The Rev. Dr. Paul Kolbet, All Saints Episcopal Church, Chelmsford, MA
The Last Sunday in Epiphany
Exodus 24:12-18, Psalm 22, Peter 1:16-21, Matthew 17:1-9
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The season of Epiphany is the season celebrating Jesus’ ministry. The Scripture has invited us week after week to look at Jesus and listen to him hoping that we would see more and hear more than we ever had before. In this last Sunday of Epiphany, Jesus is in something of a hurry here because he knows that he is running out of time. We, and his closest disciples, are given one last chance to look. The mystery is so great that the Bible itself struggles as it attempts to lift the veil as it were. It presses the limits of language as it attempts to put the matter in words and images we can understand much like we do with the truths to be found in children’s stories. It speaks of a mountain and light, but what it is really talking about is an experience of catching a glimpse of the Truth, not just any truth, but Truth itself, God. The Bible does not say that to see God we need to go to a mountain in Israel’s Galilee. It says that this sort of experience of Truth seeking is like climbing a mountain. Anyone who has ever climbed a mountain knows that the remarkable thing about it is that each time you turn around and look from a new height, the view is a bit different. You see in a new way again and again as you find yourself liberated from what was obstructing your vision, again and again.
– The Rev. Dr. Paul Kolbet, All Saints Episcopal Church Chelmsford
Deuteronomy 30:15-20, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, Psalm 119:1-8, Matthew 5:21-37
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus hasn’t made it at all easy on the preacher today, even though it is only his second Sunday here. Some of you shifted a little uncomfortably when Jesus said anyone who says, “You fool” will be liable to hell. Maybe you took comfort in thought that Jesus may not know that there are worse words. There is something for everyone to feel bad about. But I stumble on the passage where Jesus says in today’s reading, “You’ve heard it said in the law of Moses, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
The Rev. Dr. Paul Kolbet, All Saints Episcopal Church, Chelmsford, MA February 9, 2020
Isaiah 58:1-9a, Psalm 112:1-9, 1 Corinthians 2:1-12, Matthew 5:13-20
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As you know, the scripture we read on Sunday morning is on schedule that we call the lectionary and it is put together by a committee and revised every now and again. What we read on any given Sunday was picked years in advance with no knowledge of the events of the day. What continues to astonish me is how time and again, if we pay attention and listen, the word we need to hear is proclaimed when we need to hear it. That is not because of the brilliance of the committee that put the schedule of readings together, but because of the unique, spiritual capacity, of this book, of our sacred scripture.
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: