Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

The scope and meaning of God’s authority

Collect: Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

 Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people and in our 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.

Deuteronomy 18:15-20 . . . Moses encourages the people to listen to God’s prophet and thus heed God’s word.

Psalm 111 . . . The Path of Virtue

1 Corinthians 8:1-13 . . . Paul explains that true obedience to the law will be balanced by love and compassion.

Mark 1:21-28  . . . Jesus demonstrates his divine authority by healing a man with an unclean spirit.

Sermon   The Rev. Rachel May, Pastor of Boulevard United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia, preaches a sermon called “Even the Demons” based on the Gospel text from Mark 1:21-28.  She says, “You’ve been there.  Someone–maybe it’s you–grows quiet at the supper table because they don’t feel like they know enough to join the discussion. For all the noise out there, there are still some things you and I don’t talk about because the second we try, we feel well outside our wheelhouse.”  Exorcism, for example.  What do we know about that?  And why, in this modern world, would it matter?


Third Sunday After Epiphany

The  risky nature of Christian discipleship.  For “Repentance,”  “Metanoia,” is what we are called to do.

Collect: Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Give 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 the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Jonah 3:1-5 . . . The prophet Jonah obeys God’s call to preach to the people of Nineveh, who repent and believe.

Psalm 62:6-14 . . . A Prayer for Protection: An expression of pain, condemnation of external foes, and asking for God’s help

1 Corinthians 7:29-31 . . . Paul urges believers to give priority to God’s mission instead of the passing concerns of this world.

Mark 1:14-20 . . . When Jesus calls his first disciples, they abandon their jobs and homes—in short, their security—to follow him.

Sermon 1: Father Michael Renninger, Pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, preaches a sermon called, “Oh, Jonah He Lived in a Whale.”  But he did so much more than that.  He preached repentance to the Ninevites, the enemies of Israel.  Apparently God wanted the people of Ninevah to change their ways and experience his forgiveness.  What does God want for your enemies?

Sermon 2: The Rev. Dr. Gary Charles is pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.  In this sermon from Mark 1:14-20 he says, “I’m often astonished at how many people see following Jesus as optional equipment in life, like buying an extended warranty on a car.  ‘Yes, I’d like to purchase the Jesus option, just in case there’s something to this Jesus I’ll be covered.’  Yet from the first chapter of his Gospel Mark introduces us to a Jesus who is not interested in our occasional curiosity or our arm-length respect, he is interested in claiming and transforming our lives right now.


First Sunday after Epiphany

Exploring the meaning of baptism


Collect: The First Sunday after Epiphany

 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 in 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.

Genesis 1:1-5;  . . . God parts the waters, transforming darkness and turmoil into light and hope

Psalm 29 . . . The voice of power

Acts 19:1-7 . . .  Linking baptism with the empowering descent of the Holy Spirit in the developing Christian community

Mark 1:4-11 . . .  As John baptizes Jesus, the heavens split apart and the Spirit descends, affirming Jesus as both messianic King and Spirit-filled servant

The Baptism of the Lord, 

The First Sunday after Christmas Day

The mystery and meaning of the incarnation

Collect: First Sunday after Christmas Day

 Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Isaiah 61:10–62:3 . . . Isaiah tells of a coming time of deliverance and joyous fulfillment

Psalm 147 . . .    “The Song of Tender Care”

Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7  . . . Paul announces that Jesus’ incarnation brings redemption and adoption as God’s children.

John 1:1-18 . . . John presents Jesus as the incarnate Word of God, full of grace and truth.

“Christmas Presence”, a sermon by Rev. Emily Knight.  December 24, 2014, Christmas Eve. First United Methodist Church, Ocala, FL

The Fourth Sunday in Advent

An  invitation to respond to the wonder and mystery of God with a clear and joyful “yes.”

Collect: Fourth Sunday in Advent

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at the 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.


2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 . . . God overwhelms David with the promise of an eternal kingdom to David’s heir.

The Magnificat .

Romans 16:25-27 . . . Paul proclaims that in Jesus Christ the mystery of the ages is revealed.

Luke 1:26-38;  . . . Mary opens her spirit, soul and body to the mystery and word of God.

Carla Pratt Keyes, Pastor of  Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, preaches a sermon called “Awake to Grace,” based on the lectionary readings from 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16, and Luke 1:26-38.


The Third Sunday in Advent

The light of God’s approaching deliverance

Collect: Third Sunday in Advent

Stir up your prayer , 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

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11  . . .  salvation glows like a torch flaring in darkness and like dawn breaking the night.

Psalm 126 . . . A Prayer for Level Ground


The Magnificat . . . The Song Of Mary

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 . . . In anticipation of this coming light, Paul exhorts believers to persist in holiness, confident that God alone will sanctify them

John 1:6-8, 19-28 . . . John the Baptist announces the coming of Jesus, the true light in the midst of all our darkness.

A Sermon by Father Frank Pavone, “Rejoice”



Second Sunday of Advent

A Call  to Repentance

Collect: Second Sunday in Advent

Merciful God, who sent your messenger the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Isaiah 40:1-11 . . . Isaiah announces that God is coming to deliver and comfort—prepare the way!

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 . . . The embrace of reconciliation

2 Peter 3:8-15a . . . The author  tells us to prepare for this coming by living in holiness and devotion.

Mark 1:1-8 . . .  John the baptizer proclaims “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (v. 4).

Sermon: The Rev. Sue Eaves considers the question of whether the American church is actually “in exile.” Sue says no, and tells us why not. 


First Sunday in Advent


Collect: 1 Advent

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Isaiah 64:1-9 . . . Isaiah assures us that God works for those who wait in faithfulness, especially through challenging times.

Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18 . . . A prayer for restoration of life and seeing

1 Corinthians 1:3-9 . . . Paul affirms his readers for their spiritual gifts, which well equip them for the return of the Lord Jesus.

Mark 13:24-37 . . . Jesus directs us to “keep awake”

Sermon: “The Present Moment” by Geoffrey Plant

The Final Sunday of Liturgical Year A

Christ Our Compassionate King

Collect: Proper 29

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that people of earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 . . . God as our Shepherd, who rescues and watches over us.

Psalm 100 . . . The Song of the Lamb


Psalm 95: 1-7a . . .  Remembering the Past, Holding The Future

Ephesians 1:15-23 . . . Christ reigning triumphantly over creation, over his enemies, over the Church and even over death.

Matthew 25:31-46 . . . a vision of final judgement, in which the Son of Man welcomes into God’s kingdom those who have treated others with compassion and mercy.

The Final Sunday for the year, “Christ Our King”


Twenty-fourth Sunday After Pentecost

God asks us to make appropriate use of our gifts and talents.

Collect: Proper 28

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Judges 4:1-7 . . .    Deborah, a prophetess, shares with Barak God’s plan to defeat Sisera

Psalm 123 . . . Higher and lower sovereignty, to which do we see the throne?

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 . . .  Paul urges the Thessalonians to quit worrying about the time of Jesus’ return, and instead to live fully, now, as children of light.

Matthew 25:14-30 . . . two slaves wisely invest the talents entrusted to them, while a third slave cowers in fear.

Sermon: “What is Expected”, by  Dr. Kincaid is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Escanaba, Michigan

Who Barack Obama was in 1995:  a review of “Songs Of My Father.”  Why did I decide this to be a good topic in a celebration session on use of talents, I don’t know.  For some reason it just fits: this is a guy who made quite a splash with what God gave him to work with.  And with that I can’t help but think about what I have at am doing.