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Showing posts from August, 2011
The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A The Rev. Dr. Howard J. HessWho Do You Say That I Am? August 21, 2011
I. Introduction. Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am? Who do you say that I am?” The answers to these questions required three things from Peter: Clarity, courage, and passion. For Peter, his ability to respond to Jesus in today’s Gospel came mid-point in his spiritual journey. Jesus had nurtured Peter so that he could respond in this way. The story of Jesus and Peter had started much earlier and would end much later. I have seen that same pattern in my own life.
I am a boy who grew up in the church, nurtured by the faith of my parents, the many Sunday School teachers who taught me, and Vacation Bible School leaders who didn’t yet have electronic equipment, but instead used flannel boards to bring Jesus, the disciples, and the many animals in the Bible – mostly sheep -- to life. These were the saints who nurtured me. I can remember their faces and many of the things …

"A House of Prayer for All Peoples"

The Rev. Robert P. TravisPentecost 15A RCL Sunday Sermon – 8 and 10:30am Service, Church of the Ascension, Knoxville TN8/14/2011Scripture Text: Isaiah 56:1,6-8, Psalm 67, Romans 11:1-2a,29-32, Matthew 15:(10-20),21-28Sermon Text:When I was in New York City for college,I attended the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.It was the closest Episcopal Church to where I lived,little more than 2 blocks from me.I'm sure I've told some of you this story,but it came back to me in a strong way when I read the passage from Isaiah today,because that church liked to proclaim itself,“a house of prayer for all peoples.”What they meant by that, and what the Lord meant,in Isaiah are very different things.
I found that they were trying to welcome people of diverse cultural backgrounds and even different religions.But my experience as a young college studenthad been different.I called their office the week I arrived at college,to volunteer as an acolyte, since at that point,I had been serving as a…
God of hope before us, God of healing within us, God of mercy above us, Come be with us. Amen1 Kings 19:9-18 Ps. 85:8-13 Romans 10:5-15 & Matthew 14:22-33 Pent. 8 8/7/11 Sun. Asc.
Our scripture readings today focus on the difference between fear and faith. The reading from 1st Kings tells about the prophet Elijah, who faces fear from those who are seeking to harm him. He panics and runs away and hides in a cave. Then in our Gospel reading we learn that the disciples are the ones who are afraid. They have been with Jesus as he preaches to the crowds. However, Jesus sends them away, in a boat to go the other side while he finds time to pray.. The hard part for the disciples is that they are on their own. . All is well for them, until a huge storm comes with high winds and waves that push against the boat the disciples are in. During this storm, Their fear is stronger than their faith.. In our reading from the Psalms we hear about peace for God’s people. Peace, the ki…
The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year A The Rev. Dr. Howard J. HessWas There Enough? Is There Enough? Will There Be Enough? July 31, 2011
I. Introduction. Today is my birthday. I am pleased and grateful to be sharing this day with you. One of the customs in our family and often in our staff birthday celebrations is to ask the question, “What have you learned in the past year?” My answer to that question in 2011 is rooted in today’s Gospel. I have continued to learn anew an old lesson; I call it the lesson of abundance and sufficiency. During this past year, I have had opportunities to re-learn that, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am challenged to live out the truth of abundance in the way I use my time, my money, and the gifts that God has given me. But there is a caveat to this truth. Over and over again, left to my own devices, I will move, particularly under pressure, to my default position of scarcity and worry. It is humbling that the lesson of abundance is one tha…