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SERMONS

Sermons preached each Sunday and at special services are archived on this page. Sermons are listed below by date preached, from most recent to least recent. You can search the full text of the sermon archives with the search feature, or filter sermons by preacher, liturgical season, or a specific date.
On February 10, 2016
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Title: Learning so that we can be sent
Preacher:  Scott Elliott
Scripture:  Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Date:  Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016



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On February 7, 2016
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Title:  Living from the Inside Out

Preacher:  David P. Jones

Scripture:  Luke 9:28-36

Date: Last Sunday after the Epiphany; Feast of the Transfiguration: February 7, 2016



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Title: Love is All We Need

Preacher: Rev. Meredith Potter

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Date: January 31, 2016; Epiphany 4 (on the occasion of the annual meeting of St. Gregory's)

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On January 24, 2016
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Title:  The keys:  the Book, the Body, the Baby
Preacher:  David P. Jones
Scripture:  Nehemiah 8: 1-3, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Cor. 12: 12-31a, Luke 4:14-21

Date:  Third Sunday after Epiphany, January 24, 2016


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Title:  From the Essential  to the Extravagant:  The Jesus Movement
Preacher:  David Jones
Text:  1 Corinthians 12: 1-11; John 2: 1-11

Date:  Second Sunday after the Epiphany, January 17, 2016

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On January 9, 2016
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Title:  Memorial for Stephen Parker
Preacher:  David Jones
Text:  John 10: 11-16

Date:  January 9, 2016

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Text: Luke 7: 15-21
Preacher: Meredith Woods Potter

We continue to celebrate the Incarnation – that time in the history of humankind when “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” or in Peterson’s popular vernacular, the time when“God became human and moved into our neighborhood.” And God’s humanness couldn’t have been demonstrated more profoundly than for God to enter the world as a Jewish boy. And so 8 days after his birth, his parents took him to the temple for his brit milah (Hebrew: בְּרִית מִילָה‎) – to be given his Holy name and to be circumcised – to be marked, as all Jewish boys are marked, with the sign of the covenant made between Abraham and God. For generations, the Church has celebrated this feast – eight days after Christmas, and hence on New Year’s day – and even called it the Feast of the Circumcision, until the less squeamish Feast of the Holy Name was adopted.

The Church has often recognized this date as when the redemption of humankind began, since it was the first shedding of Jesus’ blood. since the date falls on the first day of the New Year, we can’t help but compare the religious “redemption” with the kind of secular celebration in which we look back on the past year and then inevitably make resolutions to change things about our lives in the coming year: resolutions to stop smoking, lose weight, exercise regularly. 

Almost every culture celebrates the beginning of the new year, but growing up in Japan, the New Year’s celebration was very special. The celebrations begin around the 27th or 28th of December when shopkeepers close their shops, many of which then stay closed for a week or 10 days into the new year. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, Buddhist temples all over Japan begin to ring their bells 108 times to symbolize the 108 human sings in Buddhist belief, and to get rid of the 108 worldly desires resident in each human being. People visit Buddhist temples to offer prayers for their ancestors,(not unlike our prayers for faithful departed) but also light incense at the Shinto shrines to offer prayers for prosperity and abundant crops in the coming year. There are street festivals, the giving of coins to children, and even a bird-scaring ritual. But the part of the New Year’s celebration I remember the most was the preparing and sharing of Mochi, rice cakes made by pounding sticky rice with a wooden mallet, adding water to form sticky, white, somewhat tasteless dumplings. These rice cakes were then taken to relatives, neighbors, co-workers – not only as well-wishes for the coming year, but to reconcile any differences, grievances, mis-understandings or hurts one might have with the other person. In some ways it might be thought of as a national symbol of “redemption” to usher in the New Year, not unlike the Christian feast we celebrate today. 

My childhood experiences of giving mocha on New Years has led me to consider bringing in the New Year, not with resolutions centered on ourselves and changes in life style -inevitably to be broken - but with redemption – the redeeming of relationships with each other by forgiveness and reconciliation. Just as Jesus’ birth and brit milah signaled the beginning of the redemption of the world to God, so let us usher in this new reconciling our relationships with each other. Just as Jesus promised forgiveness to each of us, he also commanded us to forgive each other in return. And bringing peace to the world, begins with restoring peace in our hearts and in our families. Akemashite – omedeto gozaimasu. Blessings and peace to each of you in the coming year! Read More »
On December 27, 2015
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Title:  The Heartbeat of Jesus
Preacher:  David Jones
Text;  John 1: 1-18

Date:  First Sunday after Christmas, December 27, 2015

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On December 25, 2015
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Title:  And He opened his eyes and adored us!
Preacher:  David Jones
Text:  Luke 2: 1-20

Date:  Christmas; December 25, 2015

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“NOT YET”

A sermon preached by Bret Chandler, Youth Minister

Nov. 22, 2015

The Romans were very interested in earthly kingdoms.  First of all, they established the largest geographical empire in history.  But, second of all, they did it by maintaining a variety of earthly vassal kingdoms:  kingdoms that paid tribute to Rome and were a part of the Roman Empire, but could run themselves without direct Roman control. 

 

King Herod, for instance, was a vassal puppet king.  He could run Galilee as he wished so long as he gave tribute to Rome and acknowledged Roman superiority.

Rome dwelled on earthly kingdoms, and we see this as we read our Gospel lesson where Jesus stands before Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. 

 

Now according to the Gospel of John, the Jewish leadership had handed Jesus over to Pilate claiming that he should be put to death because he is a criminal.  So you would think that Pilate’s first questions to Jesus would be about his accused crimes.  But instead Pilate’s first question to Jesus is, “Are you King of the Jews?” Like a good Roman, Pilate emphasizes what interests Romans most:  earthly kingdoms.

 

So Jesus answers him with a question,

“Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”  And Pilate responds,

 

Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me.  What have you done?”

Only after Pilate references the Jewish nation, who live under Roman power, does he finally ask Jesus, “What have you done?”

 

So Jesus at last has the opportunity to reply to those who have accused him of being a criminal.  Finally, he can reply to the all-important question, “What have you done?” Jesus ironically answers, “My kingdom is not from this world.  If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.  But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 

 

Jesus does not answer Pilate’s question.  Instead of seizing the opportunity to requite himself of any wrongdoing, Jesus seemingly entertains Pilate’s fascination with kingdoms,

 

And hearing the magic word, Pilate responds to Jesus, “So you are a king?” 

 

Jesus answers, “You say that I am a king.  For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Notice that Jesus testifies to the Truth not to Pilate.

 

Now our Gospel lesson cuts off from there, but we know how it ends.  Even though Jesus told Pilate that he was not a King of this world and that he had no threatening army, Pilate still had Jesus condemned and crucified as King of the Jews. 

 

Pilate was never able to fully grasp what it means for Jesus’s Kingdom to be of a different world, and looking around the world today, we can see that not much has changed since Pilate’s time.  The expanding threat of terrorist groups like ISIS, for instance, show that despite their pretense for heavenly glory, they are interested only in making earthly kingdoms.

 

But this Gospel lesson is only partly about those with political power who focus on earthly kingdoms.  More importantly this passage is an invitation.  See Pilate may not have been a follower of Jesus, but when Jesus was telling him that his kingdom was not of this world, Jesus was extending an invitation to Pilate—his enemy—to join that Kingdom, to be a part of the Kingdom to come and put his worldly resources to that end.

 

And even though we may be followers of Jesus, we still have the same invitation as Pilate:  to serve the kingdom to come, not the institution that is, or the building we have, or the programs we run.  What Jesus invites us to is not about what is, but what is to come.  Everything we have as a church, as a community who follows Christ, as individual believers, are to be for paving the way for what has not yet been realized.  We are a community of “not yet.”  We are an Advent community. 

 

And this matters for how we live our lives.  For instance, in order to get our bearings as Christians in moral dilemmas it has become popular to ask, “What would Jesus do in this situation?”  But the invitation of the Gospel tells us that to ask ourselves is not quite appropriate.  It gives too much power to the situation. Rather the Gospel invites us to ask something more radical.  Not, “What would Jesus do?” But rather,  “What action, in this situation, points to the New Kingdom?”  “How is the Spirit calling me or us to transform this situation of today so as to offer hope for the Kingdom of tomorrow?”

 

So I ask this question, as we worship today, as we engage in ministry, and as we prepare our church for the future:  How are we a community of people of the world to come?  How does what we do as a church transform what is so as to give hope for the glory that Jesus says is coming?

 

In a world of now, now, now!  We are a community of “not yet!”  And it can make the church seem like a big tease. When I was a kid, I remember how difficult it was for me to go to sleep when I was excited for what to come the next day.  Christmas Eve was the same, I could never fall asleep—Either that or I would wake up way too early, and end up just waiting hours to open presents.  One year I woke up at 2 in the morning and went downstairs and ended up helping my mom finish wrapping the presents.  She was certainly in a moment of “not yet!”  But the funny thing is, looking back at those times, I remember my excitement more than the actual event or material things I was excited about.

 

In this world, our excitement comes and it goes upon realization—it passes.  New things become old.  But that’s the power of Jesus’s invitation:  the New Kingdom, the Kingdom to come never gets old—it continually refreshes what is. 

 

When we feed somebody in the name of Christ, we fill their bodies but we also give them hope and expectation for when we all will be filled eternally.  When we accept somebody who is rejected in the name of Christ, the love they experience is filled with the joy of that eternal comfort all will know when Christ comes again. When we see Christ in others, even in our enemies, we acknowledge that we all belong to the same God and that we all will be made new.

 

We are invited to participate in the transformative Kingdom that continually makes us anew and inspires hope for what is to come.  It is an exciting invitation.  It is our invitation.  Are you coming?

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SERVICE SCHEDULE

Sunday
8:00 AM Contemplative Holy Eucharist 
9:00 AM Adult Bible Study

10:00 AM Holy Eucharist with music

             

 
Wednesday
7:00 AM Holy Eucharist with Healing Prayers
 

UPCOMING EVENTS

02/21/2018 07:00 PM St. Gregory's Book Club

02/21/2018 07:00 PM St. Gregory's Book Club
February 21: “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier.

02/21/2018 07:30 PM Boy Scout Troop 50

02/21/2018 07:30 PM Boy Scout Troop 50
Boy Scout Troop 50 meets in the Basement of St. Gregory's Church every Wednesday evening during the school year. For more information contact Don Anderson 847-405-9301 Dranderson.2@juno.com

02/22/2018 08:00 PM Alcoholics Anonymous

02/24/2018 08:30 AM ACoA Step Group