Sermons

Sermons delivered by Good Shepherd clergy.

Wheat Among the Weeds: Extremists for Love

Sermon for: 
7th Sunday After Pentecost, Year A
Delivery Date: 
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Text: 
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Preacher: 
Mother Alwen Bledsoe

Today our gospel writer Matthew delivers up what appears to be some very bad gardening advice alongside just a hint of fire and brim stone. It’s a puzzling parable: a farmer’s enemy sneaks out in the dead of night to sow weeds in a field of wheat—a crop the farmer and his family no doubt rely on for their very survival. Dismayed when they find weeds growing amongst the crop, the farmer’s servants are ready to pull up the weeds immediately to protect the grain that has just begun to sprout, but the farmer stops them.

Expectations About Growth

Sermon for: 
6th Sunday After Pentecost
Delivery Date: 
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Text: 
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Preacher: 
Fr. Craig MacColl

It’s fun to celebrate anniversaries. As you may know, in the Episcopal Church we use a three year cycle of readings, denoted as Years A, B and C. This is year A, the year that features the Gospel of Matthew, and that means that, in 36 years as a priest, I have had the opportunity to preach on this gospel 12 different times – one year for each disciple, I guess!

Two Yokes: One To Lay Down; One To Put On

Sermon for: 
5th Sunday After Pentecost
Delivery Date: 
Sunday, July 9, 2017
Text: 
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Preacher: 
Fr. Craig MacColl

The closing words of our Gospel may be familiar to many of you, especially if you grew up with the 1928 Prayer Book. These were referred to as “the Comfortable Words” and they were said by the priest following the confession and before the beginning of the Communion service: “Come unto me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Unfortunately, these “comfortable words” were taken out of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and, in a sense, this was a loss because they are words we need to pay attention to.

Moving Beyond the Logic of Sacrifice to the Logic of Love

Sermon for: 
4th Sunday after Pentecost
Delivery Date: 
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Text: 
Gen 22:1-14
Preacher: 
Mother Alwen Bledsoe

Several years ago in seminary I made an unpleasant and inconvenient discovery. In my deepest depths I believed God was a truly contemptible being—a hateful, angry, capricious, sexist, homophobic, and even abusive deity.

Meeting the God Who Sees

Sermon for: 
3rd Sunday after Pentecost (proper 7, year A)
Delivery Date: 
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Text: 
Gen. 21:8-21
Preacher: 
Mother Alwen Bledsoe

Hagar’s story from Genesis is one that I have often wished was not in the Bible. It is a story of sexual slavery, a story of exploitation and abuse, and Abraham and Sarah—the central matriarch and patriarch of our faith—are simply abhorrent in their treatment of Hagar. Worst of all, God seems to take their side, allowing Hagar to be cast aside and misused. What are we to make of this story being included in our holy writings?

A Father's Day Meditation on the Ten Commandments

Sermon for: 
Second Sunday After Pentecost
Delivery Date: 
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Text: 
Exodus 19:2-8a
Preacher: 
Fr. Craig MacColl

We don’t often get sermons on the Ten Commandments, but, on this Father’s Day, I’d like to offer a Father’s Day meditation, which is based on the section of the Book of Exodus appointed for today where Moses goes to the top of Mt. Sinai to receive the Commandments from God. My sermon is heavily indebted to a sermon preached by the well-known Episcopal preacher Barbara Brown Taylor to her Georgia congregation several years ago.

The God Who Calls Us Into Relationship; The God Who Is Always With Us

Sermon for: 
Trinity Sunday
Delivery Date: 
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Text: 
Matthew 28:16-20
Preacher: 
Fr. Craig MacColl

In our gospel, the disciples went to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had told them to meet him after he was raised from the dead. While he was there he told them they would be given authority to go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  The disciples went to the top of the mountain without knowing what would happen next. But they had learned to trust that Jesus was their mentor and guide and that the Holy Spirit would continue to lead them and guide them into all truth.

Come Holy Spirit

Sermon for: 
Pentecost Sunday
Delivery Date: 
Sunday, June 4, 2017
Text: 
Acts 2:1-21; John 20:19-23
Preacher: 
Fr. Craig MacColl

A wise mother superior was dying. The nuns gathered around her bed, trying to make her comfortable. They gave her some warm milk to drink, but she refused it. Then one nun took the glass back to the kitchen. Remembering a bottle of whiskey received as a gift at Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk.

Prayer and Witness

Sermon for: 
7th Sunday of Easter
Delivery Date: 
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Text: 
John 17:1-11
Preacher: 
Fr. Craig MacColl

Today, the 7th Sunday of Easter, or the Sunday after the Ascension, is often referred to as “Expectation Sunday.” On Thursday, the Church celebrated Jesus’ ascension into heaven, the day when Jesus’ post-Easter physical appearances to the disciples came to an end. There would be no more meals together; no more teachings by the seashore; no more healing miracles; no more hearing parables told by the fire. A separation has occurred.

Finding the Eternal God in our Limits

Sermon for: 
6th Sunday of Easter
Delivery Date: 
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Text: 
Acts 17:22-31, John 14:15-21
Preacher: 
Mother Alwen Bledsoe

A little over a week ago my mother-in-law Connie died unexpectedly. It’s been a painful time for our family as we have faced that loss, and also have had to face our mortality and the reality that we have so little control over so much of our lives. In the space of a minute a life can end and the lives of those who loved her are also altered forever. And there is nothing we can do about it. Death comes for us all.

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