The Parish Church of Connersville, Indiana


How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:14-17).

The Second Sunday in Lent 2024

Her reply to Jesus should be familiar to us all, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’  In the ancient world, calling oneself a dog was not flattering or cute. This phrase is one of humility and abasement, and as she kneels before the God who has humbled and abased Himself by becoming one of us, whose future holds the humiliation of the cross, our Lord recognizes one of His own. He sees in her reply the faith which can only come from the Holy Ghost. A faith Jesus describes as a ‘mega’ faith. And so, our Lord gives her the scraps from His table; He heals her daughter. And mind you, these are scraps, for just as the glorious medicine of immortality we will experience at each Lord’s Supper is only a foretaste of the endless wedding feast to come, so too is this miraculous healing merely a paltry morsel compared to the endless restoration and reconciliation of the new life to come. The healing Jesus provides for this faithful woman points to a future in which Gentiles from every tribe will be welcomed into the people of God to receive a permanent healing.  Jesus recognizes, just as He did with the centurion, that this woman is a harbinger of that future glory.

Sermon Date: February 25, 2024

Passage: St. Matthew 18

The First Sunday in Lent 2024

We see in the seeming weakness of Christ a strength which confounds us, a strength which cares nothing about itself, a strength which can only be showed by God stripped of His rightful glory, standing before His first rebellious creature. This strength, of course, appears to be madness to the world, but that is because the world has placed its faith in the transitory dreams of dying men. Christ does not have this deficiency; Christ has nothing in the wilderness but His faith in the promises of His Heavenly Father, and when everything is stripped away from us that is all any of us really have too. I ask, what of our possessions will we carry with us when we go one last time to the hospital? What satiated desire or treasured lust will comfort us when the walls we have built around ourselves come down and the wilderness finally finds us?

Sermon Date: February 18, 2024

Passage: Matthew 4

Quinquagesima 2024

But, of course, death is not the end. We do not love as Christ has loved for no reason; we do not sacrifice ourselves every day for no purpose. This sacrificial love is not masochistic or absurd; we love in the way Christ loves because we will one day live in the way Christ lives. Our resurrected king is Himself the beginning of the new creation for which we daily pray, and the language of that new land will be the very love we read about today. Just as Paul can tell us to live without fear of death because Christ’s resurrection proves death can be defeated, so too does Christ’s resurrection prove that we can freely live lives devoted to God’s love. We no longer have to be enslaved by the myths and superstitions floating around our lost and troubled land; we can be free from those lies and daily prepare ourselves for the new heaven and earth which awaits us. It is that new earth which will soon be our reality, and we will wonder how we ever lived without the love that unites and frees and gives forever. In humanity’s best moments, we can sense that this promised country lies just across the horizon; in our best moments, we can feel God’s love drawing us to its immaculate shores. Why would we settle for less?

Sermon Date: February 11, 2024

Passage: 1 Corinthians 13

The Third Sunday after the Epiphany 2024

I don’t care who we are, there will be a part of this New Covenant way of life against which every fiber of our being will scream at us to resist, and that is how we will know for what we need to pray and fast for to beseech divine assistance. We will not conquer our particular evil on our own any more than fallen humanity was able to conquer death on its own. Here, we might be tempted to say, ‘Ok pastor, you want me to follow in Christ’s footsteps, to take up my cross, to bless my persecutors, to live in harmony, and intimately associate with the people I have every right to hate, but wasn’t Christ divine? I’m not divine, so won’t I be graded on a curve?’ The short answer is, ‘No.’ We won’t be graded on a curve because that’s not how any of this works. Our salvation is not a negotiation; it is a surrender. Part of ending our suicidal rebellion is submitting to a way of life which will seem absolutely crazy to a world obsessed with comfort and power and pleasure. Part of cutting ties with the fading hopes of this fallen world is for us to pray that the Holy Spirit do the impossible in our lives—that He would take the weak and sinful people we are and daily transform us into the kind of people who will live out Romans 12 without giving a damn about the consequences. In short, that the Holy Spirit would make us Christians actually represent that name in a way our undefeated Savior would recognize. If that isn’t our daily quest, we should stop calling ourselves Christians; if that isn’t why we get up every day, we should stop taking our Lord’s name in vain.

Sermon Date: January 21, 2024

Passage: Romans 12

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany 2024

St. Paul tells us to ‘Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality’ (Romans 12:9-13). Until verse 9 of chapter 12, ἀγάπη—the word Paul uses to describe genuine, sacrificial love—had always been used to describe the divine love, publicly revealed in the Son’s sacrifice of Himself for the sins of the world, but here (in the already in-breaking new world Christ’s resurrection made a sure reality) Paul reveals that a Christian’s love for others will be infused with a divine character. Our love, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will be painful as we shed layer after layer of the unnecessary trappings of this fallen world—as we focus our lives on uttering the unconditional, ‘YES,’ to all that Christ asks of us. Yes, I will be my brother’s keeper. Yes, I will zealously seek out good works for the kingdom of God. Yes, I will rejoice in the face of the violent and seductive tribulations of the fallen world. Yes, I will pray like I’m before the throne room of the Almighty God. Yes, I will open the home Christ gave me to bring the lost into His kingdom. Yes, I will do all of that and more because I am ready to be so fervent in thy Spirit that I burn on His altar as a sign and symbol to all men that God is on the march and wrath and love are coming with Him. We will be scarred in this world if we are Christ’s, but we can take it if the measure of our strength is God and not man.

Sermon Date: January 16, 2024

Passage: Romans 12

The First Sunday after Epiphany 2024

Here is why Christian ethics is so much more than a list of things to do or not do, so God won’t be mad at us. We are living in the merciful age foretold by the prophets. As we read in Isaiah, ‘Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising’ (Isaiah 60:1-3). We are living in the light of this prophecy, and so our lives are governed by something bigger than the moral calculations of politicians or celebrities, blind professors or internet keyboard warriors; none of these victims of our ever-changing age are allowed to have sway over a living sacrifice. How could they? I am not my own. What about my anger or disordered sexual feelings, aren’t these just manifestations of who I really am? No, because I am not my own. What about my past sins and the shame I carry from all those I have hurt with my terrible selfishness, isn’t that who I really am? No, because I am not my own. It is God’s love which makes a dead man alive: a son of wrath into a son of grace. We are more than we could ever be without Him, for without Him we will live as empty, unloving imitations of the glorious, fully-realized humanity which is every Christ follower’s destiny.

Sermon Date: January 7, 2024

Passage: Romans 12

The First Sunday after Christmas 2023

Joseph had to wait, like the rest of us, for the one sacrifice once offered by which his adopted son would give all the redeemed their freedom from slavery and their adoption by the heavenly Father. But Joseph also demonstrates that the grace of God is never idle and that God created men for something better than slavery. Almost all we know about Joseph is that he was a just man, a decent man, who refused to be a slave and who put his trust in the child born of Mary. If as much can be said of us, then we too shall never be slaves. We shall have understood the true meaning of Christmas, and we shall be the adopted sons and daughters of God forever.

Sermon Date: December 31, 2023

Passage: Galatians 4; Matthew 1

Christmas Day 2023

We are invited this morning to dwell in the gospel of new creation. Too often, Christmas propels our minds to the past—whether in memory of long-ago celebrations or lost loved ones or even through an idealized picture of God’s first breath as a man. What we must not lose in the warm glow of nostalgia is the pulsating heart of this holy day: God is with us. I beg you, pause for a moment and recognize just how much this historical reality makes everything new and beautiful. The race of man is no longer defined by his greed or pettiness, violence or shame; no, humanity has been everlastingly united to the divine being who is love. The very nature of being human has been irreversibly transformed into a determined quest to make our hearts and souls and minds match this reality which now binds mankind to the restoration of the universe and the perfect peace of being God’s sons and daughters.

Sermon Date: December 25, 2023

Passage: John 1

The Third Sunday in Advent 2023

But, the mercy does not just end there. Just as we see the prophecies regarding God’s loving mercy already begin to break into creation through the healing and mercy of God the Son, we also see the beginning of God’s judgment of sin break into creation through the death of God the Son. It isn’t just that Jesus postpones the righteous wrath of God; no, Jesus walks in front of the punishment we all deserve and inaugurates a season of mercy through the fulfilled covenant in His blood. Jesus takes the violent, destructive madness of a rebellious humanity and uses it to create the new life necessary to live forever in His kingdom. This ultimate sacrifice of the Messiah is the actual liberation from sin and death St. John needs because it makes all the violence and prisons of this fallen world nothing more than temporary hardships for a people whose eternal glory can never be silenced by a gun or contained by prison walls. Herod’s thugs will eventually behead John the Baptist, but it will be the victorious Savior who will reach down into the pit of the dead and bring him up to heaven to prepare and make ready for the coming fiery justice St. John rightly and boldly proclaimed before the powerful and rebellious sons of the devil.

Sermon Date: December 17, 2023

Passage: St. Mathew 11

The Second Sunday in Advent 2023

Again, St. Paul writes, ‘For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account’ (Hebrews 4:12-13). What do we learn from these two passages on our Holy Spirit inspired Scriptures? Well, we learn the Bible is not a source for carefully selected motivational material or an echo chamber for any earthly tribe or political party’s ideology; no, it is a weapon designed by God to cut through the lies and deceptions we pile on ourselves. Reading or hearing the Word of God should be a painful experience because we will again and again come into contact with the Holy God who is calling us to amputate from our hearts those idols our neighbors and families and enemies tell us we must love. Every time we come to God’s Word, we meet the same Lord who looks at prostitutes and tax collectors and fishermen and apostles and doctors and priests and says, ‘Leave everything and follow me.’ It should be terrifying when our Creator looks at us, naked and exposed, and says those words, and so, I don’t blame anyone who attacks or hides from the Word of God; I pity them, and I pray for them, but I understand how ignorance of God’s Will might bring a certain kind of cheap and comfortable bliss. Human history is the story of fallen men trying to find and keep this false heaven until it is inevitably smashed by confusion and fear, but the preservation of ignorant bliss can be a powerful motivation for closing our eyes to the Lord who says we must feel pain to understand hope.

Sermon Date: December 10, 2023

Passage: Romans 15