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.

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 12

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:  Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen

.Hosea 1:2-10 . . . Hosea takes a prostitute to be his wife, exemplifying God’s enduring love for a transgressing people.
Psalm 85 , , , Celebration and prayer for God’s forgiveness, deliverance, and justice
Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19) . , , The new disciples at Colossae are urged to remain rooted in Christ, letting nothing detract from his uniqueness and rooted in Christ, letting nothing detract from his uniqueness and preeminence.
Luke 11:1-13 . . . Jesus teaches his disciples about prayer and the character of God as Father.
Two Sermons, one Baptist, the other Catholic preached in the same town on the same day.

1)  “Are you satisfied with your prayer life? Would you be surprised to know that, according to one survey, very few Protestant ministers are satisfied with their personal prayer lives? ”  Dr. Jim Somerville, Pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church preaches a sermon from Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer. Somerville, when describing his own prayer life, said, “All I really needed [to make it better] was a decision, some discipline, and A Guide to Prayer.” Jesus gives his disciples a guide to prayer in today’s passage. Listen and learn more about the Lord’s Prayer and how it can guide the way we pray

 2) “Is there anything more intimate than to hear the heartbeat of another person?…Can human beings desire anything more than to be held so close and know that they are so loved?” says Father Michael Renninger, Pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia. Preaching on the Lord’s Prayer, he continues, “Many saints have suggested that Jesus taught us all we need to know in the very first words of this prayer. He taught us to pray, ‘Our Father’”. Renninger invites us to take time every day this week to be still and say just “Our Father,” to call God by name and see what happens. Perhaps we can gain a better sense of the fact that God’s love is universal, God is “our Father,” not “my Father.”

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Collect: Proper 11

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

,Amos 8:1-12 . . . a judgment on social injustice and hypocrisy
Psalm 52 . . . God’s judgment upon a rich and abusive evildoer
Colossians 1:15-28 . . . the primacy of Christ, who is the image of the invisible God in whom all things find meaning and coherence.
Luke 10:38-42 . . . the story of   Martha and Mary and their different attitudes toward life and the Lord’s presence.

What would you do if Jesus Christ came to your house for dinner? Judy Kincaid, winner of our 2020 Pentecost Preaching Contest, preaches on the beloved story of Mary and Martha. Kincaid asks, “Is it a badge of honor to have something to do all the time? Does it make us feel important?” Then she quotes Henry David Thoreau. “It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is, ‘What are we busy about?’” Listen as Kincaid explains how to overcome our anxious busyness by choosing, as Mary did, “the better part.”

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 10

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them;  through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Amos 7:7-17 . . . Amos is given a vision of a plumb line, and he prophesies God’s judgment regardless of personal consequences
Psalm 82 . . . God pronounces judgment on heavenly beings who have failed to defend the weak and the poor.  The people call on the one true God to judge and rule the earth.
Colossians 1:1-14 . . . Paul greets the Christians at Colossae, offers thanks for their faith, and givers prayer for their further strengthening
Luke 10:25-37 . . . the lawyer’s question and the parable of the Good Samaritan
The Sermon:  The Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, Senior Minister of the Riverside Church in New York City, reminds us not to mistake familiarity with understanding. Listen as Butler teaches us how we can be a neighbor to the world around us.

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Collect: Proper 9

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor:  Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen

2 Kings 5:1-14 . . . The story of the cure of Naaman from his leprosy
Psalm 30 . . . A hymn of praise and thanksgiving by one whom the Lord has saved from death
Galatians 6: (1-6) 7-16 . . . Paul concludes his letter with practical advice for life in the community of the church.
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 . . . Jesus appoints seventy missionaries to go before him and gives them their instructions.
 “Every Cheese has a story” by Geoff Sinibaldo
Mission: Possible” by Steve Taylor