Sunday, January 1, 2017

Holy Name of Jesus

Holy Name of Jesus: Sermon for Holy Name of Jesus, Church of the Holy Trinity, Grahamville. Speaker: James Gibson. Luke 2:15-21, Philippians 2:5-11.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day

Christmas Day: Christmas Day Sermon, Church of the Holy Trinity, Grahamville.. Speaker: James Gibson. John 1:1-18.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve: Christmas Eve Sermon, Church of the Holy Trinity, Grahamville.. Speaker: James Gibson. Luke 2:1-20.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Advent 4

Advent 4: Sermon for 4th Sunday of Advent, Church of the Holy Trinity, Grahamville.. Speaker: James Gibson. Isaiah 7:10-17, Matthew 1:18-25.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wednesday in Advent 3: The kingdom of God and the cross of Christ

Opening Sentence
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

For the Ministry (Ember Days)

I. For those to be ordained

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, in your divine providence you have appointed various orders in your Church: Give your grace, we humbly pray, to all who are
called to any office and ministry for your people; and so fill them with the truth of your doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that they may faithfully serve before you, to the glory of your great Name and for the benefit of your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

II. For the choice of fit persons for the ministry

O God, you led your holy apostles to ordain ministers in every place: Grant that your Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may choose suitable persons for the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and may uphold them in their work for the extension of your kingdom; through him who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

III. For all Christians in their vocation

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Texts: Psalm 71, 72 (M); Psalm 73, 74 (E); Isaiah 44:24-45:13, Mark 8:11-9:1 (M); Isaiah 45:14-25, Revelation 20 (E)

Millennial views are like bad days. Everybody has one. No one particular view, however, is truly adequate to explain the multi-dimensional nature of the coming eschatological kingdom of God. Jesus declared to his disciples, “Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power” (Mark 9:1). This statement becomes very problematic for those who are wound up in arguments over millennial views. If “the kingdom of God” is synonymous with “the Son of Man” coming “in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38), why have believers been waiting some 2,000 years to see something Jesus promised would be seen by his earliest followers?

If all that is meant by “the kingdom of God” is the return of Christ in glory at the end of history, then we might have a problem here, but “the kingdom of God” is a much larger project than just its final consummation. It is connected not only with Jesus’ glory, but also with his suffering. Likewise, it is seen not only in the final triumph of righteousness, but also in the ordeal of righteous suffering at the hands of the fallen world. Jesus connects his glory with his suffering and commands “anyone” who “would come after” him to “deny himself and take up his cross and follow” him (Mark 8:34). The glory of the Son of Man is inextricably connected with the suffering of the Son of Man. The kingdom of God is inextricably linked with the cross of Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ first disciples would “see the kingdom of God” in their lifetime by seeing Jesus “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). Jesus’ resurrection was the inaugural event of the kingdom of God. Jesus, after his ordeal of suffering and death, was raised up in glory, vindicated as the true Christ of God, the victorious Son of Man “in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

The resurrection, however, was only the beginning. Jesus called his disciples to deny themselves, take up the cross, and follow him. They were to continue the work he began. They were to proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom of God to all the nations, never being ashamed even to give their lives for their Lord. In Jesus, crucified and risen, they could “see the kingdom of God.” Their mission was then, and our mission is now, to make others see that kingdom in lives that become an authentic imitation of the crucified and risen Savior.


What Child is This

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Advent 3

Advent 3: Sermon for Third Sunday of Advent, Church of the Holy Trinity, Grahamville. Speaker: James Gibson. Isaiah 35:1-10, James 5:7-12, Matthew 11:2-11.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Saturday in Advent 2: The sabbath pattern

Opening Sentence
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. Isaiah 40:5

How Long, Dear Savior, O How Long

Commemoration: Karl Barth and Thomas Merton
Almighty God, source of justice beyond human knowledge: We offer thanks that thou didst inspire Karl Barth to resist tyranny and exalt thy saving grace, without which we cannot apprehend thy will. Teach us, like him, to live by faith, and even in chaotic and perilous times to perceive the light of thy eternal glory, Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, throughout all ages. Amen.

Gracious God, who didst call thy monk Thomas Merton to proclaim thy justice out of silence, and moved him in his contemplative writings to perceive and value Christ at work in the faiths of others: Keep us, like him, steadfast in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Texts: Psalm 50-52 (M); Psalm 53-55 (E); Isaiah 40:12-31, Mark 6:30-56 (M); Isaiah 41, Revelation 17 (E)

If there is a message in the structure of a text, then the message of today's Gospel reading should not be missed. It begins with Jesus and his disciples withdrawing "to a desolate place" to "rest a while." It ends with Jesus withdrawing to "the mountain to pray." Between these two periods of withdrawal, there is the feeding of the five thousand with fives loaves and two fish. Most attention, naturally, is focused on that miraculous sign as well as the many other signs Jesus performs throughout Mark's Gospel. However, there is a message to be heard in Mark's recurrent emphasis on Jesus withdrawing to desolate places and climbing mountains.

Mark, in fact, chronicles Jesus' entire earthly ministry along this work-rest-work-rest cycle. It is an intentional replication of the pattern of creation, punctuating Jesus' declaration concerning the Sabbath (Mark 2.27-28). The periodic time of withdrawal and rest is not incidental to Jesus' ministry. It is an integral part of it. His work is not complete without it.

In the same way, the Sabbath, as God established it, is not incidental to his work of creation. It is an integral part of it. The Sabbath hallows the work of the previous six days and makes creation whole. As the numerous incidents of death, disease, and suffering recounted by Mark make clear, that wholeness has been marred by the Fall. Jesus came proclaiming a Gospel of repentance, redemption, and restoration. He came to make creation whole again.


A Voice Cries Out