Sermons on Luke

Sermons on Luke

The Second Most Important Person in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday

Preached FCCW on April 6, 2022 Luke 19:28-40 and Luke 23:13-25, 44-47     Everyone knows who the most important person in Jerusalem was on Palm Sunday, right? Jesus, of course! After all, he had his own parade following him into the city! People were laying palms and the cloaks off their backs on the road before him like a red carpet. People were shouting and singing with such enthusiasm that it rattled the religious leaders, who pleaded with Jesus to pull…

My Three Sons

Luke 15: 1-3, 11b-32 In case you are wondering about the title of this sermon—My Three Sons–yes, I did borrow it from the old Fred MacMurray TV show of the same name. If you remember that show, you may also remember the iconic logo at the start of each episode, that focused on three pairs of men’s feet—one wearing sneakers shoes, one wearing wing tip dress shoes, and the third wearing penny loafers. The different styles of shoes were indicative…

Uncommon Sense

Luke 13:1-9 One of the most highly valued attributes a person can possess is common sense. Common sense is considered to be an intuitive kind of intelligence. One that is grounded in personal observation and experience; and deductions stemming from obvious causes and effects. Lacking common sense tends to have its consequences. For instance, someone who goes to a restaurant and orders a pizza. When the pizza is brought to their table straight from the oven, there is steam rising…

Walkabout

Luke 4:1-13 Among the indigenous peoples of Australia, there is a rite of passage that adolescent males undertake. This rite of passage is known as a Walkabout. The walkabout is a journey to help “transform” them into adults. During this journey, which can last for up to six months, the individual is required to live and survive all alone in the wilderness. In order to survive this long hike, the participant in the walkabout must be able to make their…

Dearly Beloved

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and Luke 6:27-36 Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to witness… Where have you heard those words before? If they sound familiar, it is most likely because they were the opening words at many a wedding at which you were a guest. Or perhaps they are the words that were spoken at your own wedding. The words of the Apostle Paul that were read for us from his First Epistle to the Church in Corinth probably also…

Planting Trees on Level Ground

Luke 6:17-26 and Jeremiah 17:5-10 Location, location, location. Any real estate agent will tell you that where a house is situated is the critical feature that can make or break a sale. Location is also important when it comes to gardening. Some plantings thrive in places that receive direct sunlight. Others need shade or they will wilt and wither. Soggy soil can cause problems for some plants, while others demand to be well watered. Location also determines whether our spiritual…

60% H2O

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 and Acts 8:14-17 (This service involved a Reaffirmation of Baptism, which is included at the end of this sermon.) On a wall in my office, hang several framed reminders of significant milestones in my journey to becoming an ordained minister. From Andover Newton Theological School, there is my Master of Divinity degree and my certificate of induction into the Jonathan Edwards Honor Society. There is my Certificate of Ordained Ministerial Standing which was conferred upon me by…

What Ifs and What Is

Luke 1:39-55 About three decades ago, this week, on the 16th of December to be precise, Apartheid in South Africa came to an end. The word apartheid means ‘apartness’. Apartheid was a system for keeping white people in South Africa separated from everyone who wasn’t white. Remarkably, Apartheid’s end was not followed by vengeance taking on those who had defended and maintained it all the while it was the law of the land. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was among the black…

Joy at Arm’s Length

Luke 3:7-18 This morning we celebrate the lighting of the Advent candle of Joy; always recognizable as the pink candle in the Advent wreath. Like Hope and Peace—the themes of the first two Sundays of Advent—Joy resonates deeply with us. Perhaps more than ever during this pandemic. We have felt the frustration of experiences that brought us joy in the past, being unavailable to us now. Including the joy of sharing Christmas with friends and family. Meanwhile, on the timeline…
desert

Peace in the Wilderness

Luke 3:1-6 When the Bible introduces important people, particularly prophets, it is not uncommon for them to be framed by a shortlist of famous people or events that create a context for understanding their place in history. In the case of John, son of Zechariah—better known to us as John the Baptist—that list includes the Roman Emperor Tiberius, Pontius Pilate who was the Roman procurator over Palestine, a trio of puppet rulers named Herod, Philip and Lysanias, and a pair…

If Stones Could Shout

If Stones Could Shout Luke 19:28-40 Palm Sunday is one of those Holy Days where worship tends to find its most memorable expression not so much in the liturgy of the day, but in the optimistic atmosphere of the moment. In other years than this, it meant children, herded by their church school leaders, streaming along the sanctuary aisles, clutching armfuls of palm fronds to share with the congregation. It is the Church’s version of a Super Bowl victory parade…

Magnify the Lord

Luke 1:39-56 “My soul magnifies the Lord.” With those words Mary begins the wonderful song of faith and praise, that has come to be known as the Magnificat, which is the Latin word for magnify. My soul magnifies the Lord. What do you suppose it means though to magnify the Lord in your soul? One definition of magnify is to praise someone or declare the greatness of someone. So, to magnify the Lord with our soul means that we declare…

No Peace Without Peace Within

Luke 1:26-38 and Isaiah 40:1-11 An article in the NY Times caught my eye last week. It was titled: Pandemic-Proof Your Habits. The article was more psychological than spiritual in tone. But it had a lot to do with the topic of peace. The gist of the Times article was that human beings have a brain that is genetically wired to pursue that which gives us a sense of peace and security. We develop routines in life that make us…

Trail Magic

Luke 24:13-35 Those who hike, especially those who hike the Appalachian Trail, have an expression they use to describe the unexpected, awe inspiring events that sometimes happen to them on their journeys. “Trail magic,” they call it. Trail magic can be something natural, like a glimpse of wildlife, or the majesty of an awesome sunset. Trail magic can also be the unexpected kindness of strangers, such as a family offering to share its picnic with a passing hiker, or any…

X-Ray Insight

Luke 2:22-40 Appearances can be misleading. Case in point, a 400-year-old painting on wood of John the Baptist. The painting, which was housed in the Bowes Museum in England, had suffered some deterioration. Before a plan for restorative work could be begun, x-rays were taken to determine the extent of the damage to the wood beneath the paint. What was discovered has been called a “Christmas miracle.” The x-rays revealed another painting that no one knew was there because it…

Are We There Yet?-Peace

Luke 1:26-38 and Isaiah 2:1-5 This morning we lit the Advent candle of Peace. Which almost sounds like an oxymoron. Because for most people, Advent is a season characterized by everything that is contrary to peacefulness. Advent, or as most people call it, the Christmas Shopping Season—is a time of high anxiety and stress. The story of the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she would bear God’s Son however, is a surprisingly peace-filled Advent moment. There is a palpable…

Are We There Yet? -Hope

Isaiah 40:1-11 and Luke 1:5-17 Zechariah had served God faithfully as a priest in the Temple for all his life.  In fact, he and his wife Elizabeth were descended from priestly families whose roots stretched back to the time of Moses and Aaron. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. There was, though, one holy act of service, that had eluded Zechariah. Until this day. When the…

Do Not Be Weary in Doing What Is Right

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 and Luke 21:5-19 A Boston born and raised comedian named Steve Sweeney is known for his jokes about the pessimistic way New Englanders look at life. Like, if one New Englander says “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” you can count on another one coming back with a remark like, “Well, don’t get too used to it, there won’t be many more like this for a while.” We usually think of Jesus as being as optimistic as they…

Who? Me? A Saint?

Ephesians 1:11-23; Luke 6:20-31   Several Sundays ago, the Roman Catholic Church canonized five new saints. Which is news that might have easily slipped under the radar for many Protestants. Except that, in his eagerness to celebrate the event, Pope Francis tweeted out the message: Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new #Saints. The Pope might be considered infallible in some things, but Francis was obviously ill informed about one thing. Little did he know that #Saints is…

Justification for the Back Pew Crowd

Luke 18:9-14 and Romans 3:19-31 I recently read an article that contained a tongue-in-cheek list of justifications for not sitting in the front pew in church on Sunday mornings. Since the front pews are the least populated neighborhood in the sanctuary, I have paraphrased a few of these justifications for you. If you sit in the back pew, there will already be money in the offering plate when it gets to you, so no one will even notice how much…

The Path of Much Persistence

Luke 18:1-8   Emmitt Smith used to be a running back for the Dallas Cowboys. Back in 2002, Emmitt set the NFL rushing record- a record that still stands-at 16,743 yards. It took him 13 years to reach that milestone. Which is a pretty impressive lifetime achievement. Until you do the math and figure out that 16,743 yards turns out to be… only a little over 9.5 miles. I cover that much distance every week, just walking Satya around town. Of…

True Life, False Loves

1 Timothy 6:6-19 and Luke 16:19-31 The Mazatec Indians in Southwestern Mexico are interesting people. One of the most intriguing things about them is the fact that they seldom wish one another well. This odd behavior stems from a cultural concept of “limited good.” They believe there is only so much good to go around. To wish someone well means you have just given away some of your own happiness. The Mazatec Indians’ entire approach to life is rooted in…

Stories We Tell; Stories That Tell Us

Luke 15:1-10 and 1 Timothy 1:12-17  We all have stories that we live by. These stories evolve early in life from messages that we pick up from others, or from the things that happen to us. But, at some point, we internalize these stories, so that they become stories that we begin tell ourselves about ourselves. After we’ve told ourselves these stories long enough, the stories we believe about who we are, acquire the power to shape the choices we…

Beggars’ Banquet

Luke 14:1, 7-14                                                Jesus had been invited to attend a banquet at the home of a leader of the Pharisees. These very upstanding religious leaders were watching Jesus closely, as if they expected him to step out of line in some way. For the life of me, I can’t understand why they kept inviting him to these dinners in the first place. Reading about their repeated attempts to expose Jesus as a phony is painfully similar to watching Wile E.…

Vortex (SUMMER SERIES)

Jeremiah 1:4-10 and Luke 13:10-17 What would a sermon series that was inspired by Sedona be without any mention of vortexes? Ever since the 70’s and 80’s Sedona has been a Mecca for spiritual seekers. One of the prime reasons has been the existence of places–called vortexes–where one is said to be able to encounter concentrated metaphysical energy and heightened spiritual experiences. Vortexes differ from most of Sedona’s other charms in that they are not appreciated with the eyes or…