Author Archives: Bill Bradbury

Sermon–February 18, 2018

Sermon

Lent 1—Year B

February 18, 2018

William Bradbury

Genesis 9:8-17, Psalm 25:1-9, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:9-15

The first letter of John offers this truth: “Whoever does not love abides in death.” But as a species we know how to deal with such truths, don’t we! We turn love into a feeling, even a very deep feeling! Like, “I feel terrible about those poor students and teachers who were murdered in Parkland Florida on Ash Wednesday.” Continue reading

Sermon–Ash Wednesday 2018 Preached at Trinity, Lutheran Church

       Sermon

Ash Wednesday

February 14, 2018

William Bradbury

Joel 2:1-2,12-17, or Isaiah 58:1-12, Psalm 103:8-14, 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10, Matthew 6:1-6,16-21

Every year The Episcopal Church Pension Fund puts out a calendar with a different cartoon for each month. Usually it’s something funny about life in an Episcopal parish. For February its reads: “Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day both fall on February 14? A win/win for the greeting card industry.” Then it shows the four possible greeting cards. The first card says, “Roses are red, violets are blue, Lent is beginning, no chocolate for you.” Continue reading

Sermon–February 11, 2018

Sermon

Last Epiphany

February 11, 2018

William Bradbury

2 Kings 2:1-12, Psalm 50:1-6, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9

My granddaughter Eleanor who is in second grade had a small Ah-Ha moment last Sunday. Stephanie was reading a book to her about Eleanor of Aquitaine, a 12th century Queen of France and England, when they came across a king with an X after his name. Then, there was another king with IX after his name—and Eleanor wanted to know what these letters meant, so Stephanie tells her about Roman Numerals and explains that X equals 10, and IX equals 9. At which point a light goes off in Eleanor and she gets a piece of notebook paper to write down the translation of Roman numerals to our numbers. Stephanie helps her go from 1 to 50, and then Eleanor works with great intensity to go from L to C. She will never look at X the same again. We’ve all had such moments. Good teachers live to see their students have such moments. Continue reading

Sermon–February 4, 2018

Sermon

5 Epiphany—B

February 4, 2018

William Bradbury

Isaiah 40:21-31, Psalm 147:1-12, 21c, 1 Corinthians 9:16-23, Mark 1:29-39

Back in the day clergy were told that we should have the New York Times in one hand and the Bible in the other as we write our sermons. For this sermon I have Boston sports radio in one hand and today’s gospel reading in the other. So three weeks ago the talk was about Tom Brady’s hand which had been cut in practice. Then since the AFC Championship game the talk was about Gronk’s head since his concussion. This past week I’ve heard talk that one reason the Patriots have been so successful over the years is because they practice better than other teams. Continue reading

Sermon–January 28, 2018

Sermon

4 Epiphany—B

January 28, 2018

William Bradbury

Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Psalm 111, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, Mark 1:21-28

The teaching method of rabbis, at the time of Jesus and now is a beautiful thing: a rabbi will talk about scripture by using the teaching of other rabbis who have had different things to say about a passage in the Bible. One rabbi helps the congregation enter a great conversation in which the whole people of God wrestle with the Word of God—after all the name Israel means one who struggles with God. It why the saying is true: wherever there are two rabbis there will be at least three opinions. Our culture today could profit by this form of conversation, as a substitute for just yelling at the idiots on the other side. Continue reading

Sermon–January 21, 2018

Sermon

3 Epiphany—B

January 21, 2018

William Bradbury

Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 62:6-14, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20

The Book of Jonah is a parable, not a history, about God’s call and our response: The parable opens with God’s first call to Jonah: Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah saying, “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” Not happening says Jonah: “Jonah set out in the opposite direction to flee from the presence of the Lord. He…found a ship going to Tarshish; so he pays his fare and goes on board, to get away from the presence of the Lord.” Continue reading

Sermon–January 14, 2018

Sermon

2 Epiphany-Year B

January 14, 2018

William Bradbury

1 Samuel 3:1-20, Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, John 1:43-51

Back in the day I loved riding roller coasters. As a kid it is easy to imagine that I’m on this wild, scary ride, even though it is on a track and does exactly the same thing every time. As kids we’re taught that tracks are good things. We’re taught to follow the straight and narrow, in order to learn how to navigate safely in this world by avoiding destructive decisions. In our teenage years we may still enjoy the rides, but we grow tired of the straight and narrow of the track our parents set us on. So we may experiment with jumping off the track, but usually once we are through with school and get a real job, we settle down again on a conventional track, so that each day is pretty much like the day before. Each trip starts in one place in the morning and ends in the same place in the evening, because we’re on the same track–day after day, year after year. Continue reading

Sermon–January 7, 2018

Sermon

1 Epiphany

January 7, 2018

William Bradbury

Genesis 1:1-5, Psalm 29, Acts 19:1-7, Mark 1:4-11

Paul shows up in Ephesus, a great port city on the Aegean Sea, and finds some followers of Jesus. He’s looking for transforming worship, but he doesn’t find it. Was the worship flat and boring? Was it precious and smarmy? Was it pompous and proud? Whatever it was, it forces Paul to ask an arresting question: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you first believed?” But they answer: we never even heard of a holy Spirit”–which explains everything because only Holy Spirit creates in us the ability to worship in deep and healing ways.

So the question for any church is, how do we know if our worship is man-made or Spirit-led? Continue reading

Sermon–December 31, 2017

Sermon

Christmas 1

December 31, 2017

William Bradbury

John 1:1-18

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

There is much speculation about what John means when he refers to the Word that was in the beginning with God, the Word that was God and that became flesh and lived among us. The simplest explanation is that John knows his Bible and is referring to a common phrase in the Old Testament, “the word of the Lord.” For instance, in Genesis 15:1 we read: “the word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision” or in Jeremiah 1:2 we read: “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in the days of King Josiah”.  For John, the word of the Lord in the Old Testament becomes flesh and blood in Jesus of Nazareth. Continue reading

Sermon–Christmas Eve–2017

Sermon

Christmas Eve

December 24, 2017

William Bradbury

Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-20, Luke 2:1-20

I’ve only been to Bethlehem once, in August 1973, the summer after I graduated from the University of Georgia. My girlfriend and I made the 6 mile walk from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and the 4th century Church of the Nativity. Now I only remember a few things: I remember the low doorway and the steps that go down to the cave where it is believed Jesus was born. On our way down I realized we’d have to wait because the grotto was filled with a bus load of Evangelicals from Ohio, listening to their preacher drone on and then they sang a carol. It struck me as somehow wrong—it made me angry that I had to wait on these people: loud American tourists dropping in on the holy sites, as if Israel were a Disney theme park. Continue reading