sermons & Illuminations

"The voice of God rings through the ages." Rev. Kelly Kirby

"We should consider what kind of Child of God we are collectively, as humanity."
Rev. Benjamin Hart

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All are videos or mp3 audio files, unless the link says “Text” or “PDF."

Read the Illuminations

Illuminations on the Lectionary readings for July 10, 2022 (Pentecost 5C)

First Reading (Track One): Amos 7:7-17
Love God and love our neighbors. We hear echoes of this great commandment in all of Sunday’s readings, leading up to Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan as told by Luke. In our Track One first reading, we meet Amos, a cranky prophet who prophesies to Amaziah and Jeroboam, the high priest and king of Israel. Amos warns them that God is going to lay waste to this land that God once protected. These unwilling leaders tell Amos to go back home to Judah and prophecy there, but Amos won’t stop insisting that Israel has failed to be righteous. Just as a priest and a Levite fail to help the injured man on the road to Jericho in this day’s Gospel, the people of Israel in Amos’ time failed to love their neighbors as themselves.

First Reading (Track Two): Deuteronomy 30:9-14
Our Track Two first reading reminds us of the deep history and tradition of the commandment to love God with all our hearts and with all our souls. The selected verses from Deuteronomy reminded Israel that God takes delight in assuring their prosperity because they turn to God “with all your heart and with all your soul.” These are the very words with which the lawyer in this week’s Gospel would respond to Jesus’ invitation to describe the law. Just as Jesus taught the parable of the Good Samaritan, the most basic summary of the law – Torah – is to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Psalm (Track One): 
Psalm 82
In verses that align with the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel, the Psalmist sings of a God who presides over all nations. God reminds us of the law’s basic command: “Save the weak and the orphan; defend the humble and needy. Rescue the weak and the poor; deliver them from the power of the wicked.”

Psalm (Track Two):  Psalm 25:1-9
In this Psalm we lift up our souls and place our trust in God, asking for
protection against our enemies and those who would humiliate us. This may seem far afield from the Good Samaritan’s action, but the Psalm soon turns, recalling God’s everlasting compassion and steadfast love. As God guides the humble and shows the lowly God’s way, so are we called to keep God’s covenant to love our neighbors as the Samaritan did.

Second Reading: Colossians 1:1-14
This week we begin the letter to the Colossians, members of a church
community in Colossae in Asia Minor (now Turkey), probably written by a later follower in Paul’s name. In these opening verses, the writer greets the Colossians with hopeful, prayerful words: He prays for them constantly. He is glad that their new faith is bearing fruit. He prays that they will grow in good works and knowledge of God, that they will gain strength, and that they will be prepared to endure whatever comes their way thanks to their love of Christ.

Gospel: Luke 10:25-37
Imagine the parable of the Good Samaritan from a new perspective: Put yourself in the place of the injured person on the side of the road. You are injured, bleeding, scared. Then someone approaches you … a person you would normally cross the street to avoid. How do you feel? And then they tenderly nurse your wounds and take you for help at their expense. How would you feel? How would this experience change you? That’s Jesus’ point here. Remember the context too: Jesus tells this parable as an answer to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” When Jesus utters Torah’s command to love our neighbor, he means to move everyone: Not just the friend who looks and thinks and acts like us, but those who are different; even those we consider enemies.

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St. Matthew's Episcopal is following Track One in 2022.
Good Samaritan (1844), oil painting on canvas by Emil Andersen (1817-1845). Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Dimensions of Faith Lectures

Dimensions of Faith invites thinkers and writers to explore the interface of religion and culture, as we continue as a parish to challenge our minds and renew our spirits.

Upcoming Speakers:
John Philip Newell (Sunday, October 23, 2022)

Previous Speakers Include:
Nadia Bolz-Weber / Dr. Lewis Brogdon / Sarah Bessey / Steve Crump Ruby Sales / Dr. Amy-Jill Levine / Marcus Borg / Sara Miles
Robert Putnam / John Dominic Crossan / Brian McLaren / Scott Gunn