Today we look at an action taken by another angel - this time the Angel of the Lord leading the Israelites through the desert and away from Egypt. When Pharaoh changes his mind and gives pursuit, the angel (in the form of a dark cloud) interposes itself between the armies of Egypt and the Israelites. One side of the cloud was deep darkness, while the other gave off brilliant light. What does this story have to say to us today? Father John explores the reality that two people can encounter the same battle in life, but have two very different [...]
What should we make of the story of Abraham called to sacrifice his son, Isaac? Is this truly a test of faith, or is there more going on in this story that meets the eye? Today, Father John explores the traditional interpretation of Genesis 22, noting how problematic it is for many people. Offering an alternative interpretation based on the Hebrew text, this sermon ends with some surprisingly applicable lessons for today from a disturbing story in the Hebrew Bible.
Why did the angels announcing the birth of Jesus first go to the shepherds? This sermon explores the radical birth announcement of Jesus offered to the most unlikely of people, but who responded with hearts full of faith.
Because we are so familiar with the biblical Christmas story, sometimes the scandal present within it can be overlooked. Today, Father John explores what it means that pagans and shepherds were the first to respond to the announcement of the birth of Jesus - rather than those we might expect, the priests and pharisees. What lessons from this story does God want us to take to heart about the meaning of faith?
What happens when you're going along in life, things seem to be going as planned, and suddenly life surprises you with something that threatens to overwhelm you? How do you deal with the chaos? Where is God in all this mess? In today's sermon, Father John looks at the examples of Abraham and Sarah, as well as Mary and Joseph - both couples responded to great upheaval in their life with a listening spirit, discerning what God was doing in their lives. This provides a tremendous lesson for us when life surprises us - that rather than retreating into frustration, [...]
As we begin a new Church year, Advent calls us to prepare to celebrate the great Feast of Christmas - the first coming of Christ into the world. But it also calls us, through apocalyptic Gospel readings, to anticipate the Second Coming of Christ (the advenio, in Latin, or its equivalent in Greek, the parousia - terms explored in this Advent meditation). As we look forward to Christmas, Father John invites us to begin Advent in darkness - aware of the darkness around us in the world, and within us. Only by facing it can we appreciate all the more the beauty and [...]
Some Christians do not believe God intervenes in the affairs of humanity at all, giving us free will to completely control our destiny. Others think that God often does the miraculous in our lives, and expect Jesus' words to be true: "Ask and you shall receive." Others are somewhere in the middle, sensing that God can do the miraculous, but more often that not works in quiet and unassuming ways. Today's sermon explores the topic of miracles, a difficult topic for progressive Christians to weigh in on at times. Father John sets forth his own view for consideration after sharing [...]
Today we examine a question most every Christian has been asked: What do you believe about Jesus? This sermon explores the vision of Revelation 4 and 5 in answering that question in a way that points to the essence of Jesus' identity - the Wounded Healer. If this is the core identity of our Savior, what should that mean for those of us who follow him? Listen and be encouraged!
What should we believe about hell as progressive Christians? For many, this question can be one of the most difficult to consider about the teachings found in the Bible. Some take a very literal interpretation, others turn to Universalism. Is there a way of understanding this topic that does service to both the justice and grace of God? Father John explores this difficult topic, suggesting a view that attempts to take both justice and grace seriously.
Why do we resist being transformed by God? Sometimes it's because we feel guilt, and at other times its because we have an agenda other than God's agenda. We are being asked to live sacrificial lives at Saint Andrew's right now, and in this sermon Jim Mannon (Junior Warden) explores how we allow Jesus to transform us - and how by being faithful we can discover that God has "saved the best for last" (John 2) regarding our parish life.