Sermon for Sunday, April 23, 2023 || Easter 3A || Luke 24:13-35
One of the most common questions people ask me in my role as priest is, “Where is God? Where is God in all of this?” I usually turn the question back on the other person and ask where they think God is. And this usually elicits a sigh or a raised eyebrow – they like had asked their doctor for a diagnosis and the doctor had said, “Well, what do you think you have?”
So, today, outside of any particular situation or context of a person asking me this question – Where is God? – I thought I’d share with you my answer. This answer may or may not speak to you, which is why I’m sharing it in a sermon and not a one-on-one conversation. Or maybe it will. First off, we need to talk about prepositions.
Continue reading “Where is God?” →
Sermon for Sunday, April 9, 2023 || Easter Sunday A || John 20:1-18
Good morning and welcome to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on this cold and sunny Easter Sunday. I’m Pastor Adam Thomas, and today we are celebrating our tenth Easter together in this special place on Pearl Street. During the season of Lent, I preached a four-part sermon series on the verse John 3:16, which culminated in this new interpretation of the most famous verse in the Bible:
For God so loved the entirety of Creation that God revealed God’s own self in the gift of God’s only Child: to draw us deeper into relationship with God, to find our place in God’s story of reconciliation, and to embrace the true life of God’s presence now and forever.
I’d like to spend today’s sermon offering a bit of a coda to the sermon series and speak again about God drawing us into deeper relationship. This makes sense to do on Easter Sunday because today is the day we celebrate God’s full and eternal embrace of Creation through the power of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Continue reading “Simon, Lazarus, Philip, Mary” →
Sermon for Sunday, April 17, 2022 || Easter Sunday C || John 20:1-18
Good morning, and welcome to St. Mark’s on this glorious Easter Sunday. Today is our first Easter on-site here on Pearl Street since 2019, and I am overjoyed to see your faces. If there’s anyone here today who doesn’t know me, I’m Pastor Adam Thomas. Today is my ninth Easter as the rector of this wonderful church, and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be than celebrating with you on this special feast of the Resurrection.
Continue reading “Five Easter Encounters” →
Sermon for Sunday, April 11, 2021 || Easter 2B || John 20:19-31
Today, I’d like to talk about peace. But first, a confession. I am a total, unabashed, and excitable nerd. Most of you know this about me. I know way too much about Star Wars, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and several other properties that live in nerd space. My first book, which became Digital Disciple, originally had the working title “God’s Nerd.” I even co-host a podcast called The Podcast for Nerdy Christians. I say all this to prepare you for what I am about to say next.
When I created the world of Sularil in which to set my first ever Dungeons and Dragons game, one of the things I really wanted to do was create a language native to the world. The very first new word I created for my Elvish language was the word, “Peace” – “Fyara” in Elvish. I wanted “Peace” to be the word of greeting for the elves in my world, and so the first person would say, “Fyara” (Peace) and the other person would respond, “Fyarana” (Deeper peace).
I did this because the elves in my world are peaceful people. I wanted the first and last word on their lips to be a word of peace. Indeed, this word is also the first word on the lips of the Risen Christ when he encounters the disciples locked in the room on the night of the resurrection. “Peace be with you,” he says (or in the Elvish translation of the Gospel, “Fyara”). Three times in today’s reading, he offers them peace. Jesus offers this greeting of peace to his fearful disciples, and like so much else in John’s Gospel, even something as simple as this greeting has layers of meaning.
Continue reading “Peace Be With You” →
Sermon for Sunday, April 4, 2021 || Easter Sunday B || Mark 16:1-8
That’s it then. That’s the end of the Gospel: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a cliffhanger to me, like the end of part one of a two-part television episode. My favorite TV show of all time, Star Trek: The Next Generation ended four of its seven seasons on cliffhangers to entice the viewer back in the fall. (That’s how television used to work, by the way.) The most memorable was the end of Season Three when Captain Picard was captured by the Borg, and the season ends when the Enterprise crew has developed a new weapon to take out the Borg cube and Commander Riker says, “Fire,” and then the picture goes dark and the words “To be continued…” flash across the screen. I had to wait all summer to see what happened when the Enterprise fired the weapon from the modified deflector dish! And I was seven-years-old. Waiting was not my strong suit.
Continue reading “The Cliffhanger” →
Sermon for Sunday, April 26, 2020 || Easter 3A || Luke 24:13-35
I’m not usually still in bed when the rest of my family wakes up. I often wake up some time between three and five in the morning, while everyone else gets up about 6:30. But this past Monday night, for some reason, I slept later than I normally do. I was still dreaming at quarter to six on Tuesday morning. Then, suddenly, the clock said 6:22. Leah and I were awake, waiting for the patter of little feet in footie-pajamas. Sure enough at 6:30 on the nose our five-and-a-half year old daughter came into our room and without preamble crawled into bed between us. The three of us cuddled for a while, in various configurations as dictated by our wiggly child. In one of the cuddling variations, a feeling of deep peace and soul joy came over me. For that particular moment in time, my body and my spirit were perfectly aligned to accept the love that God showers upon us through the gifts of each other. And the strange thing was that I noticed it while it was happening.
Continue reading “The Fire of Faith” →
Sermon for Sunday, April 15, 2018 || Easter 3B || LUKE 24:36b-48
There’s a great scene near the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where a tank drives off a cliff with Indy aboard. Henry Jones, Marcus Brody, and Sallah race to the cliff’s edge and watch in horror as the tank tumbles to a stop below. In the meantime, Indiana Jones is clambering up a vine nearby. He staggers to his feet and comes up behind them. Sean Connery, who plays Indy’s father, does a fantastic double take and then grabs Harrison Ford in a frantic embrace. “I thought I lost you, boy,” he says, and the hug extends past the point you would expect this stern and professorial father to embrace his child.
I imagine a similar scene taking place in the upper room when the Risen Christ appears in the midst of his disciples. They think he’s a ghost, but he assures them he’s real: “Touch me and see!” Certainly, some of them grabbed him in the same frantic embrace that Indy and his father share. “I thought I lost you, Lord.” Others are still skeptical, so Jesus eats a piece of fish in front of them to prove he really does have internal organs, especially an esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Continue reading “Radical Aliveness” →