jewish one—since the Christ, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for the Messiah. Continue reading

Sermon–June 25, 2017

Sermon

3 Pentecost—7-A, June 25, 2017

William Bradbury

Jeremiah 20:7-13, Psalm 69: 8-11, 18-20, Romans 6:1b-11, Matthew 10:24-39

Mark Twain was once asked, “Do you believe in infant baptism?” To which he responded: “I not only believe it, I’ve seen it!” We’ve all seen a baby dressed in a white gown get three handfuls of water poured on her forehead with adoring parents and godparents looking on. It’s a beautiful sight and I love to be part of it! When I meet with parents and godparents the day before the baptism I ask them what does baptism mean, what does it signify? Usually, no one answers with the words of Saint Paul this morning: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?   Continue reading

Sermon–June 18, 2017

Sermon

2 Pentecost—Proper 6-A, June 18, 2017

William Bradbury

Exodus 19:2-8a, Psalm 100, Romans 5:1-8, Matthew 9:35-10:23

What do you think when you see crowds? It depends on the context, doesn’t it?

+If you’re working at Best Buy on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, you may think: I hope I can survive this crowd. +If you’re at the beach you may think: oh, great, there won’t be room to put down my towel with all these Bozos. +If you’re a parish priest on Sunday morning you think: this is great, they must really like me. +If you’re the disciples you may think: we’re getting so famous surely someone will write a book about us. When Jesus sees the crowd, Matthew tells us, he has compassion on them because they are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Continue reading

Sermon–June 4, 2017

Sermon

Day of Pentecost–June 4, 2017

William Bradbury

Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:25-35,37, 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13, John 20:19-23

I have a friend in Atlanta who says in 1969, when she was six years old, she put up a poster in her room that said: “Make Love, Not War!” When her father saw the sign he burst out laughing. Of course when she was 16 she understands that making love might mean more than idealistic thoughts.    Continue reading

Sermon: May 28, 2017

Sermon

Ascension Day–Sunday

May 28, 2017

William Bradbury

Acts 1:1-11, Psalm 47, Ephesians 1:15-23, Luke 24:44-53

Meditation teacher Tara Brach said some years ago a friend of hers was attending an interfaith conference which began by asking the group how they wanted to refer to the divine or “what it is that all human hearts most deeply cherish”. The first person said, “Shall we call it God” and a female Wiccan said, ‘No way!’ Another said ’What about ‘goddess’; then a Baptist minister thumbed that down. Then someone says, ‘how about “Spirit” and an atheist shakes his head…this goes on for a while then finally a Native American suggests, ‘how about ‘”The Great “Mystery’?  Everybody agrees because they all sense the mystery behind any religious or spiritual idea. Podcast “The Over-Controller, Part One” As we reflect on the ascension of Jesus we too know that we are facing The Great Mystery. Luke in his accounts of the Ascension at the end of his gospel and in the Acts of the Apostle is attempting to describe that time when the Risen Christ disappears into a cloud in order to complete his resurrection to the right hand of the Father. Continue reading

Sermon–May 14, 2017

Sermon

Easter 5, May 14, 2017

William Bradbury

Acts 7:55-60, Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16, 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14

I know some priests who when reading this gospel at funerals refuse to read the last line that says: “No one comes to the Father except through me”. They edit it out because of those Christians who have used this line as a cover for their arrogance and even violence against those who don’t believe exactly the same way they do. Continue reading

Sermon–May 7, 2017

Sermon

Easter 4, May 7, 2017

William Bradbury

Acts 2:42-47, Psalm 23, 1 Peter 2:19-25, John 10:1-10

Where is the place you feel loved and safe, where your soul is at peace? For me growing up, it was my grandparents’ house on Missionary Ridge, overlooking Chattanooga. That house became iconic in my dreams—in a dream I’ve often had, I’d dream I was exploring a walk-in attic and all of a sudden it would open up into this fantastic amphitheater under the stars. When I would wake up I’d feel such lightness and peace. That house was my place of green pastures and still waters, where I knew goodness and mercy would follow me all the days of my life. Continue reading

Sermon–April 23, 2017

Sermon

Easter 2, April 23, 2017

William Bradbury

Acts 2:14a,22-32, Psalm 16, 1 Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31

Sometimes the translators just get it wrong: the word “doubt” is not used in this reading. Jesus is not telling Thomas not to doubt, because he knows doubt is always a part of faith. When C. S. Lewis was an atheist he said he had doubts about his beliefs, just as he had doubts when he became a Christian. The main thing to look at in our doubts is to make sure our doubts are changing because if our doubts never change it means we are not growing in our faith, which is to say, our faith has become a static system of beliefs rather than a living relationship with the ever-flowing Triune God. The KJV translates it this way: “Do not be faithless, but believing.”  These are the two choices we have: to have faith in God revealed by the Risen Christ or to have faith in something or someone else. Whatever we choose we will always have doubts. Continue reading

Sermon–Easter Day–April 16, 2017

Sermon

Easter Day, April 16, 2017

William Bradbury

Acts 10: 34-43, Psalm 118: 1-2,14-24, Colossians 3: 1-4, John 20: 1-18

Driving home the other day I was surprised that the lead story on NPR “All Things Considered” was not about the 59 cruise missiles we sent onto a runway in Syria, nor was it about the rising threat of North Korea. No, it was the story about the doctor being dragged out of his seat, then down the aisle, and off his United Flight. This thing went viral because we instantly knew how we’d feel if that were us. How else could you feel but terrible! But then a thought-experiment popped into my head: What if I’d been dragged off the plane, kicking and screaming, and the plane takes off without me, but then falls out of the sky at 30,000 feet and nothing’s left but small pieces? How would I feel then? Continue reading