Mystery and Reassurance

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I would like to thank Sam for the opportunity to preach this morning. I’m not sure how many times I have had this privilege – more than I deserve to be sure. But I realized this week that this is the second time that I have preached here in St. Paul’s when a lesson from […]

Ash Wednesday: March 1, 2017

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Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 103:8-14; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 Theologian Alyce McKenzie tells a story about a father who sent his 7-year-old daughter to clean up her room during Saturday morning family chore time. She emerged from her room after five minutes and said to him, “I’m done. Can I watch TV?” Suspicious, […]

The Last Sunday after the Epiphany: February 26, 2017

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Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9 As I’m sure you all realize, this week is the occasion for Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. What you may not realize is that this Thursday is also a special day – Texas Independence Day.  On March 2, 1836, settlers in Mexican Texas officially broke from […]

The Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany: February 19, 2017

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Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; Psalm 119:33-40; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38-48   Today’s gospel took me back to 1975. I was a 7th grader at Murchison Junior High School in Austin, Texas. It was a tough place – forced busing to end school segregation had gone into effect only the year before, and this school […]

The Third Sunday after the Epiphany: January 22, 2017

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Isaiah 9:1-4; Psalm 96; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Matthew 4:12-23 I read recently about the southern elephant seals of Argentina. Scientists report for about three weeks after a mother elephant seal gives birth she nurses the pup giving it attention around the clock.  At the end of this period she is famished, so she abandons the […]

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany: January 15, 2017

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Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40:1-12; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42 The Revised Common Lectionary, the three-year schedule of scripture lessons that we follow, offers some intriguingly repetitive Gospel readings for these first three Sundays after Epiphany. Last week we heard Matthew’s version of the baptism of Jesus; this week we hear John’s take on Jesus’ baptism, […]

Christmas Eve: December 24, 2016

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Isaiah 9:2-7; Luke 2:1-14 Welcome to St. Paul’s Church on this most holy night. Aren’t you glad it’s Christmas? I like so many of you, love this season. I love the lights, the focus on joy and love, the gift-giving… Well, the gift-giving gives me a little anxiety, as I try to get just the […]

The Fourth Sunday of Advent: December 18, 2016

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Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25 How are your Christmas preparations going? Are you eagerly looking forward to the holiday (exactly one week away!), or are you dreading it? I imagine it is probably a little bit of both. There is no time of the year more laden with subtext of both […]

The Third Sunday of Advent: December 11, 2016

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Isaiah 35:1-10; Canticle 15 (The Magnificat); James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11 If you are a reader of The New York Times, perhaps you remember a story from a few years back about Dasani, the twelve year-old girl profiled as the “Invisible Child.” This moving five-part story pulled us into the lives of Dasani, her mother and […]

The Second Sunday of Advent: December 4, 2016

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Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12 From 1921 until his death in 1968 the great Swiss theologian Karl Barth hung over his desk a copy of this painting by the German Renaissance painter Matthias Grunewald. Barth said it shows John “with his hand pointing (to Jesus) in an almost impossible way.”[i] John […]