Fourth Sunday of Advent


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

“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


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


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

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.”

Second Sunday of Advent

Collect: Second Sunday of Advent

Merciful God, who sent your messengers, 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 11:1-10  . . . The prophet foresees a time when God will bring forth a righteous judge and a new spirit of peace in the world.
Psalm 72: 1-7, 18-19 . . . The psalm ask that God endow the king with compassionate justice and righteousness, and that his reign may extend over all nations and throughout all generations.
Romans 15:4-13 . . .  Paul points  to several passages from Hebrew scripture to show how God’s promise that Gentile people should come to praise God was being fulfilled 
Matthew 3:1-12 . . . the ministry of John the Baptist, his message of repentance and his prophecy of the mighty one to come.


“But still, he is a really nice guy…the tell-tale words we use too often to soften the unkind things we say about others.” David Lose, Senior Pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, says that today’s passage, Matthew 3:1-12, is a biblical version of this phrase. Lose says that the gospel writers don’t quite know what to make of John the Baptist. Listen as Lose explores how the author of Matthew uses the person of John the Baptist in a unique way to point to Jesus

2019 Thanksgiving Feast (Celebration)

Collect: Thanksgiving Day

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them.  Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

Deuteronomy 26:1-11 . . . the Lord’s mighty salvation of Israel from slavery in Egypt is recalled, and the people are bid to offer in thanksgiving the first fruits of their fields.
Psalm 100 . . . A call to praise and to offer thanksgiving to the LORD.
Philippians 4:4-9 . . . Paul invite the new disciples at Philippi to exult in the Lord, who is near at hand.
John 6:25-35 . . . the story of the feeding of the five thousand people by Jesus.  (a non-dual perspective on this reading)

The Sermon by Rev. Colleen Ogle

of  Kings Ave, United Methodist Church

First Sunday of Advent

Collect: The First Sunday of 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 2: 1-5 . . . the prophet sets forth a majestic vision of a time when people throughout the world will worship the Lord and live in peace with one another
Psalm 122
Roman 13: 11-14 . . . Paul urges a way of life in full awareness of the nearness of salvation.
Matthew 24: 36-44 . . . Jesus tells his disciples of the need for readiness because the Son of Man will come at a day and hour which no one knows.
Sermon By Jim Somerville

“Imagine a world where Christmas doesn’t come on December 25, but with the first snowfall of the year,” begins Jim Somerville, Pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church and co-founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday. In this sermon from Matthew 24:36-44 he says: “It would be strange, wouldn’t it, living in a world like that? It would be so different from the scheduled way we celebrate Christmas now. But it would be much more like that unscheduled first Christmas, and almost exactly like the unscheduled second coming of Christ. ‘But about that day and hour no one knows,’ Jesus says, ‘neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.’”

The Reign of Christ/ Christ The King – (and The Third Week of the Seven Week

Collect: Proper 29 (and The Third Week of the Seven Week Advent)

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-behaved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords:  Mercifully grant that the people of the 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

Jeremiah 23:1-6 . . . the Lord denounces the rulers who have so poorly shepherded the people of Israel.  God will gather the flock together and give them new shepherd, especially a just ruler in the line to David.
Luke 1:68-79 (Song of Zechariah) . . . the child will be called the prophet of the Most-High and will make a way to the Lord
Colossians 1;11-20 . . . Paul prays that the Colossians may be strengthened to meet whatever is to come, and he praises the Son as the visible likeness of the invisible God, through whom all things were created.  He is the head of his body, the church, and the source of its life.
 Luke 23:33-43 . . . Jesus, as he hangs upon the cross, is mocked as the Christ and the King of the Jews.  To a thief crucified with him he promises Paradise.
Sermon by Kristin Adkins Whitesides
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Heaven helps those who help themselves,” says Rev. Dr. Kristin Adkins Whitesides, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Winchester, Virginia. The self-help industry is worth about $10 billion according to market researchers. But today, on Reign of Christ or Christ the King Sunday, Whitesides preaches on Luke 23:33-43, giving Christians a different view of how we can be saved, and it is not through “self-help.”


Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

 . . .  or The Second Week of the Seven-week Advent


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

Second Week of the Seven-week Advent

O Lord our God, you gave your law that righteousness might abound: Put  it into our hearts to love justice for others as much as we desire it for ourselves \, that, as we know you to be our judge, so we may welcome your reign as it is manifested through Jesus Christ our savior, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise forever and ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 65:17-25 . . . a blessed time when God will overcome many of life’s shortcomings and frustrations
Canticle, First song of Isaiah . . . the vindication of those who have placed their confidence in the Lord God
2 Thessalonians 3;6-13 . . . Paul deals with the problem of those who are so expectant that the Lord will come soon and are so meddlesome in the affairs of others that they have given up their daily work.
Luke 21: 5-19 . . . the disciples are forewarned of the destruction of the Jewish temple and of great upheavals in the natural and supernatural order that must take place before the end of history.
The Sermon

Imagine being called into your boss’s office and being told that you’re just not cut out for your position, the one you had dreamed about as a child. Michael Renninger pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia tells of how he was called into the priest’s office at his monastery and told that he would never be a priest because he “did not have what it takes.” Renninger says, “my world collapsed around me.” He gives us a personal take on Luke 21:5-19, Jesus’s prediction of the destruction of the temple. Listen as he preaches on how painful endings are not the end and how this passage challenges us to look at the world differently.

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

. . . or the First  Sunday of the Seven-week Advent

Collect: Proper 27

O God, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might  destroy the works of the devil and make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life:  Grant us , we beseech thee, that having this hope, we may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end.  Amen


Collect: Prayer for the First Sunday of the Seven-week Advent

Eternal God, your Word of wisdom goes forth and does not return empty: Grant us such knowledge and love of you that we may percieve your presence and all creation and every creature; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, now and forever. Amen.

Haggai 1:15-2:9 . . . Haggai summons Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and Joshua, the high priest, to attend to the reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem, laid to waste some fifty years earlier.
Psalm 145:1-15, 17-21 . . . Praise to the Lord, who is mighty in deeds yet tender and compassionate
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17 . . . a correction to a misunderstanding about the day of the Lord,” which some in the early Christian community feared had already arrived
Luke 20:27-38 . . . the Sadducees ask a question about the resurrection.  Jesus replies that resurrection means a different existence from earthly life, and that it depends on a God who has a personal and living relationship with all people



Ryan Ahlgrim, Pastor of First Mennonite Church in Richmond, Virginia,  asks, “Is it either you trust in life after death or you’re committed to living out God’s reign now on Earth?” In his sermon, Ahlgrim shows us that “these two things that we trust in and do are intimately connected with each other.” Listen as he explains the relationship between these two priorities and how it affects our lives as believers.

Twenty-first Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 26

Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 . . . the prophet bitterly complains to the Lord about the injustice and violence in the world.  God answers that justice will come in time; meanwhile, the righteous will live by faithfulness and loyalty
Psalm 119:137-144 . . . an acknowledgement of God as source of all truth and righteousness and a prayer of understanding.
Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12 . . .  Together with Silvanus and Timothy, Paul greets the new disciples in Thessalonica.  He offers thanks to god for the increase of their faith under persecution and assures them of his prayers.
Luke 19:1-10 . . . Jesus answers a question concerning the chief command of the law by reciting the double commandment to love God and one’s neighbor.
The Sermon

The incomparable Barbara Lundblad, the Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching Emerita at Union Theological Seminary in New York, is our featured preacher this week, and she is preaching the story of Zacchaeus

Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost

Proper 25

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Joel 2:23-32 . . . the prophet pictures a time of great joy and gladness
Psalm 65 . . . a psalm of praise and thanksgiving
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 . . . Paul, believing that his death is near, closes his letter to Timothy and looks forward with great faith to the heavenly kingdom.
Luke 18:9-14 . . . the story of the Pharisee who trust in his righteousness and the sinful tax collector.
Sermon: “Never Enough

What does it mean to be “justified,” and how does it feel compared to being “righteous”?  David J. Lose, Senior Pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota and former seminary president and professor of preaching, has good answers in this week’s sermon and I think you are going to want to hear them. Click here.