Sermon Review

SR: Tech Failure Edition, October 2014

Link: Due to a technology failure, my sermon didn’t record.

Summary of what I was saying and why:
I love this passage because we’ve forgotten it’s a little funny. Give to God what is God’s? Well, everything. Including Ceasar. 
I talked a bit about the hidden challenge of the Pharisees–if we don’t pay taxes Rome will understand that as a rebellion. Then I spent some time with the truth that everything is God’s and Ceasar was made in God’s image. Which means that Jesus’s question to the Pharisees had a couple layers to it too. 
What then does this mean for us, who are made in God’s image? Are we giving to God what is God’s?

Theology: Creation and Stewardship
Jesus Count: High
Good News: We are made in God’s image and belong to God?

What did I change on my feet?
A lot. At the second service I tried to be more interactive and it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. My original plan was to spend more time on the idea of belonging and I didn’t start there as much as I’d thought about.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I missed recording it. 😛 
I do think there’s unexplored potential with the idea of ‘who do you belong to?’ and this text. I could also have pulled more strongly on the Baptismal Covenant/Baptismal theology.
What did work?
I think pulling out some of the levels on which the questions were operating was important. This wasn’t an idle can we get him to say something stupid game, this was serious.
And I love reminding people that God loves us. God has always loved us.

Other sermons I liked:

Deacon Bright, Everything comes from God and everything belongs to God. There is no division between sacred and secular other than the ones we create.

Priest Halley, with a song, asking about the heart of the matter (and us).

Priest Lightcap, “Love God with everything you have, and Caesar can have his face back.”

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)

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SR: A Just Vineyard, September 2014

Link: A Just Vineyard, September 2014

Summary of what I was saying and why:
Short Stories by Jesus, Amy Jill Levine’s new book, had a strong influence on this sermon. I came to it a bit tired of the story and all of the familiar ways of preaching it. Her turn where it was economic but not flat was very helpful. Sort of economy, relationship, and righteousness.

Theology: Stewardship
Jesus Count: Average
Good News: We are called to work in and toward God’s justice.

What did I change on my feet?
I’ve been sketching out more than writing out sermons recently, so this is getting difficult to answer.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
At the early service I noted that the text is less “standing idle” and more “waiting to work.” I wish I’d included that both times.
What did work?
I was happy to hear me preach that we are to create a world in God’s justice. Several people commented on their discovery of the steward.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Arnold, The Unfairness of God
We are good at knowing when we are being treated unfairly; we are not as good at knowing when we are treating others unfairly.

Priest Halley, Shade Trees and Grape Vines
“What if in the parable Jesus wasn’t reordering my need to be first, but completely reordering society “Magnificat-style?”

Priest Funston, Leaving Us with a Question
Eric reminds my why my car is named Yo’nah, the Hebraic pronunciation of Jonah.

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)

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SR: Crosses and Windows, September 2014

It’s been a couple of weeks, hasn’t it? Sorry. A bit of vacation time, a small cold, and a my schedule leapt out of control.

Link: Crosses and Windows, September 2014

Summary of what I was saying and why:
This is one of the differences between the Canadian and American churches–up here Holy Cross takes precedence over Sunday. My opinion on this varies so it’s a good thing the Kalendar is there to provide a single and consistent answer.
The Cross, however, rarely provides a single and consistent answer. The line to which I was writing, but didn’t get included due to reasons, is that the Cross is a sign and not a sacrament. It points to something, to Jesus.

Theology: Christology
Jesus Count: average
Good News: the point is Jesus, who loves us.

What did I change on my feet?
I wrote a lot of this late and early, and very little on actual paper. So it’s hard to tell. My preaching seems to be swinging through a more extemporaneous delivery phase.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
It preached very somberly. I think there might have been some missed humour with the beginning history. I tend to preach on the theology of the day at times like this more than the lessons, but it could’ve stood a bit more influence or tie in.
What did work?
“If it ain’t (sic) about Jesus…”
And it was.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Lightcap, Repreived
If I can get people to do this just once I will be happy.
(Torey has also been playing with the sermon time a bit and it’s been inspiring to see that kind of creativity.)

Priest Giroux, Hard as Nails
Jesus isn’t offering loopholes.

Priest Baum, Pentecost 14
“He didn’t get a second chance to try to stay in the game. The game itself has been cancelled. There is no debt to work off, or to unrealistically promise to work off. The whole system of debt and debtors was declared invalid. That’s it. The king has declared that mercy will rule in the place of justice.”

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. I indicate both numbering systems.

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SR Walking on Water, August 2014

Link: Walking on Water, August 2014

Summary of what I was saying and why:
I love this story. I love that Peter gets out of the boat. I love that the storm stills. I love that Jesus pulls Peter back out of the water. Which made it really hard to preach. Then I started thinking about why Peter made the mistake of almost drowning. And realized he nearly didn’t…

Theology: People and the power of faith
Jesus Count: average
Good News: Sometimes we walk on water

What did I change on my feet?
I had a bare outline sketched out. I mostly filled it out.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
There’s a moment at the beginning where I say that last week was yesterday. After that I’m not so sure…
What did work?
Part of what I loved about this sermon was my hand gestures. As I’m talking about heaven and earth touching, I’m touching fingers—as if there’s just a point where things just, much like on Sistine Chapel. I don’t know if anyone else made the conscious connection, but I loved it.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Halley, Daring to Dance on Angry Waves
“I Am – the God who Sambas across the storms, Wastusis across the waves, Tangos across the thunder, and does the Hustle across the Hurricanes of our lives and bids us to “step out with faith, step out in courage, step out in joy upon the sea and dance with me.””

Priest Giroux, Help! There is corn in my scooter.
“The great Jewish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer once said, “I only pray when I am in trouble. But I’m in trouble all the time, so I pray all the time.””

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. I indicate both numbering systems.

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SR Parable Mad Libs July 2014

Link: Parable. Mad Libs, July 2014

Summary of what I was saying and why:
I was quickly fascinated by the parable of the treasure in the field. And then even more fascinated by the idea of God finding us.

Theology: Divine Love
Jesus Count: low
Good News: god delights in seeking us out.

What did I change on my feet?
I started to like this idea of rebelling the parable and then I loved the idea of inviting the congregation into that. Interaction always brings some element of surprise, so I had a rough sketch of where I was going and enjoyed the morning.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
If I was going to do it again, I’d also build the second retelling of the parable for interaction.
What did work?
The greatest risk in this style of preaching is not people saying odd things but not saying anything. They responded!

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Andrews-Weckerly, Romans 8, Proper 12
“When our lives have not turned out how we expected, when our loved ones suffer, or when the world seems to be doling out more hatred than our souls can bear, we find leaning on God’s love to be almost impossible.
And yet, that is Paul’s invitation today. Paul takes our broken selves and heaps piles of love on top of us. When we are weak, and we do not even know how to pray, Paul says that the Spirit helps us. The Spirit knows our pain and suffering, and in fact, the Spirit too groans in pain and suffering – with sighs too deep for words. … Every time God’s people broke their covenant with God, God groaned with sighs too deep for words. As God’s son hung on a cross, God groaned in agony over his death. God knows our groans because God groans too. God groans when Christians are forced from their homes in Iraq. God groans when God’s people kill one another in the most holy of lands. God groans when we turn innocent children into political issues.”

Priest Lightcap, Little
“What, I ask you, would Christians of the modern era be,
If we could not occasionally be toppled in our own ignorance and complacence
By something judged as insignificant
That nevertheless had a divine mandate to come into being and flourish?”

Priest Baum, Pentecost 6
Reticular Activating System–just go read

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. I indicate both numbering systems.

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SR Horses, Wheat, Weeds, July 2014

Link: Horses, Wheat, Weeds, July 2014

Summary of what I was saying and why:
I ran across something discussing the tension between God’s mercy and justice. And then I started thinking about the different ways those were present in this story. Which connected back to the story about the farmer and the horse.

Theology: mercy, justice, love
Jesus Count: average
Good News: God’s mercy and justice are grounded in God’s love.

What did I change on my feet?
One draft of this sermon ended with a story from CS Lewis’s The Last Battle. I cut it before the service. Which left me writing the end live.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I could’ve used a bit more time working on how I was re-telling the Gospel. I’m still not sure how the two parables played off each other.
What did work?
I didn’t use the Narnia story but I think I more plainly cast all things as grounded in God’s love.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Richardson, Somebody has got to play fair with us in the end
“Each stalk of self-proclaimed wheat is willing, if not eager to pull the ones they see as weeds out of the ground. But like Dexter warned his friend, and like Jesus warns us in the parable, we can’t harm the other without harming ourselves. It damages us to hurt another.”

Priest Halley, A Fiery Faith that Changed the World
“Don’t get me wrong. Thank you for coming to Church. Thank you for coming to worship. The Finance Committee will thank you for paying your pledge.
But what we do in this place is not enough if it does not meet the deep need of a desperate people helplessly awash in a hurting world.”

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. I indicate both numbering systems.

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SR: Gardening, P10 OT15 13 July 2014

Link: Gardening, July 13 2014

Summary of what I was saying and why:
I got caught up in the last line where some produced 100, 60, or 30 fold. Particularly in the 70-fold difference. Which Jesus doesn’t seem to care about.

Theology: kingdom-work
Jesus Count: low
Good News:Its about doing more than how much we’ve done

What did I change on my feet?
I did a lot of tweaking on my feet. The best part was when I talked about the work of prayer. The worst was that I don’t feel that I helped pull things together in anyway.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I felt like this sermon wandered a lot. I think there’s still a way to preach these ideas, but I think I’d need to tease them out more.
What did work?
Gardening. People connected to gardening, to the talk of work, and the joy of it.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Castellan, Contra Gnostics
“But here is the funny thing about heresies—old heresies never die; they just reappear like zombies.”

Priest Lightcap, Empires
A little bit Breakfast Club and a great transcript of a visual sermon.

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. I’m indicating both numbering systems.

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Sermon Round Up, OT14 P9, July 6 2014

Due to technical difficulties my recorded sermon disappeared. It was there at the end of the service but not when I went to upload it.

So straight to other sermons I liked this week:

Priest Kadel, Comfortable Words
“Jesus’ words are comfortable and simple: Come to me, Everyone! Rest with me awhile. But people, often those who claim to be the ones who Jesus is inviting, will find ways to make those words complicated and definitely uncomfortable, especially for those who are not the right kind of people.”

Priest Sherer, Yoked to God
“Being yoked to God means not having to recognize the completion of God’s purposed on earth by what we see or hear or experience but knowing everything that’s happening is happening in that truth because of our faith.”

Priest Baum, , Pentecost 4, begins with a basic law, “Anyone who drives faster than I do is a maniac. And anyone who drives slower than I do is an idiot.”

Priest Downs, Still Hope
“Jesus holds a mirror to our ridiculous and abusive tactics which neither communicate our needs or proclaim the Good News of a risen Christ, our Liberator, our Redeemer, our Lover. ”

Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. Because all of this is new to me, I’m now indicating both numbering systems.

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Sermon Round-Up: June 22 2014, Proper 7/OT12

Vacation this Sunday and next so I’m not preaching. Off eating gelato with seminary classmates and talking theology with colleagues instead.

What I might have preached:
The dean while I was at seminary made a habit of praying for ‘peace with justice.’ Which I liked because although I was used to praying for peace and justice ‘with’ reminded me that if you want peace it’s actually tangled up with justice, that to really have one you have to sort out the other.
Which is an interesting thing to hold alongside this very tangled up Gospel.

Sermons I like:

Priest Downs, The Divine Household: Jesus, Division, and a Sword that cuts Injustice
“Each of these pieces: about the servants and the sparrows and the hairs and the hell: is about the household. A household kept and built by GOD. A household which embraces equality and rejects hierarchy; embraces public devotion and rejects private belief; embraces the worthless and successful; naming their true worth the same.”

Priest Collins, Stop Helping, Start Serving
“Helping someone avoid the truth of his or her dysfunction is not Christian.
What it is is a denial of the Christ that is in that person. It is a denial of the potential for resurrection that is in that person.”

Bishop Edwards, Ishmael and Willy Loman
“Jesus invites us to let go of what we cling to most tightly,
because those things are our chains.
The more we give away, the less we have,
but the more fully alive we become.
If we give our money, our time, our attention, our labor
for Jesus’ sake, it opens up a place in our souls
where we can breathe.”

Priest Romanik, Narcissism
“Jesus begins by imbuing his followers with power and authority and then proceeds to explain to them in detail that they are not the center of the universe, that life is not all about them.”

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SR Doves and Dragons, Pentecost 2014

Link: Doves and Dragons, Pentecost 2014

Summary of what I was saying and why:
Early in the week I got lines from Josh Ritter’s “Girl in the War” stuck in my head. I listened to it over and over again and thought about doves, and dragons, and The Holy Spirit. Then I started writing.

Theology: Pneumatology (Holy Spirit)
Jesus Count: low
Good News: Pentecost is the passing of the torch to us.

What did I change on my feet?
I didn’t change a lot. I wrote this sermon really in verse and I kept editing it on my feet.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I don’t know. It seemed to work better at the early service than the late service, but I’m not clear on why.
What did work?
Everything clicked when I realized that this needed to start with the Dove at the baptism.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Garner, Spirit’s Pull
The problem with people who exhibit the gifts of the Spirit is that they’re usually pretty strange. At the very least, by definition it isn’t normal, and it’s often downright weird. That’s because the Holy Spirit usually works in ways that we don’t understand. Sure, there are some Spirit-filled people whom we admire—like quirky authors and exuberant preachers—but lots of them just scare us. Have you ever had a stranger come up and offer to lay hands on you? You know those guys who walk down the street talking out loud to Jesus? Does anyone really enjoy the bullhorn-prophet who calls the world to repent? What are we supposed to make of people who claim to have the Spirit working within them when it seems to be working in a way that we don’t like?

Priest Sherer, Let it go, let it flow
We have all been made to drink INTO the interior of the Spirit. This is God’s goal for us. When we drink, we enter into the Spirit’s womb where we are re-created, where new life is created and nourished in us.

Priest Baum, Pentecost 2014
The disciples didn’t do anything to become these brazen apostles in the street. In fact, they were still hiding from the world. Since Easter! The disciples have not been to rabbinical school. They have no knowledge of God’s power. You’re going to listen to a bunch of scared losers who thought Jesus was the Messiah? What are you, on crack or something?

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. Because all of this is new to me, I’m now indicating both numbering systems.

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