Sermons October through December 2017


All sermons are by Rev. Stephen Springer, unless otherwise noted.
Sermons are available in text and/or audio format.

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December 31, 2017 :: Christmas 1B  [Luke 2:22-40]
Our light has come. A light we have beheld with our own eyes. And a light that promises to be for all people. With that thought in mind, we can say goodbye to 2017. The good and the bad. We can depart in peace. Knowing that history and our lives are in the hands of this God who has come to us as a baby in Bethlehem.
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December 24, 2017 :: Christmas Eve  [Luke 2:1-20]
God is normally in heaven, where things are good. And humankind is normally on earth, where things vary (at best). On Christmas, the drawbridge is down, the highway is open, between heaven and earth. Because God comes down to be with us.
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December 17, 2017 :: Advent 3B  [The O Antiphons]
Each of these seven names is used on the seven days leading up to Christmas. They are accompanied by the word Veni, the imperative verb form of the Latin word for “come.” Our word Advent is from venire. Advent, the coming of the Messiah. Come, Adonai. Come, Wisdom. Come, Root of Jesse. Seven names for Jesus. Seven requests that he come.
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[No audio available for this sermon]

December 10, 2017 :: Advent 2B  [The Magnificat; 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Luke 1:46-55]
Luke wrote the Gospel that bears his name, and he wrote the Acts of the Apostles. And there is exactly one person who occurs both in the first chapter of Luke. And in the first chapter of Acts: Mary the mother of Jesus …Mary would be continuity and memory. All of these strange and wonderful things that happened when she was young would not come together until she was old, and widowed, and had watched her son die.
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December 3, 2017 :: Advent 1B  [Malachi 4:5-6]
Elijah lived in a time of failed institutions. He was an outsider. In a time when the political order and the religious order had both fallen into corruption and decay. Elijah lived in exile. He lived hand to mouth. And he was an opponent of corrupt kings and queens who tried to murder him. It is no wonder, then, that John– who lived in the wilderness– and who stood on the opposite side of the border, the east side of the Jordan beyond the reach of princes and law enforcement– John was seen as Elijah.
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November 26, 2017 :: Christ the King Sunday (A)
[Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 95:1-7a; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46]
The judge– Christ– is all around us, 24 hours a day. “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family you did it to me.” Members of this church and others regularly speak to me about the difficulty of encounters with homeless people. The difficulty is that the homeless person is a judgment. A judgment on us, and on our society. Understanding THAT is the first step. We push them away, sometimes, because they smell bad, or because they lack good manners. But we really push them away because they make us uncomfortable. They remind us of the vast work of the kingdom of heaven. They remind us of this parable. “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family you did it to me.”
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November 19, 2017 :: Lectionary 33A [Matthew 25:14-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11]
Our treasure, our talent is this congregation. In some ways, we are surely tempted to bury this talent in the ground. To preserve what we have by receding behind walls. That is what is happening to many congregations. And not only congregations, but many social institutions… We at Dove of Peace are not doing that. Every day we sweep the steps, we raise the flag, we turn on the lights, and we open the doors. And we invite all to come. Come and find hope. Come and find connection. Come and taste that the Lord is good..
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November 5, 2017 :: All Saints’ Sunday [Matthew 5:1-12]
The writers of the Bible understand holiness to be a condition that is decreed by God and created by God. And Paul– who used the word “saint” far more than any other writer of the Bible– for Paul, saints are decreed by God and created by God. Sainthood is not something to boast about. But sainthood is conferred because God sets us apart. For special good. Just as on page one, God set aside the seventh day and hallowed it… so God sets us aside, for special good.
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October 29, 2017 :: Reformation Sunday [2 Corinthians 7:8]
Paul was telling the Christians in Corinth– as he sought their help in reaching out to the others– Paul knew that they knew the first grace, Martin Luther’s grace– the free gift of God’s unconditional love. NOW, Paul said, Abound in THIS grace also. Live abundantly in this project of kindness and generosity toward those who are not kind and generous.
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October 22, 2017 :: Lectionary 29A [Isaiah 45:1-7]
This is the promise that… comes true in today’s reading, Isaiah 45. When Babylon is defeated by Persia. And the Persian king, Cyrus, decrees that for the Jews, the exile is over. That they can return, rebuild, and recreate their city and their temple. Our English translation shows how God calls Cyrus his “anointed” one.
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October 15, 2017 :: Lectionary 28A [Matthew 22:1-14]
And so whatever you make of it, whatever your opinion is, the facts are that the Jesus in Matthew’s gospel says a lot more about judgment and condemnation and hell than any other gospel writer… The architecture of Matthew’s gospel assures us that judgment is God’s, and God’s alone. And there is a strong imperative that we quit trying to separate ourselves into saints and sinners and get on with the business of discipleship.
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October 8, 2017 :: Lectionary 27A [Occasional]
Most Americans, most American culture, and most American Christianity is extremely idealistic. Or wants to be. When humans invest heavily in dreams and ideals, and those ideals fail, then humans become extremely bitter, extremely angry, extremely cynical. In America right now we are seeing the consequence of broken dreams and shattered ideals. And then people retreating to their corners, to their closed rooms, and doubling down, investing even more in those ideals.
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October 1, 2017 :: Lectionary 26A [Matthew 21:23-32]
In our broken relationships, in our wrong choices, in our bad luck, in the places where the ground has shifted under our feet: Jesus opens a new door. We have a chance to turn our “No” into a Yes. We have space and time to change or minds and to walk through that door.
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