THE LAST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY

Collect

O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain:  Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be  changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Exodus 24:12-18 . . . Moses is called up to Mount Sinai, and the glory of the Lord appears.
Psalm 99 . . . The holy and mighty Lord reigns on high.  God spoke to Israel’s leaders from a pillar of cloud and his forgiven them their misdeeds.
2 Peter 1:16-21 . . . the apostle Peter as he recalls his vision of Jesus in majesty on the holy mountain and the heavenly voice that announced this was Go’s beloved Son.
Matthew 17:1-9 . . . the story of Jesus’ transfiguration
The Sermon

Today is Transfiguration Sunday, a turning point, from the season of Epiphany, characterized by light and revelation, to the season of Lent, a season of repentance as we journey to the cross with Jesus. Listen as Rev. Dr. Kristin Adkins Whitesides, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Winchester, Virginia, preaches about the mystical event of the Transfiguration and what it means for the disciples and for us.

THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

COLLECT

O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

SIRACH 15:15-20 . . . an instruction in the responsibility of human beings for their own actions.
PSALM 119:1-8. . . The psalmist takes great delight in the Lord’s statutes and seeks to keep all God’s commandments.
1 CORINTHIAN 3:1-9 . . . Paul admonishes the Corinthians for their bickering and divisions
MATTHEW 5:21-37 . . . Jesus’ concern with the heart of human behavior.
THE SERMON

Michael Renninger, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church, in Richmond Virginia, invites us to consider how answering God’s call with “as you wish” can change our lives

THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY

Collect

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made  known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

ISAIAH 58:1-12 . . . a denunciation of the injustices of those who only act at their religion.  There is a promise of the Lord’s favor for those who genuinely repent and care for the needy.
PSALM 112:1-10 . . . Blessed are those who are right with the Lord, who are just and generous with those in need.
1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-16 . . . Paul teaches the Corinthians that the wisdom of God is very different from the wisdom in which humans pride themselves
MATTHEW 5:13-20. . . disciples are like salt and as light to the world.  They are to live even more righteously than the pious scribes and Pharisees.
SERMON

Listen as Phillip Martin, pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Richmond, Virginia sheds light on today’s passage from today’s Gospel lesson. He says, “While your light is important, Jesus is not speaking about individual lights here. He is speaking to his disciples as a group…their power as a collective.” This concept can be quite challenging to our individualistic society. Could we learn something from our early Christian predecessors about how to light and flavor our world today

 

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

Collect . . .

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplication of your people, and in your time grant  us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

MICAH 6:1-8 . . . God contends with the people of God, reminding them of the saving acts done for them in the good that God expects
PSALM 15 . . . Friends of God
1 CORINTHIANS 1:18-31 . . . Paul directs the Corinthians’ attention to God’s way of using what is weak and lowly – even what the world regards as foolish – to accomplish the divine purpose
MATTHEW 5:1-12 . . . the opening words of the Sermon on the Mount, words of both comfort and challenge
THE SERMON

Carla Pratt Keyes, pastor of Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, finds a beautiful connection between being with cancer and the Gospel lesson for this Sunday, where Jesus looks around at a whole host of “others” and says, “Blessed are you.”

Third Sunday After the Epiphany

Collect

Given us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and all the whole world may perceive the gory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

 Isaiah 9:1-4 . . . a hymn of thanksgiving and hope offered at the birth of a new king in Jerusalem
Psalm 27: 1, 4-9. . . a search for the face of God
1 Corinthians 1:10-18 . . . Paul is disturbed by news of factions in the young Corinthian church
Matthew 4:12-23 . . . a summary of the early ministry of Jesus: his preaching, the calling of disciples, and his acts of healing.
Sermon

Amy Starr Redwine is the brilliant new pastor of Richmond’s First Presbyterian Church. Her sermon for this Sunday is based on the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.   It’s called “Unlikely People, Unlikely Places.”

SECOND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY

Collect

Almighty God, whose son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he be known, worshiped, and, obeyed  to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord , who with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, lives and reigns now and forever. Amen

Isaiah 49:1-7 . . . the servant of the Lord reflects moving of his mission – its sorrows and frustrations – and God’s high calling and promise to be with him.
Psalm 40:1-1 1 . . . A prayer of deliverance and a son of thanksgiving.
Corinthians 0119 . . . Paul greets the members of the new Christian community in Corinth and offers thanksgiving for their growth in Christ
John 1:29-42 . . . Joh the Baptist declares who Jesus is.  The next day two of John’s followers become disciples of Jesus.
Sermon

Perhaps you are familiar with the Irish rock band U2’s song lyrics, “I have climbed highest mountain, I have run through the fields…but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, ” begins Jim Somerville, pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church and Co-Founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday. Somerville continues, in today’s gospel reading.   Jesus asks the question directly, “What are you looking for?” If you cannot answer this question or even if you think you have it figured out, listen as Somerville explores this question and gives his opinion on how to answer this age-old question.

The First Sunday After the Epiphany: The Baptism of the Lord

Collect

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

Isaiah 42:1-9 . . . the mission of the Lord’s servant, the one whom God has chosen to bring forth justice and salvation
Psalm 29 . . . God is like a mighty thunderstorm
Acts 10:34-45 . . . Peter recognizes that good news, which Jesus began to proclaim after his baptism, now extends to all people.
Matthew 3:13-17 . . . the story of Jesus’ baptism
Sermon . . .

Dr. Jim Somerville, Pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church and Co-Founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday, summarizes the account of Jesus’s birth according to the gospel of Matthew. Then he focuses on verse 17 of today’s passage, “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’” At this point, Jesus has done nothing to please or displease God. Yet God still chooses him, his beloved son, to fulfill God’s mission. Have you ever thought of yourself in light of today’s passage? Listen as Somerville explores how our identity is found in Christ’s identity as God’s chosen, beloved son of God

Second Sunday After Christmas Day

Collect:

O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature:  Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach 24: 1-12 . . . Wisdom is personified as an attribute of God permeating the creation and found among all the people of earth.
Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21 . . . Wisdom, an attribute of God’s person and character, is praised for her wondrous work I the midst of God’s people.
Ephesians 1:3-14 . . . praise to God for God’s blessings, together with thanksgiving and prayers that these spiritual graces may be continued.
John 1:1-18 . . .  a hymn to God’s Word, the expression of god’s very being and the creative power of all life, who has now become flesh and lived among us.
Sermon: The way we get to be one of God’s children is though, is the way of Jesus, and not everybody wants that.

“To live as God’s children in the world is hard. It means choosing the kinds of things Jesus chose,” says Carla Pratt Keyes, pastor of Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia. But how do we choose Jesus’ way?

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Collect

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your son Jesus Christ, at his coming , may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

Isaiah 7:10-16 . . . the prophet Isaiah insists that King Ahaz of Judah will receive a sign from God, whether he wants it or not, the sign of a young women bearing a son to be called Emmanuel.
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 . . . A lament and a plea to the Lord, the shepherd of Israel, that God will turn away divine anger and restore the people
Romans 1:1-7 . . . Paul greets the new disciples in Rome and summarizes the gospel message
Matthew 1:18-25 . . . the story of the birth of Jesus
Sermon

“What are you dreaming about this Christmas?” asks Father Michael Renninger, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia. In today’s passage, Gospel reading we find Mary and Joseph dreaming, perhaps dreaming about their future life together…until Mary tells Joseph that she is with child. Joseph’s dream has turned into a nightmare…until God gives him another dream. God’s dream for Joseph is larger than Joseph could ever imagine. Listen as Renninger explains how Joseph’s dream changed his life and how God’s dream can change our lives as well.

The Third Sunday of Advent

Collect

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever.  Amen

Isaiahh 35:1-10 . . . the prophet envisions a time of abundance and healing for Israel l
Psalm 14:5-10 . . . A hymn of praise to the Lord, who forms the world and rules in justice, who heals and cares for the needy

or

Canticle (Magnificat) . , , Mary offers a song to praise God who has looked with favor upon her and who has lifted up the lowly and brought down the powerful
James 5:7-10  . . .  an exhortation to patient expectation in preparation for the coming of the Lord
Matthew 11:2-11. . . Jesus responds to a question from John the Baptist about his mission and then describes John’s ministry
Sermon

Ryan Ahlgrim is pastor of First Mennonite Church in Richmond, Virginia, and a remarkable preacher.  He doesn’t use notes; he just stands and delivers.  The sermon title is,  “You’ll Have to Ask My Neighbor.”