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Category Archives: Ecclesial Practices

The fragile awe: A sermon seeking the life to come (Acts 2:42-47)

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to […]

“Go forth!” A sermon of following

(Genesis 12:1-4a; Romans 4:1-4,15-17; John 3:1-17) Preached on 3/16/14 at COSK in Portland, Oregon “Go forth!” We could say, and we would be right to do so, that this is the first call to the Gospel recorded in the Scriptures. Abraham, the father of faith is called by God to go. Abandon what is known […]

Jesus brings himself: A sermon unto the kingdom

Matthew 5:21-37 & 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 Preached on 02/16/14 Jesus comes to us with an antithesis. His words, in this text specifically, and the whole of his message and life and calling speak of and call us to a break. This comes straight to the forefront in this section of the Sermon on the Mount. […]

Rivenness

The Lord’s meal is about a body and its blood. The body and blood that the Lord’s meal is about is a body that is broken and a blood that is poured out. Those are the descriptions that matter in the Lord’s meal: broken and poured out. The body of Jesus comes to us broken, […]

God’s Fiction: A Sermon of Vulnerability (Luke 18:1-6)

Preached at Church of the Servant King, Portland (10/20/13) “Then Jesus told them a parable to show them they should always pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).   Losing heart is shockingly easy. We are endlessly vulnerable in this world. We are made vulnerable by powers that rule over us, we are made vulnerable […]

Use Mammon: A sermon of freedom (Luke 16:1-17)

Preached at Church of the Servant King in Portland, Oregon. As with many of Jesus’s parables, this one sounds utterly strange to our twenty-first century ears. Here we have, seemingly, the story of an utterly corrupt middle management employee. He is embezzling from his employer, gets caught, and in a last-ditch effort to avoid becoming […]

No Escape: A Short Sermon

(Preached in trust and great weakness at COSK Portland, on Psalm 139) The heart of the gospel is God. At the center of our proclamation, at the center of our life together, at the rock-bottom core of each and every one of us lies God. What we have to proclaim is God. Why do we […]

The Truth about Love: A Resurrection Sermon

And now, after the end, now at the beginning, will shall speak, yet again of Love. Love eludes us. Only slightly more frequently and more intensely does love seize us, make us love’s own in the very moment when we find ourselves most lethargic, most unable to take another step. At the moment when we […]

We only know it will be love: A sermon on 1 John 3:1-7

Brothers and sisters, here is the amazing thing that we have to deal with, that is so hard for us to understand. That is even harder for the world to understand. The thing that trips us up, the thing we cannot catch up with, that we cannot ever grasp is how great, how singular, how […]

Freedom from innocence: A Sermon on 1 John 1:1-2:2

Brothers and sisters, let me tell you what I am doing in speaking to you today. Let me tell you what exactly I am trying to declare and proclaim to you. I’m here to tell you about that which is eternal, that which is ultimate, that which is greater than any and every created thing. […]

A really wordy paraphrase of Ephesians 2:1-10

A Sermonic Midrash on Ephesians 2:1-10 Preached on Sunday, March 18 at Church of the Servant King in Portland, Oregon. Hear, listen, understand, and know, brothers and sisters what state you used to be in. Do not forget the slavery you once labored under. Do not forget the bondage that once owned you, dominated you, […]

Idolatry and participation

Lately, I’ve noticed several re-articulations of a theological trend we’ve talked about here plenty of times before, namely the position that the church’s practices mediate God’s presence and action in the world, form Christians to be virtuous selves in contrast to the acids of modernity, and make Christ concretely present in the world, when otherwise […]

Christ’s baptism, Christ’s confession

A fitting reflection I think, for this Sunday, the Baptism of the Lord: When He had Himself baptised with water by John, Jesus confessed both God and [humankind]. A better way of putting it is that because He confessed God, the God whose will was soon to be done on earth as it is in […]

Embittering the eucharist

I’ve heard it said many times in various theological discussions that, given the divided state of the church, the eucharist should taste “bitter” to us when we partake of it. What was supposed to be a sign and sacrament of our unity out to taste bitter and penitential, given our manifest disunity. Seems straightforward enough, […]

The solidarity of baptism

I’ve been thinking for a while about the whole issue of what it means to be united, one to another through our common baptism in the body of Christ. In light of the many discussions that have been had about the relevance of an apocalyptic conception of the church as mission, what then are we […]

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