Readings and Sermon for Trinity Sunday


Collect: Trinity Sunday

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 . . . Wisdom is an attribute of God present from the beginning of the ages and before the creation.
Psalm 8  . . . The psalmist glorifies the Lord, sovereign of earth and magnificent heavens, which has made human life to have mastery over all other earthly creatures.
Romans 5: 1-5 . . . Paul bids disciples to rejoice in the reconciliation and hope which are theirs because of the sacrifice of Christ on behalf of sinners.
John 16:12-15 . . . Jesus promises to his disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit who will guide them into all truth.
 Sermon: -“We Don’t Know Much“-

“We speak of Trinity not because we understand it  and certainly not because it is an exercise in logic, but because, however poorly, it describes something about the way God reveals God’s self to us and it seems real,” says The Rev. Sue Eaves.  She then asks, “But how does this happen?” Listen as Eaves explains how we can have both individual and communal relationship with the Trinity and how this relationship changes our lives.


Readings and Sermon for Pentecost Sunday

“LIFE  IS AN INTOXICANT NO AMOUNT OF MORE MUNDANE inebriates  — faster, deeper, more alluring, more captivating – can possibly equal.  The problem is that for life to become its own exhilarant, we must learn to live it consciously, to live it in deeply, to live it to the brim, beyond the visible to the meaningful.  Somehow, in the midst of the purely natural, we must become aware of what is more than simply natural, we must cross the line between matter and spirit, between time and timelessness.  We must allow one to become the other so that the gifts of neither may be lost, so that the electricity of each can be released in us.”

 Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year, page 170

Collect for Whitsunday

O God, who on this day taught the heart of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:  Grant us by the same spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Acts 2:1-21 . . . the story of the Holy Spirit filling the apostles and empowering them to share the message of the gospel with people of different languages
Psalm 104: 25-37 . . . the wonders of the world created and renewed by the Lord’s Spirit
Romans 8:12-17. . . when we are moved by God’s spirit, we become God’s children and heirs with Christ
John 14: 8-17 . . . Jesus tells his disciples that in him the Father has been revealed, and he promises the gift of another Counselor, the Spirit of truth, to be with them

Will Willimon preaches, and asks the question: “How do we get to know God?”  Through Jesus!  “How do we continue getting to know God and God’s will for us and the world?”  Through the Holy Spirit! But what does the Holy Spirit do? Listen as Willimon unpacks this passage and shares with us the good news that we are not alone in this world!



Readings and Sermon for the Seventh Sunday of Easter


O God, the King of Glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:  Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your  Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Acts 16:16-34 . . . the imprisonment of Paul and Silas after Paul had healed a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit.  An earthquake opens the door of the prison, but Paul takes the occasion to convert the jailer and his family
Psalm 97 . . . This is a hymn to the awesome Lord and Ruler, who brings the fire of judgment and light for the righteous.
Revelation 22: 12-17, 20-21 . . In his final vision John the Seer pictures the glorious Lord Jesus coming to judge and to save.
John 17: 20-26 . . . Jesus prays for the unity of his present and future disciples with the Father and himself.
Jim Somerville preaches a sermon for the Seventh Sunday of Easter called The Whole World Is Watching”




O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our Hearts such love toward you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Acts 16:9-15

. . . Paul and his companions are called by a vision to journey to Macedonia and the city of Philippi, where a merchant named Lydia responds to the gospel and is baptized, together with her household.

Psalm 67

. . . A prayer for God’s graciousness and saving power, and a bidding of praise by all people for God’s justice and bounty.

Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5

. . . John the Seer presents a vision of the new Jerusalem, the paradise of God.

John 14:23-29

. . . Jesus promised his disciples the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Sermon #1,  Jesus reminds the disciples and us that a good teacher, the Advocate, goes with us. Listen as Will Willimon, bishop in the United Methodist church,  reminds us that we are never alone in this world.

John 5:1-9

. . . Jesus has gone to Jerusalem for a festival and there at a pool called Bethzatha offers healing to a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years.

Sermon #2  Dr. Derik Jones, Pastor of First Baptist Church South Richmond, Virginia, tells stories of failure that turned into success.

Readings and Sermon for the Fifth Sunday of Easter


“Religion celebrates what the rest of the world forgets—the inherent goodness of life itself.  Religion knows that life unadorned and raw is the ultimate high.  Everything else is a pale shadow of the real thing. All the excesses in the world –sex, alcohol, drugs, gambling, greed – are simply substitutes for the real thing. They are made for people who have yet to discover the joy of being human, the glory of God among us.”

Joan Chittister


Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life:  Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen

Acts 11:1-18

. . . Followers of Jesus living in Judea and Jerusalem are astonished to learn of the conversion of gentiles as Peter tells them of his heavenly vision and how the Holy Spirit fell upon the new believers.

Psalm 148 . . . The Song of Songs

.  .  . The whole of creation and all people join together in praise of the Lord

Revelation 21:1-6

. . . a vision of the renewal of all creation and of the new Jerusalem as the city in which God will abide with redeemed humanity.

John 13:31-35

. . . Jesus speaks to his disciples on the night that he is to be betrayed and handed over to death.

Sermon: “Short passage…big message…love one another, love one another, love one another…any questions?”  begins Courtney Allen, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia

Readings and Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Easter

Collect: Fourth Sunday of Easter

O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people:   Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Acts 9: 36-43 . . .  Peter is summoned to Joppa and raises up a disciple named Tabitha

Psalm 23 . . . A song from the flock of God, expressing the infinite care of God as the shepherd of humanity.

Revelation 7: 9-17 . . .  a vision of those who have survived great tribulation and now worship before the throne of God and the Lamb.

John 10:22-30 . . .  Jesus speaks to those who are unable to come to belief in him and then tells of his sheep that belong to him forever.

Sermon:  How do we discern the difference between the imitators and Jesus’ voice? Listen as Michael Renninger helps us figure out how to hear, and recognize, the Good Shepherd’s voice.

Readings and Sermon for Third Sunday of Easter

Collect: Third Sunday of Easter


O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread:  Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

Acts 9:1-6 (7-21) . . . Paul is converted from being an enemy of the Christian way in order to become the great apostle to the non-Jewish people
Psalm 30 . . . The journey out of sorrow into joy
Revelation 5:11-14 . . . This is a vision of the Lamb that was slain—a figure of Jesus.
John 21:1-19 . . . This is another appearance by Jesus to his disciples—this time after their return to the Sea of Tiberias or Galilee
Sermon:   Jesus, Will Willimon, disciples, sheep, discipleship, Peter, Duke Divinity School, failure, Year C, John 21:1-19, fishermen, commissioning, feed, Third Sunday of Easter, fly fishing, follow me, command

Readings and Sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Easter

Religion celebrates what the rest of the world forgets – the inherent goodness of life itself.  Religion knows that life unadorned and raw is the ultimate high.  Everything else is a pale shadow of the real thing.  All the excesses in the world—sex, alcohol, drugs, gambling, greed—are simply substitutes for the real thing.  They are made for people who have yet to discover the joy of being human, the glory of God among us.
It is religion, in fact, that built joy and excitement, happiness and satisfaction, abandon and trust, fun and holy leisure right into the midst of life in the first place.

Joan Chittister

Collect: The 2nd Sunday of Easter

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Acts 5:27-32 . . . the apostles are brought before the council of religious authorities in Jerusalem and again commended to cease preaching in the name of Jesus
Psalm 150 . . . all that have breath are invited to join
Revelation 1:4-8 . . . John the Seer addresses seven representative churches in Asia Minor with a hymn of praise to Christ, the first-born from the dead and now ruler of all.
John 20:19-31 . . . two appearance of the risen Lord to his disciples

Sermon by Richard W. Voelz

“Not long after I arrived at my last pastoral ministry, I was at a gathering for area clergy where I met a minister who told me had an interest in apologetics, that is proving and defending the Christian faith by logical, defensible proofs,” begins Richard W. Voelz, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. But Voelz says, “I have to be honest. I have no interest in proving the resurrection of Jesus. I wasn’t there. I don’t have a firsthand eyewitness account of the empty tomb or Jesus’ appearances after the crucifixion.” He says, “On my best days, I do believe that resurrection happened in some way, shape, or form. Even more than that, I believe resurrection because I see resurrection.” Today’s text, John 20:19-31, anticipates our search for resurrection. How do we see and live the resurrection? Listen as Voelz tells us how to make sure that our belief is never disconnected from resurrection living, so that others will see resurrection in us.

The Resurrection of the Lord: Easter Day

“Easter is the moment Christmas points to, the moment the Passion obscures, the moment the tomb reveals.  On Christmas morning we find the manger full of life; on Easter morning we find the tomb empty of death.”  Joan Chittister

Let us pray .  .

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Isaiah 65: 17-25 . . . This about a blessed time, when God overcomes, for us,  many of life’s shortcomings and frustrations.
Psalm 118:1-4, 14-24 . . . praise of the Lord’s salvation

 Thank God because he’s good,
because his love never quits.
Tell the world, Israel,
“His love never quits.”

And . . .
1 Corinthians 15:19-26 . . . Paul describes the plan of the resurrection age: it has begun with Christ’s rising, and this event gives us confidence that  God defeated  death, the last enemy
John 20:1-18 . . . the discovery of the empty tomb and Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene

Bishop Barron on the Meaning of Easter

Followed by a further discussion on the Resurrection

“There is a Passover here, too, of course.  It is not the Passover of the ‘destroyer’ that spared the Jews in Egypt and generated their Exodus to the promised land.  This Passover is the passage of Jesus from this life to the fullness of divine life.  It is also, then, the passage of Christians from the life of this world to life lived in the light of the risen Jesus.”

Joan Chittister

Holy Week II: Faith tested to the end —

The Triduum (Three Days) . . .

Thursday, Friday and Saturday – is a distinct moment, part of the “Pasch” (to suffer) itself, not part of Lent, but the very time for which Lent is meant to prepare us, i.e. Lent prepares us for the cross, the byway to the empty tomb.  The empty tomb, Easter – that for which we strive and remember until it happens.

  • The theology of suffering and salvation is why Christians celebrate Easter on a different day than the Jewish community celebrates Passover every year. The Easter liturgy is the center point and character of the Christian remembrance practice.
  • But, on the other hand, the image of Christianity as bearer of hope has often disappeared under the emphasis on the cross rather than being heightened by the image of the empty tomb.

Mundy Thursday . . . The day of gifts given and gifts taken away; a study in mixed emotions

 Collect: Almighty Father whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood:  Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries give us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen (BCP p221)

Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10), 11-14 . . . instructions are given, and the meaning of the Passover meal is told:  it is a remembrance and reenactment of Israel’s beginnings as a people when they were saved out of slavery in Egypt.
Psalm 116:1-2,12-19 . . . An offering of thanksgiving and praise by one who has been rescued from death.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 . . . Paul recalls the tradition he received concerning the supper of the Lord on the night he was betrayed.
John 13:1-17, 31b-35 . . . Jesus washes his disciples’ feet during his last meal with them

Good Friday . . . after the glory of Thursday, the saddest day of the liturgical year.

  • Are we willing to lovingly and boldly walk in the midst of all the selfishness, hatred and fear that surrounds us (to pick up our cross and follow Jesus)?
  • The fast whets the need for the return of Christ in our own lives.

Collect: Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen (BCP p221)

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 . . . the poem of the Lord’s servant who suffers and bears the sins of many.
Psalm 22 . . . A psalm of lamentation and plea for deliverance by one who feels deserted and pressed in on every side, expressing final confidence in God’s goodness.
Hebrews 10:16-25 . . . God has established the promised new covenant through which our sins are forgiven and God; laws are written on our hearts
 John 18:1-19:42 . . . the story of Jesus’ trials before the Jewish council and Pilate, followed by his suffering and death.

Holy Saturday: The Loss that is Gain . . .

“The day nobody talks about.  Jesus is absent, our inner light is out, all hope seems to have died and there are no liturgical assemblies until night fall. 

On this day faith is not about counting our blessings; it is about dealing with darkness and growing in hope. For we know now that without Jesus, there is for us no bridge to God Once we knew, looking at him, what we ourselves were meant to be, as well, if we were to be fully human at all.

There is the hope that we can begin, finally, to see the world as God sees the world and so trust that God is indeed everywhere in everything at all times – in the abstruse as well as the luminous, whether we ourselves can see the hand of God in this moment or not.

To be able to come to that point before the beginning of Easter Vigil, before the cantor sings the Exultet into the darkness, is what Holy Saturday is really all about.  Then loss is gain, and silence is a very clear message from God.”  Joan Chittister. In “The Liturgical Year” Chapter 24, pp 152 – 157

Collect: O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen (BCP p221)

Job 14:1-14 . . . Job reflects on the brevity of human life.
Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16 . . . A song of trust by one who looks to the Lord for mercy and protection
1 Peter 4:1-8 . . . Believers are encouraged to live devoted to the will of God, steering clear of all forms of dissipation.
John 19:38-42 . . . Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea prepare Jesus’ body for burial according to custom.