Sermon for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost – September 1, 2019 / Year C

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Did you miss coming to St. Thomas’s on Sunday? If you were able to attend, did you wish to listen to the sermon again? Many of us were away for the Labor Day weekend. You may see the sermon for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost – September 1, 2019 / Year C on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC3y6ZZg8Wo

Other sermons for Liturgical Year 2018-19, Year C, are available.

Sermon for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost – November 12, 2017/Year A

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Here are some lyrics from a Christian camp song or vacation Bible school song very loosely based on the gospel lesson this morning: “Give me oil for my lamp keep me burning/give me oil for my lamp I pray/give me oil for my lamp keep me burning/keep me burning til the break of day.” I cannot remember when I first learned this song and it meant nothing really—well, I guess just another happy, clappy song to have fun singing with my peers and counselors.

Most songs of this genre have fairly shaky theology, and this one certainly misses the main point of Jesus’ parable. But if you step outside the world of the parable for a moment and think about what the lyrics mean for us, there is an important message for our petitionary prayers.

See The Reverend Elizabeth Masterson’s sermon for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost – November 12, 2017/Year A or view the video from Facebook.

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Sermon for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost & Completion of Mutual Ministry between St. Thomas’s Parish & the Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.

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“What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning …

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“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe … I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”

I cannot recall how often this passage from First Corinthians has been part of my life, my serving, my teaching, and my preaching. I simply know it has been an essential part of my life, and I pray it has been evident through me many, many times in our life together. You see, for me  it is the hallmark and touchstone for living the faith that Jesus gives us to live forward as MOVERS in the Jesus Movement. It is the hallmark and touchstone for lives shared in mutual ministry, together. It is the hallmark and touchstone that I pray that has been our mutual ministry these nine years at St. Thomas’s.

See The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s Sermon for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost & Completion of Mutual Ministry between St. Thomas’s Parish & the Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr. in its entirety.

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Sermon for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost – October 22, 2017

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Show me the money!! I am guessing most everyone born before 2000 is familiar with this famous line. Of course, it is from that classic event of our time – the annual stewardship campaign! Not really, although some campaigns have taken on this strident slogan much too often for my experience of ministry.

Show me the money is actually the classic and most often quoted line from the movie Jerry McGuire featuring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Rene Zellwegger, and other notable stars of the day. The premise of this movie was about a hot-shot sports agent who falls from favor in a larger agency and loses his job. He presses on independently, striving to represent Gooding Jr. who is about to enter the free agent market. He meets Zellwegger and her young son, falls in love and finds his anchor of humanity and morality again. The “gods” they chase and worship are, of course, football. Well, some things just do not change all that much it seems.

Show me the money!! In Matthew’s Gospel, the controversy conversations between Jesus and the Pharisees continue around the issue of living in the world and being faithful to God’s Word and work in the world as well. As I prayed these words, I was reminded of another movie Pay It Forward. A lovely movie about a young boy who took on a teacher’s challenge by helping one person, and then requesting that the person pay it forward by helping at least three other people.

It seems to me that for God and Christ Jesus, our faithful living calls us to live out the mind and heart of show me the faith … show all the Love!

See The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s sermon for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost – October 22, 2017/Year A in its entirety.

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Sermon for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost – October 8, 2017/Year A

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We are experiencing a few “transitions” in our parish family life. Today there is the transition INTO the family of Christ’s body with a baptism. Also today there will be the transitions FROM baptismal promises lived FOR US to baptismal promises lived BY US as we admit the 2018 Confirmation Class into their journey of a “claimed faith” ahead. And yes, there is that “other” transition AWAY we experience as I complete my ministry serving with you at the end of this month.

All these “transitions” lead me to the words we hear of scripture this day, and a story. The words from Paul to the church in Philippi – “Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”

See The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s Sermon for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost – October 8, 2017/Year A in its entirety.

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Sermon for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

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That’s not fair!!! The echo of our childhood ways when we believed that anything done any other way than what we wanted was done against me! That’s not fair!!! Gratefully we enter our adult years and, as St. Paul commends, “out of our childish ways,” we do not embrace this personal affront any longer … well, not that often … okay, perhaps sometimes but not all the time!

That’s not fair!!! It seems this hue and cry is embraced at this time of year by many young and old as we cheer our favorite college and professional football teams. It seems that no matter what the “zebras” do, it is never right, not for MY TEAM anyhow.

That’s not fair!!! We seem to be in a time and cycle of life where not taking responsibility for OUR actions, or inactions, is the predominant behavior du jour. When “That’s not fair” is my favorite fight song, then EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING that is done is done against me.

That’s not fair!!! In our faith journey with Jesus, we know what Jesus would do in response to the inequalities of life on life’s terms. So the question of Jesus to us this day … what will you do about it with me?

That’s not fair!!! This is not a new fight song. It is as old as our journey of faith since the beginning!

See The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s sermon for Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost – October 1, 2017/Year A.

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Sermon for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost and 175th Anniversary of St. Thomas’s Parish

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ST. THOMAS’S!!! We celebrate 175 years young this year! You do not look a day over … I will take M. C. Hammer’s advice here and say “don’t touch this!” There are many touchstones of this day that are important to know, to remember, so that we may live them forward.

“Come to God, a living stone … precious in God’s sight, and  like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood … acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

See the The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s Sermon for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost and 175th Anniversary of St. Thomas’s Parish in its entirety.

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Sermon for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost – September 10, 2017Year A

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“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law … Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”

There seems to be a widening chasm in our world and society that is simply becoming more evident and more insidious each passing day. We have The Law standing on the precipice of one mountain, projecting out its fear of the “other” in retribution and rejection. We have Love standing in the valley, inviting The Law to come and reason with it. The Law stands firm, imperious in its belief that it is right because it is written!

Sadly over history, this has been embraced by some as the WHOLE meaning of the Christian faith. Our purpose is to monitor and police society on its morality instead of being a companion and life bearer of Divine Love. If you have not read the  Nashville Statement produced by 150 evangelical Christian pastors, I encourage you to do so. You will read the meaning of what I am saying this day.

“What’s Love got to do with it” plaintively sang Tina Turner. Jesus says EVERYTHING! Love has EVERYTHING to do in our call to be lawfully loving.

See the entity of The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s Sermon for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost – September 10, 2017Year A.

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