The Parish Church of Connersville, Indiana

Sermons

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).

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The Second Sunday after Trinity 2024

None of this world-saving generosity, this new world building grace, happens because of our self-righteousness or who our parents are; we don’t get a seat at the great table because of our party affiliation or our money or our perfectly calibrated political opinions. It is those who know they need the feast who answer the master’s call: the men and women who run to the master’s table are the outcasts from a fallen world which rewards evil and idolatry—a broken world which rewards attitudes like, ‘I have to make more money than I will ever need, so I can't come to the feast,’ or ‘I just bought a new car, and I need to try it out, so I can’t come to the feast,’ or ‘I really need to focus on quality time with my family, so I can’t come to the feast.’ There is no shame in being a pilgrim and a stranger and an outcast in a world which hates charity and peace, and it is precisely those pilgrims—to the shock and horror of Jesus’ original audience—who will be processed into the seats of honor to feast and worship and love for all time.


Sermon Date: June 9, 2024

Passage: Luke 14

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The First Sunday after Trinity 2024

How so very different from this meaningless mantra ('Love is love') is St. John’s transcendent definition of love: ‘In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (1 John 4:9-10). Love, we find, is not a slogan but the activity of the God who is love. More than a feeling or even a promise, true love is the acted-out self-sacrifice of God for those whose blindness causes them to call everything they touch in their own personal darkness, ‘love.’ God the Father and God the Son reveal a higher love to humanity by loving us when we were at our most unlovable, by giving a broken humanity eternal life through the eternal love of God. Jesus Christ allowed an evil creation to murder Him with iron and wood because real love is not about what we say or think or feel; real love is only unveiled through the actions which reveal a complete trust and faith in divine love—in the God given love which transforms, ‘I will love you forever,’ from a ridiculous lie into something worth dying for. Without eternal life, all love is as temporary as the fragile frames in which we reside, but with the loving, unmerited gift of eternal life, we can love with freedom and abandon even as those we love are cut down by disease or violence or age.


Sermon Date: June 2, 2024

Passage: 1 John 4

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Trinity Sunday 2024

It is here that we begin to understand why St. John has included this debate in His Gospel, for this dialogue between a Jewish ruler and God the Son is central to the mission of John’s Gospel, the incarnation event itself, and nothing less than everything that has ever happened. Jesus states, ‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit’ (St. John 3:8). We see the work of the wind, we can measure it and analyze it, but anyone whose ever tracked a tornado knows that even with all of our technological might, we cannot know what the wind will do. The mystery of the wind, another word with a double meaning in Greek and Hebrew (spirit), is an analogy for the too big to comprehend way in which all reality is an expression of the Trinity revealing Itself to us. It is a declaration that a benevolent Godhead is moving creation itself to draw and save a new humanity. Poor Nicodemus, and us along with Him, has touched, for a moment, the very mystery of the universe, and all he can say is, ‘How can these things be?’ (St. John 3:9). Nicodemus has gone from proud representative of his people to shamefully defeated supplicant. Momentarily peering into the divine has broken this man who thought he was divinity’s master.


Sermon Date: May 26, 2024

Passage: John 3

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Whitsunday 2024

Do we really want a formless, shapeless love whose only rule is, ‘Do what feels right?’ What if our feelings and emotions and desires themselves are infected by the same poisonous air which prepares and nurtures people to commit whatever acts of evil we don’t like? Isn’t that a much more reasonable assessment of human performance through the ages than the adult fairy tale which begins with the heedless following of our desires and ends with a page reading, ‘And they lived happily ever after?’ The Son of God knows us, and He knows only too well our epic, centuries long failure to truly love God and one another, and so He sets down a simple definition of love which should drive us to our knees in repentance and supplication and hope. We learn here that love is not defined by the unreliable whirlpool of our emotions or the semi-regular sexual revolutions of the bored and privileged; no, any real understanding of love must center on real action directed toward the God who is Love. That is tremendously good news; love is not some unfeeling force as indifferent to us as a hurricane or a tornado; rather, true love is personal because love is an attribute of the personal God. God’s love, the love we are called to share in through our sacrifice and obedience to His will, becomes about so much more than desire or pleasure or security—real love is always about salvation, always about re-directing the confused and lost human soul back toward the true, the good, and the beautiful.


Sermon Date: May 19, 2024

Passage: St. John 14

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The Sunday after Ascension Day 2024

It is in Christ that we can burn down the pagan groves in our heart and cut down the idols poisoning our souls. It is in Christ that we bring the sacrifice of our souls and bodies to lay before the One who sacrificed everything so that we and our children will live. It is in Christ that we spiritually feast upon the Body and Blood of the great sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Our perfect union with the everlasting temple allows us to rejoice with our sons and daughters before the Lord our God secure in the knowledge that our salvation is the product of thousands and thousands of years of careful preparation and hard promises kept. Our perfect union with Christ has made the Church of God unstoppable in her conquest of the hearts and minds of God’s elect.


Sermon Date: May 12, 2024

Passage: Deuteronomy 12

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The Fifth Sunday after Easter 2024

Could God have just placed them in the promised land? Yes, of course, but the value of the journey derives from how it shapes and forms a person to be fit for the destination. It was fitting for the Israelites to be humbled and proved because there was no better way to be prepared for the promises which awaited them. Of course, the same is true for we who are their children, for as Paul makes clear, the journey of the people of God from Egypt to Canaan was a living illustration of our journey from the slavery of sin and death to the perfect freedom of the New Heaven and New Earth. We are being formed and shaped by the good and evil we encounter in this life and all of it will be applied by God to prepare us for the grand work of eternity. We must remember that eternity is not going to be spent sitting around on our backsides playing harps on clouds; no, we will need to be the sons and daughters of God for which the creation has been longing since Adam and Eve betrayed their great calling. We will need to take dominion as only God’s image bearers can. The easy way would have been to stab that lying serpent in the throat; the hard way will require us to follow Christ through the valley of the shadow of death until He puts evil down like the sun-crazed jackal it is.


Sermon Date: May 5, 2024

Passage: Deuteronomy 8

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The Fourth Sunday after Easter 2024

In fact, it is this supreme gift of our regeneration which shines brighter than any star. For we were not made for the stars; the stars were made for us. And the God who made them, the God who never changes, the God who always keeps His promises, has remade His reborn children of grace into vessels fit to explore and enjoy the heavens. God displays the utter goodness of His will in saving undeserving creatures who will fill the new Heaven and new Earth, the new Mars and the new Alpha Centauri. The closer the Word of truth is to our hearts, the closer we are to these bright, undiscovered countries. The Resurrected Son of God has already shown that death itself is not strong enough to stop the light, not strong enough to contain the good and perfect gift of everlasting life. We will need it, for you and I have so much to do, so much to accomplish on the bright shores of eternity. We will build and create and love and feast surrounded by the fruit born of surviving even the darkest moments of this fallen world’s rebellion. We are the fruit of His harvest and glory beckons.


Sermon Date: April 28, 2024

Passage: James 1

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The Third Sunday after Easter 2024

To describe this whole process, Jesus uses the simple but powerful analogy of a woman giving birth: a woman experiencing the terrible danger and pain which serves as a living link back to the fall of man. Built into this example is the inescapable fact of the human condition: all life is sorrow. After all, even our happiest moments on earth come to us tinged in the darkness of our future destruction. Jesus saves this world by embracing suffering along with us and conquering it with the love that perseveres through pain and abandonment. Just as a mother perseveres in the midst of toil to bring a new life into the world, Christ suffers the worst the world can throw at Him, and rises from His empty tomb as the new humanity all this suffering was pointing us towards. His new manhood—a humanity no longer plagued by pain and death and sorrow—ushers in a new era of joy into the world because, through the Holy Spirit, we too can embrace the life of real goodness humanity was created to embody. We too can begin to live our lives of resurrection glory because sorrow has been given a new meaning—we can gaze upon our bloodied Savior, our suffering savior, and know that His story has become our own.


Sermon Date: April 21, 2024

Passage: St. John 16

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The First Sunday after Easter 2024

And it is what comes out of this faith that is so amazing. If we do trust Christ completely, which only makes sense given the reality of the resurrection, then we are free to love God and man without the terrible burden of hoping and praying that our relatively minor contributions must be enough to save ourselves or the world. We don’t have to conquer nature or bend men to our wills or win every political battle or be on the right side of history (whatever that actually means). Jesus has already overcome the world and its darkness; history is His story, so we are free to treasure a peace the world will never understand and prepare for a new life of creation and discovery. We can be happy warriors rather than half-defeated losers who reek of desperation.


Sermon Date: April 9, 2024

Passage: 1 St. John 5

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Easter Day 2024

If you are a baptized Christian, a member of the covenant, and empowered by God the Holy Ghost to remember His commandments and do them, then you are not lost but found; you are not a rebel or a stranger; you are a wounded son or daughter being carried to heaven in the arms of the shepherd who will always leave the ninety and nine to find you. You are complete, whole, even as this awful world rips pieces off you until there is nothing left to take. For in the end, our bodies will betray us as the great, final lesson revealing how much we aren’t God, how much we need God, but the people of God need not fear it, for the Holy Ghost has already reached down to us in the waters of baptism and united us to our resurrected brother and Lord. This spiritual resurrection has already occurred in us, and we are living in its magnificent, unfolding reality. Sin is no longer our master, but a pathetic, wounded tyrant and Christ has given us the blade to finish the job. Death is no longer to be feared, for we are tethered to heaven and the bodily resurrection to come by our unbreakable link to the victorious God/Man. Life is no longer a slow-motion tragedy numbed by drugs, legal and otherwise, but rather a daily march towards holiness, towards the wonder and glory humanity was always meant to embody.


Sermon Date: April 1, 2024

Passage: Colossians 3