Mother’s Day can be kind of a dilemma for the preacher. It doesn’t observe any religious festival, such as Christmas or Epiphany, Easter or Pentecost. It’s not marked on the liturgical calendar of the church. The common lectionary readings don’t revolve around the theme of mothers in any intentional or […]

That All Might Know Love

In the early spring of last year we were living in a little condo in Davenport, Iowa. It was early March and I was coming to the end of an extended interim ministry which had proven extremely challenging. After three years of dealing with a variety of stressful issues, I […]

A Change in the Garden

When I was a boy, my mother would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. “I don’t know, Mom,” I’d say. “I’m only eight years old.” “Someday,” she would reply, “you’ll have a burning desire to do something; and then you’ll know.” I grew up, went […]

Doing a Slow Burn

A few years ago, after an Easter worship service such as this, a parishioner of mine told me a joke and graciously suggested that if I found the right place to plug it in I was welcome to use it; if, that is, I thought it was appropriate. The thing […]

Sermon: Hanging Onto Easter

I love Palm Sunday. This special celebration brings back so many fond memories growing up at Grace Presbyterian Church; with all the children marching into the sanctuary to the hymn “All Glory, Laud and Honor,” waving our palm branches and shouting with the congregation, “Hosanna!” as we went. I remember […]


There is an old tale about the time – many, many centuries ago – when the Pope decided that a synagogue the Jews were using in Rome really belonged to the Vatican. So he told them to move. Rightly, there was an uproar from the members of the synagogue. So, […]

Sermon: Burying the Lead

Two guys saw a fellow driving a herd of sheep down the lane towards town, beating a stick and yelling at them to keep them moving. “I thought shepherds led their sheep,” one guy said to his friend. “Oh they do,” answered the friend. “He’s not a shepherd. That’s the […]

Sermon: The Shepherd’s Voice

In 2010 Commentary Magazine held a contest for the best scriptural exegesis. The contest’s winner was one Manny Sherberb, who included the following joke as part of his winning scholarship. “A young business man gets onto an airplane, settles into his seat and opens his laptop to get a little […]

Sermon: Justice Like Water

The kids (my niece and nephew) were still pretty little when Nickelodeon started their Nick at Nite programing in the early 1980s. And it was fun to watch Joseph and Emily get such enjoyment out of some of the same TV shows we used to watch when we were kids […]

Sermon: Nick at Nite