Sermons (Page 34)

June 6, 2010: A Meeting of Life and Death

Sermon
The Rev. Dr. C. Steven Teague, Rector
Second Sunday after Pentecost

You’re at the corner of 12th and Main, about to step into the crosswalk when the most gosh-awful noise stops you. Down the street you notice, coming into town, just passing the “Welcome to Nain” sign, is a boisterous crowd of Bible thumping Jesus freaks laughing joyfully. From the other direction, on 12th Street is a bier-bearing funeral procession of wailing, dirge singing mourners carrying on like there’s no tomorrow, headed out of town.

Earlier at the coffee shop, you read the obituary. His only survivor is his mother. His father died some years ago. He’s an only child. That means his widowed mother will soon be out on the street – no male left to protect or preserve her life – no pension, no survivor benefits, and no income. She’s done.

May 30, 2010: Unity of Love

Sermon
The Rev. Dr. C. Steven Teague, Rector
Trinity Sunday

Today I have a riddle for you. Ready? What is three in one and one in three? If you guess “Three in One” machine oil, you lose. If you guess new math or quantum physics, you lose. If you guess the Trinity, you win. That part was pretty easy, wasn’t it? Today is Trinity Sunday, and I’ll bet you could hardly wait to get here: “Oh boy, I get to hear a sermon about an ancient relic from a different world. How great can church get?”

May 23, 2010: Completing Easter, At Least for Now

Sermon
The Rev. Dr. C. Steven Teague, Rector
Pentecost Sunday

What we are about to do in here, stays in here. Is everyone with me? If you’re into Holy Spirit stuff, raise your hand and wave it around. If, as a traditional Episcopalian, you believe waving hands in church is a bit excessive, quietly nod your heads. Those who are already asleep – please don’t bother them. Now, here’s what’s up. I have researched words that mean “spirit.” For instance, spire means spirit or breath. We say that Handel and Bach were inspired to compose music, or Van Gogh to paint. Something from outside fills hearts and imaginations: an inspiration. When someone dies, they do what – expire? They breathe out for the last time. Conspire, con meaning with, is to “breathe together.” What we’re about to do I learned from professor and preacher Barbara Brown Taylor. We’re going to intentionally breathe to get us thinking, “Holy Spirit.” On three, breathe in and hold until I say, “Release” Then breathe out. Ready? One, two, three – breathe and hold; “Release.” Don’t let this get out, especially to Homeland Security. You and I just created a conspiracy.

May 16, 2010: Gone, But Not Away

Sermon
The Rev. Dr. C. Steven Teague, Rector
Seventh Sunday after Easter

You may have skipped the celebration of the Ascension this past Thursday. A lot of people did. I can understand. The story asks us to suspend our disbelief. It says that Jesus literally lifts off, ascending into the clouds leaving his disciples, well-wishers and the whole world in his wake.

Ascension is pretty difficult to wrap our minds around. Other feasts are more tangible and earthly grounded. At Christmas we have a manger, angels, shepherds, and a baby. An empty tomb, bunnies, chocolate crosses and lilies help us think Easter. Did anyone send you an Ascension card this year? Did you send any Ascension cards? Did you decorate your house for Ascension? Neither the malls nor Hallmark seem aware of Ascension. Maybe releasing a helium balloon as we sing the Fifth Dimension’s Up, Up, and Away could catch on.

May 9, 2010: Rooming with Jesus

Sermon
The Rev. Dr. C. Steven Teague, Rector
Sixth Sunday after Easter

Some people will go to church today, because they like the people there. They feel connected. They belong. They won’t say so, but they want to know if Jesus is real and they belong to him. Other people will visit a church today as if they are test driving a new car – checking out the people, choir, sermon and building. They’re shopping. Yet deep down, they also want to know if this is a community that believes Jesus is real, and they too belong to him. Some who go to church today know Jesus intellectually – as an ancient religious figure, but that’s about it. They long for more, too. And some won’t go to church this day. Early on, they were told what to believe. So, they belonged. As they grew up, they had questions about faith, and began to ask them at church. The answer they were given – “Just believe what we tell you.” They didn’t – they couldn’t anymore. So they no longer belonged, and really didn’t care anymore. They have learned that absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder.

April 25, 2010: Jesus Makes Us All – The In Crowd

Sermon
The Rev. Dr. C. Steven Teague, Rector
Fourth Sunday after Easter

You’d think the Temple Hospitality Committee would roll out the red carpet for Jesus. He arrives for the Festival of Dedication, to be met at the door by an interrogation committee asking him pointed, hostile questions, not giving him a welcome. A joyous, thankful festival turns into an inquisition. Sometimes even God’s chosen act suspicious and mean-spirited. Does that surprise us?

March 21, 2010: A Time For Wasteful Extravagance

Sermon
The Rev. Dr. C. Steven Teague, Rector
Lent 5

Now why would Mary go and pour a year’s worth of wages on Jesus’ feet? That’s what a pound of nard would have cost of her. Judas does have a point. She could have sold it and funded the soup kitchen, stocked shelves at the food pantry, and clothed the poor in Jesus’ honor. After all, Jesus did say what we do for the least – we’re doing to him. Mary must have missed the lesson that day.

March 7, 2010: There’s Got to be a Reason Somewhere

Sermon
The Rev. Dr. C. Steven Teague, Rector
Third Sunday in Lent

A dear, long-time friend visited me the other week. He usually comes to Milwaukee in warmer seasons. This year he wanted to experience a Wisconsin winter. You see, he lives in the south – Richmond, Virginia, where snow rarely falls – until this year: three massive snowstorms of over 18 inches each time. I should have told him to save his money and stay there. Instead I said, “Tim, you people must not be living right. I don’t know what you’ve done. It’s Lent. If I were you I’d repent.”

February 28, 2010: Walks on Water – Not Eggshells

Sermon
The Rev. Dr. C. Steven Teague, Rector
Second Sunday in Lent

You’ve heard the old line: “Do you wake up grumpy in the mornings?” “No, I let him sleep.” Not so funny, if it’s true. Have you ever walked on eggshells trying to keep peace – not upset the applecart, please everybody? Wears you out, doesn’t it?

Some eggshell walking Pharisees come to warn Jesus, “Get away from here. Herod wants to kill you.” Actually, they probably are more concerned to protect their turf than Jesus’ well being. Jesus is proclaiming a new kingdom. That kingdom is coming right under Herod’s nose. A paranoid, fear-filled Herod would not be good for these Pharisees who need to appease him – keep peace at any cost. Herod has the power to take away freedom to practice their faith. They truly are in a spot. Can you hear all that crunching? That’s eggshells.

February 21, 2010: Having a Devil of a Time

Sermon
The Rev. Dr. C. Steven Teague, Rector
First Sunday in Lent

Someone periodically will ask me to state my views of the devil. Usually the tone of voice causes my alarms to go off – and I realize my views are only a stage for their lecture. “Well, actually, I don’t think much about the devil.” This is when they enlighten and warn me, but probably figures they got to me too late. My explanation is woefully deficient: “I need to work on my relationship with God first. Once I perfect that, I’ll move on to the devil – like you have.” As a seminary professor once said, God created human beings, gave us free will, and watched what we do with our free will, and decided He need to create the devil. We were doing just fine on our own.