Sermons from St. Matthew's Episcopal Church
Sep 26, 2021 |
The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost| The Rev. Marissa S. Rohrbach
The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
On the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Marissa explores the theme of identity in the passages. Who are you? Who will you be at the end of your life? What will you leave behind? What do Esther and the disciples have to teach us about this today?
Sep 05, 2021 |
The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost| The Rev. Marissa S. Rohrbach
The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Mark's Gospel lays out a challenging passage for us this week. Two separate stories, combined with the theme from the Epistle and Hebrew Scriptures makes for a three-part sermon that points us in the direction of self and community transformation.
Aug 29, 2021 |
Listening to Jesus through the lens of today| The Rev. Linda Spiers
Listening to Jesus through the lens of today
In Mark 7:18, 14-15, 21-23, we enter into a conversation Jesus has with the religious leaders of his day. Those leaders criticize the disciples for not following the rules around hand washing. Jesus speaks on behalf of the disciples and taught them and the religious leaders: "For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come...." Henri Nouwen reflects about the heart with the following: "...By 'heart' I mean the centre of our being, the 'place' where were are most ourselves, where we are most human, where we are most real. In that sense the heart is the focus of the spiritual life." Jesus taught the disciples, and us as modern day disciples, to be real and authentic in ministry. They continued on as do we. Episcopal writer, academic and musician Sandra T. Montes has a provocative book entitled Becoming REAL and Thriving in Ministry. REAL is an acronym meaning Respectful relationships, Excellence, Authenticity, and Love--four ingredients she sees as an essential framework for all relationships whether individual or in ministries. She challenges us, just as Jesus challenges us, to be better and to open our hearts. How can we be conscious of transforming our tongues and words and actions to heal and build relationships?
Aug 15, 2021 |
Give Your Servant Wisdom| The Rev. Linda Spiers
Give Your Servant Wisdom
In 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14, we hear the story of God coming to Solomon in a dream and saying, "Ask what I should give you." Solomon replied, "Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil." Of all the things of earth Solomon asked for wisdom. There are so many ways for us to look for wisdom--in Holy Scripture (both Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospels), in the experiences of life, in the quiet times with God in reflection and prayer, in listening to the voices of those around us. Experiments such as The Human Library can open our hearts and minds to others who are so different from us while giving us a chance to see how we might not be so different. The Human Library began in Denmark and is an event hosted by librarians where one can check out a human book--a human being for a period of 30 minutes to be in conversation asking questions about the individual's uniqueness. It's a modern day version of gaining wisdom to break down walls and build relationships--wisdom that opens eyes and hearts to the wideness of God's creation. Be aware of the many and varied ways to seek understanding of God's wisdom.
Aug 08, 2021 |
Be Imitators of God| The Rev. Linda Spiers
Be Imitators of God
Paul writes to the people of Ephesus: "...be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us." (Ephesians 5:1-2). He then gave the Ephesians practical advice on ethical behaviors, many of which are rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures. Our Christian ethics point back to Jewish ethics. As Christians we also have our baptismal covenant that leads and directs our lives in community. In the newly edited book by Westina Matthews This Band of Sisterhood: Black Women Bishops on Race, Faith, and the Church, we hear modern day brave voices encourage people to be authentic, vulnerable, inclusive, spirit-filled, truth-telling. These are the voices of women of color elected as bishops in the past three years. Along with Paul, they invite us to be the church in new ways--to be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us.
Aug 01, 2021 |
A Call to Bear One Another in Love| The Rev. Linda Spiers
A Call to Bear One Another in Love
In Ephesians 4:1-16, we hear Paul's teaching to a widely diverse group of peoples: "I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." These are gifts that we learn and develop in community--a new kind of life in Christ. The themes of unity and truth and love and peace rise mightily in Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Toward the end Paul writes, "As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace." (Ephesians 6:15). We learn and practice in community and then take these gifts out into a world that needs us one and all.
Jul 25, 2021 |
How Can So Little Make a Difference?| The Rev. Linda Spiers
How Can So Little Make a Difference?
John 6:1-21 gives us the story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. A large crowd had gathered with Jesus and his disciples who were hungry for healing and teaching. At some point they became hungry for food. Andrew finds a little boy with five barley loaves and two fish. Right before the eyes of the crowd and the disciples, Jesus took the bread, gave thanks for it, and then distributed it to the 5,000 gathered folks. All were fed and there were even leftovers. A miracle happened in the sight of all. A little boy gave all that he had to help feed the hungry. What does the story tell us about how we can make a difference?
Jul 18, 2021 |
To Touch the Fringe of Jesus' Garment| The Rev. Linda Spiers
To Touch the Fringe of Jesus' Garment
Mark's Gospel gives us Jesus' invitation to "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." (Mark 6:31). We're invited as modern day disciples to come away and ponder the healing power of Jesus and to follow the path of Jesus' way of love. Our world is desperately in need of healing. How might you as an individual or St. Matthew's as a community of faith be called to a new way of healing and restoring?
Jul 11, 2021 |
Where are the Gaps in our Stories?| The Rev. Linda Spiers
Where are the Gaps in our Stories?
On the seventh Sunday after Pentecost, we hear the story in 2 Samuel about David and all of the house of Israel dancing and rejoicing as he brought the Ark of God to Jerusalem. There was more to the story than the lectionary appointed for the day. God is still in the midst of all that we do and all that we are, nudging us to be attentive to the whole story in our time-the whole story in us and in those around us, even when the conversations are difficult. Where are the gaps today?
May 23, 2021 |
Pentecost: Telling the Truth| The Rev. Deacon April Alford-Harkey
Pentecost: Telling the Truth
The Holy Spirit arrived in Jerusalem and breathed new life into a new type of community, one in which all races, genders, ethnicities, and languages are equal. Each were given gifts to speak and understand one another. One year ago, voices of strangers stood up as George Floyd breathed his last. This is discipleship: telling the truth and standing up to injustice. Winds of change remind us that the Holy Spirit continues to work to change the world.
May 16, 2021 |
Where is God Calling You in Prayer?| Sharon Pearson
Where is God Calling You in Prayer?
On this 7th Sunday of Easter, we hear Jesus’ “high priestly prayer” to God: a prayer for himself, the disciples, and the world. Prayer for us doesn’t need to be as complicated or cosmic as Jesus’ prayer. By virtue of our baptism, we are a member of the priesthood of all believers. When we pray and join in Jesus’ activity of prayer, we are doing a priestly thing – bringing the pains and needs of the earth into the heart of God.
May 09, 2021 |
The joy of Jesus.|
The joy of Jesus.
On the sixth Sunday of Easter, the Rev. Dr. Molly James visited us virtually at St. Matt's to remind us of the joy of this season. And to engage with the Gospel that calls us to experience joy now, not just some day when we've done everything well and gotten all our work done! The joy of Jesus is meant for us now.
May 02, 2021 |
The vines that bind.| The Rev. Marissa S. Rohrbach
The vines that bind.
On the 5th Sunday in Easter, Marissa explores the promise of the text that all people are welcome and that God has provided for their ability to be connected to the vine. How is Jesus the vine of our lives and the center of our community? And what does that mean our responsibility is in relation to the rest of the vine?
Apr 25, 2021 |
Alternate reality.| The Rev. Marissa S. Rohrbach
On the fourth Sunday in the Easter season, lovingly known as "Good Shepherd Sunday", Jesus tells us that he is the Good Shepherd. And the Epistle tells us a little more about what that love means and how we're meant to share it with each other. What does it mean to be part of the flock? And what is Jesus building?
Apr 18, 2021 |
Abundant responsibility.| The Rev. Marissa S. Rohrbach
On the third Sunday of Easter, Marissa looks at a complicated story about one of Jesus' appearances after the resurrection. Is there a connection between this appearance, eating, and the current events in our world?
Apr 04, 2021 |
The beginning: I have seen the Lord.| The Rev. Marissa S. Rohrbach
The beginning: I have seen the Lord.
On Easter Sunday, Marissa wonders about what it was like for Jesus to come out of the tomb, for Mary to see him alive, and what we can learn about coming out of our own tombs. How does the resurrection move us from grief to love? And what is our part in the story?