All posts by Richard

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 22

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Lamentations 1:1-6 . . .  Recalling the fall of Jerusalem and the exile of her people to Babylon.
Psalm 137 . . . lament in exile, with longing for Zion and desire for vengeance
2 Timothy 1:1-14 . . . the opening letter of Paul to his friend and coworker Timothy, whom he keeps always in his prayers.
LUKE 17: 5-10. . . Jesus tells his disciples of faith’s great power, and reminds them that servants must not expect special privileges or thanks merely for doing their duty.
Sermon by Jim Somerville

“If I were making a list of all the things I wish Jesus never said, this saying about having faith the size of a mustard seed would be near the top…because it makes people think of faith as a quantity,” begins Jim Somerville, Pastor of Richmond, Virginia’s, First Baptist Church and Co-founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday. Somerville asks us to reshape our thoughts about Luke 17:5-10, not in terms of quantity of faith, but in terms of in whom we put our faith. Listen as he flashes out how we might go about doing this and how it can impact our lives

Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 21

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity:  Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we , running to obtain your promise, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit , one God, for ever and ever.  Amen

Jeremiah 32:1-3, 6-15 . . . Confined in King Zedekiah’s palace in Jerusalem for Prophesying King Zedekiah’s capture by the Chaldeans and the fall of Jerusalem, engages in a prophetic action.
Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16 . . . A hymn of trust in the Lord
1 Timothy 6:6-19 . . . Paul exhorts Timothy to be strong with virtues in the race of faith, waiting for the appearance of the Lord Jesus.  He warns against the love of money and instructs the rich to be generous and store up the treasure of true life.
Luke 16:19-31 . . . the story of the life and death of a rich man at whose gate lay a poor beggar by the name of Lazarus.

Rev. Dr. Kristin Adkins Whitesides, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Winchester, Virginia, paints a picture for us of the parable in Luke 16:19-31. What can we learn from the rich?  What could he have done differently? How can we respond differently?

The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 20

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 . . .  the prophet laments both the heavy word that it is his duty to carry to the people, and the stubborn resistance of the people to repentance
Psalm 79:1-9 . . .  petition for the Lord’s help and deliverance
1 Timothy 2:1-7 . . . disciples are called upon to pray for all, including political rulers, so that Christians may lead peaceable and moral lives.  It is God’s will that everyone should find salvation.
Luke 16: 1-13 . . . the story of the steward who, when dismissed for mismanagement, showed himself to be very shrewd.  This is followed by teaching about Mammon, that is, worldly wealth.
Sermon . . .

How would you like to be liberated and set free from the hold that money has on your life? Brian McLaren–speaker, activist, and bestselling author, explains how to make this happen in today’s sermon from Luke 16:1-13. McLaren explains that today’s parable is a continuation of the three from Luke 15, the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. These next two parables begin…”there was a rich man.” McLaren explains the historical and economic history surrounding the passage and how understanding this context helps make this parable much more accessible to us. He says, “This passage proclaims a kingdom of God that has an economic system…one in which everyone matters…Love God and you will see everything else in a new value system.” Listen and find out what this new value system is and how it can liberate you from the hold money might have on your life.

Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 19

O God, because without you we are not able to please you mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts;  through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Jeremiah 4: 11-12, 22-28. . .  The Prophet’s oracle is for a devastating judgement
Psalm 14 . . . for the cynical and disbelieving who trample the poor; yet the Lord will prevail
1 Timothy 1:12-17 . . . Paul gives thanks to the Lord Jesus and praise to God for salvation of sinners, among whom Paul has led the way.
Luke 15: 1-10 . . . Jesus tells the two parables of the finding of the lost sheep and the lost coin.

Most of us can recite Psalm 23 from memory…”The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” In today’s sermon from Luke 15:1-10, New Testament scholar, author, professor, and preacher, Scott Spencer, gives us a different perspective on the 23rd Psalm. He says, “The Lord is my seeking shepherd and sweeper, I shall not be lost.” He continues, “Such a composite picture expands our vision of God alongside the familiar shepherd image from Psalm 23 and the father figure from the final lost parable (the Prodigal Son).” Listen as Spencer explains the connection between the three parables and the 23rd Psalm and how it can impact the way we view God as shepherd in our lives

The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Two Sermons for the Price of One
Proper 18

Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Jeremiah 18: 1-11 . . . The prophet puts forth an allegory for God’s dealing with Jerusalem and Judah: it is like the hands of a potter working with clay.
Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18 . . . God alone perceives the heights and depths of life.
Sermon on the Psalm . . . Listen as Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas, preacher, teacher, scholar, lecturer, author, and master coach, who currently serves as the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics and Director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana, teaches us how we, too, can and should pray scripture for the rest of our lives. “What is your one verse?”


Philemon 1-21 . . . The letter that Paul sent to Philemon asking that he receive back in love the runaway slave Onesimus, who was voluntarily returning to him
Luke 14:25-33. . . Jesus speaks of the necessity of coming the full cost of discipleship
Sermon on the Gospel . . .  “I suppose it’s only natural to present the Christian faith as some sort of answer to our questions, a kind of primitive, but sometimes effective technique, to help you obtain whatever it is that you think you just must have in order to make your life more fulfilling or livable,” begins Will Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School and a retired Methodist bishop.

Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost


Collect: Proper 17

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

. Jeremiah 2:4-13 . . . the prophet gives voice to the Lord’s bafflement with families of Israel, who have strayed far and no longer seek for God

Psalm 81: 10-16 . . . and exhortation to worship the Lord alone
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 . . . Christians are urged to live moral, hospitable, and charitable lives, recalling the faith and examples of their leaders, but especially the unchanging Jesus.
Luke 14:1, 7-14 . . . Jesus tells a parable about humility and teaches his host that he should invite the poor and inform to his feasts.

A church I served developed a clever evening of fellowship called ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’,” begins the Reverend Amy Starr Redwine, pastor and head of staff at First Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Virginia. “The way it works is that someone offered to host dinner for a certain number of people, but the host/hostess did not know who was going to show up until they showed up at their door. But she says it was a small church, so there was no chance of someone unknown showing up at the door.

Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 16

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10 . . . The story of the calling of Jeremiah to be a prophet of the Lord
Psalm 71: 1-6 . . .  God will continue to be one’s refuge and stronghold
Hebrews 12:18-29 . . . disciples are said to stand, not before Mount Sinai, but before Mount Zion of the heavenly Jerusalem
Luke 13:10-17 . . . Jesus, on the sabbath day, heals a long-suffering woman from an infirmity she has had for many years


Sermon by Otis Moss, III

“A small baby girl, 4.5 pounds, was born to Ed and Blanche. She was a sickly child…born in 1940…the 20th of 22 children. Before the age of five she dealt with measles, scarlet fever, and a variety of other diseases, and eventually was stricken with polio. She was told she would never walk again.”

Otis Moss, III, is the Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, a civil rights advocate, activist, and author who was recently recognized as one of the “12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World.”  He begins his sermon on the bent-over woman from Luke 13:10-17 with the story of Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph, whose grandmother never lost faith in a God who can heal.  “Your condition does not have to be your conclusion,” Moss insists.  Jesus might have said the same thing.

The Tenth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 15

Almighty God,  you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice  for our sin, and also an example of godly life:  Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord , who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

Isaiah 5: 1-7 . . . The prophet sings parable about God’s vineyard, Israel, and the destruction which must now come upon it.
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-18. . .  A Lament and a plea that the Lord will restore God’s ravaged vineyard
Hebrews 11:29-12:2 . . . Jesus the promised one has opened access to the Father in ways previous generations longed to see.
Luke 12:49-56 . . . Jesus foresees difficult times ahead; his own ordeal and the necessity of division even within families.

The Sermon

Brian McLaren, a speaker, activist, and bestselling author, begins by explaining how he got a call asking him to come to Charlottesville to join the group of clergy praying for those protesting. He didn’t tell anyone he went. Later, his pastor at his home church mentioned it in his sermon. McLaren tells how an older gentleman got in his face after the service and lectured him, saying he did not respect what he did and thought he was wrong to do it. McLaren said this experience reminds him of today’s passage from Luke 12:49-56. He says, “Jesus’ work as peacemaker often makes things worse before they get better…When Jesus came, he was not a pacifier. He was not a law and order dominator…He was an agitator. He was a fire starter. He knew that things had to heat up before people would wake up.” What needs to be heated up today? What needs to get worse before we wake up? What fires do we need to start in order to bring about justice for all?

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 14

Grant us Lord, we pray,  the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to  live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,  forever and ever. Amen

 Isaiah 1: 1, 10-20 . . .  The Lord cannot abide the offering and solemn ceremonies of a people who are without compassion.
Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23 . . .  Tells of the majestic and righteous God who requires true sacrifice and thanksgiving of God’s people
Hebrews 11:1-3,8-16 . . . Faith is described as  a holding fast to things hoped for and learning to trust their reality.  Abraham is among those who had such faith.
Luke 12: 32-40 . . .  Jesus teaches his disciples to trust entirely in the reign of God, their Father , and to be ready for the coming of the Son of Man.
The Sermon

Pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis says, “Sometimes faith comes pretty easy, but sometimes God’s promises can be really hard to believe.” What do we do in such times?

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Collect: Proper 13

Let your mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Hosea 11:1-11 . . . The Lord is a tender and compassionate parent ruminating on the disobedience of the people
Psalm 107:1-9, 43 . . . Thanksgiving is offered to the Lord, who saves from storms and other dangers, to those who call upon God
Colossians 3:1-11 . . . Christian disciples are to wholly reorient their thinking and manner of life as though they themselves have died and it is the life of Christ which is now expressed in every thought and action
Luke 12:13-21 . . . Jesus warns against greed and tells the story of an individual who was rich only in material possessions.
Barbara Lundblad is the Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  Her sermon for this Sunday is available on our.  Listen and find out how we can see beyond the border of our fields, bank accounts, or investments and have a truly abundant life.