9:1-4, Psalm 27:1, 5-13, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18, Matthew 4:12-23
In the name of our ever-faithful God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Years ago, my daughter Katie—she is here today, along with her brother Andy, Stephanie and Duncan—she gave me a poster of “the Narrows”, in Zion National Park: you see the back of a woman as she walks up the middle of a narrow stream flanked by 40-foot rock walls. Up ahead the stream turns to the left but all she and we can see are the rock walls.
Epiphany 2-A William Bradbury Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40:1-12, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, John 1:29-42
Twenty years after the crucifixion and resurrection, Paul, under the direction of the Spirit, plants a church in Corinth, stays a year and a half to get it going, and then heads off to plant another one, this time in Ephesus. Imagine how hard it must have been to grow a church in the middle of a cosmopolitan city in Greece. Corinth, which sits on the narrow isthmus between Athens to the north and Sparta to the south, is described by Paul, according to N T Wright, as “a lively and lascivious city, with its class distinctions and its law courts; its temples, markets, and brothels; its dinner parties, wedding, and festivals. Paul: A Biography, Page 209
Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 29, Acts 10:34-43, Matthew 3:13-17
One of my favorite collects starts this way: “O God…Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ….” Is it possible to share the divine life of Jesus in the midst of our life on earth?
The Epiphany + William Bradbury + Isaiah 60:1-6, Psalm 72:1-7,10-14, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12
Some of you will remember radio personality Paul Harvey who had a regular segment that aired everyday called, “The Rest of the Story”, in which he would tell the unknown story behind the known story in the news of the day. In this moment of conflict and division we need to hear the rest of the story of the Wise Men.
Contemplative Service: John 1:1-18 + William Bradbury
The story of Christmas can only be understood within its proper context. Luke and Matthew tell the story Jesus’ birth within the context of the people of Israel living under the domination of the Roman Empire. When we forget this context, the story of Jesus becomes a fairy tale that doesn’t involve real people and nations, but stories about Santa Claus and winter fairy lands of snow.
Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14(15-20)
On the order of the government, a pregnant girl and her fiancé travel 90 miles to his ancestral home, where she gives birth to her first-born son and places him in a manger. There is no celestial light and choir of angels; and in Luke’s story there are no kingly visitors who have traveled from afar. There is nohealth insurance and no hospital. Just one of a million refugee families suffering the cruelty of politicians and living off the mercy of strangers. Move along! Nothing out of the ordinary to see here. Yet Luke tell us something extraordinary does happen somewhere else that same night: to poor shepherds with their flock by night there is an eruption of angels, singing and celebrating the birth of the savior, who is Christ the Lord. The angel says there is a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
Sermon+Advent 4+December 22, 2019+ William Bradbury
7:10-16, Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-25
As a senior in high school I bought my first music system: It was made by Panasonic and had detachable box speakers to give that stereo sound we all craved. The gospels also give us stereo sound for the birth of Jesus: Luke, which we will read on Christmas Eve, gives us the story focusing on Mary:
Advent 2-Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19, Romans 15:4-13, Matthew 3:1-12
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Well, if there is a kingdom coming there must also be a king close at hand—and that can be a very unsettling thing. It’s 1927 and word comes that King George V and Queen Mary are coming to visit Downton Abbey, in the recent movie of that name. The residents, both the Crawley Family that live upstairs and the servants who work downstairs are all in a tizzy. Some were thrilled with the honor, while others are overwhelmed with how this was going to change their lives over the next few weeks.
2:1-5, Psalm 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44
word Advent means “coming”. Around here, facing a long winter, we say we can’t
wait for the advent of spring. We usually think of the Season of Advent, as
four weeks to prepare for our celebration of the first coming of Jesus, but the
stronger focus is on the second coming of Jesus, when Jesus returns to fulfill
the promise of the Kingdom of God, when, as Revelation 21 says, “God will wipe
every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be
mourning, nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”