Monday, September 9, 2013

Sermon for September 8 by the Rev. Kate Ekrem

September 8 2013 Proper 18C
The Rev. Kate Ekrem

Once when I was in seminary, I signed up for a course that was oversubscribed. There were too many people who wanted to take it. So, instead of taking the first 20 students who signed up or something like that, the professor had us all show up to the first class. Then she started giving us an overview of the class. How much reading, how many papers, how complicated the material was going to be, how she wasn’t going to spoon feed us and on and on. About half the people dropped the class after hearing all that, and then we were down to the right size.  It was the best course I took in seminary, well worth all the work.
            It seems like Jesus is a little bit like that professor in today’s Gospel. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sermon for August 4, 2013 by Rev. Kate Ekrem

August 4 2013 Proper 13C
By Rev. Kate Ekrem
Church of Our Redeemer

This past weekend, Dave and I cleaned out the garage. We ended up with almost a carload of stuff to take to Goodwill – it always feels good and virtuous to purge stuff out of the house. But you know, we clean out the garage every couple of months, and it seems like every time we have a carload of stuff to take to Goodwill. I try to keep that in mind when praying on this parable of the rich fool. It’s one of those rare parables of Jesus that’s actually pretty darn clear and easy to understand. Stuff bad, God good. Jesus even gives a one sentence summary himself: one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. But you already know this, it’s not even worth a sermon. You wouldn't be sitting in a church on Sunday morning if you actually did think that life consists of the abundance of possessions.  You’d be at the mall instead, right?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sermon for July 14 by Andrew Goldhor

July 14, 2013, Proper 10C
The Rev. Andrew Goldhor

I was sitting at home last night finishing my sermon. Then I saw the Trayvon Martin verdict. George Zimmerman was found not guilty by six jurors in Florida. After a few minutes, as my Facebook feed filled with emotion, commentary, calls for action, fury and outrage and satisfaction, I knew I had to scrap my sermon.

I do not wish to preach on whether George Zimmerman should have been found guilty of murder, or if justice was served by the outcome of the trial. A young man is dead. Another in a heart rending list, too long to bear, of dead youth in our cities and towns. I do want to lift this up to God, and to call Holy all our efforts to find Jesus at work in us, in our pain and anger, in our frustration, sadness worry and confusion.

So I hope that we might use these minutes to let God take hold of our hearts and minds. For the family of Trayvon Martin I pray that they might be sustained in their faith, knowing Jesus abiding presence in their pain and grief. For George Zimmerman and his family I pray they too may know God's love. And for Trayvon, I pray that he continue to rest in peace, and rise in glory.

The defense of George Zimmerman, from what I heard of the trial coverage, was that he was acting out of fear for his life, or his safety. This fear drove him to kill Trayvon, and it seems to have been what his defense team used to justify this act in keeping with Florida's Stand your Ground laws. And it is this fear that brings me to Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke's Gospel.

In his final speech in Memphis, Dr. Martin Luther King recalled traveling to the Holy Land with his wife, and traveling the road between Jerusalem and Jericho, the setting for Jesus parable. Dr. King described the road as being well suited to an ambush. And it was that narrow, dangerous road that made him think of why that priest and that levite just kept moving when they saw the half dead man on the side of the road. They were afraid those bandits might still be nearby, or that the man could be faking, trying to lure them into a trap. 

Dr. King said, "And so the first question that the priest asked -- the first question that the Levite asked was, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" The Samaritan might well have been afraid of those bandits too, but he did not let his fear make the choice for him. He instead saw the need of his neighbor, and was moved with pity, and he acted. 

Trayvon Martin was a victim of fear, at the least. A fear that made him look dangerous to George Zimmerman.

As we hold these families, and all those affected by violence in our prayers, let us continue to live into our baptismal covenant, always striving to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves, to strive for Justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being. These vows are hard, and this case is only one example of why. But in our life of prayer together, and in the food we take from this table, we find strength for these great tasks.

Let us Pray:

Gracious God, you provide us with blessings of life and children and joy. We ask that you will send your Holy Spirit upon us in these difficult days, that we might not be overcome with fear, but might see one another as neighbors, and might use our hearts and souls and minds and strength in service of you, through your Son, our friend and savior, Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Farewell Sermon from Rev. Danielle Tumminio

Sermon for June 30 2013
Rev. Danielle Tumminio

So after I read this week’s Gospel reading, I thought, “Shoot, really?  These are challenging readings for my final Sunday at Redeemer—leave your family; don’t bury your father if you want to follow Jesus….”

And then I thought, “Actually, maybe not so challenging after all.”

You see, during my time with you all this year, I have come to see that the Redeemer family is one that lives out Jesus’ teachings in personal and profound ways—some of you drive folks to church who otherwise couldn't attend on their own.  Some of you spearhead mission initiatives like organizing the food pantry or the El Hogar trip.  Some of you give up weeknights to rehearse with the choir and others of you get here early on Sunday morning to set up the church for worship or to acolyte.  Some of you stay after church to teach Sunday School and others return on Sunday night to lead the Youth Group.  I have watched our youth organize a gaggle of children from our

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sermon for June 9 2013

June 9 2013, Proper 5C
The Rev. Kate Ekrem

Recently I saw a very useful top 10 list, top 10 things not to say to someone who’s lost a loved one. It was great, because often are very uncomfortable talking with someone who is grieving, they don’t know what to do or say, so they worst things come out of people’s mouths sometimes, and this article listed what to avoid saying, like “God just needed another angel in heaven” or what have you. On the lsit were things like “I know just how you feel” – no you don’t. And “he’s in a better place now” – actually, with me is the place where I want my loved one to be. Also on that list, was “don’t cry.” I mean, can you imagine, saying that to someone, for example a widow who has just lost her only son? But that’s exactly what Jesus does say. I mean, who let this guy on the pastoral care team?