Sermons

The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

Yes, you *were* on the mountain - remembering that God showed up, even in some 'little' ways. Sermon on The Feast of the Transfiguration, Sunday 6 August 2017

By: The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Feast of the Transfiguration is a wonderful story about how God shows up.  But it's a "little story," Fr. Greg said, not a big story.  It's not like Christmas or Easter, not like Pentecost or Ascension.  Those stories are big stories -- undeniable, transformative, unmistakable.  Whatever happened on that night Jesus brough Peter, James and John up that hill was something of a mystery, and indeed the moment slipped away just as quickly as it was getting started.  Instead of making this story about us -- as Fr. Greg confesses, that's been his go-to Transfiguration sermon in the past -- we would do well to let this story be about God, just like these parables we've enjoyed the past three weeks in the lectionary.  So what does the Transfiguration tell us about God?  Three things:  (1) God shows up; (2) God shows up in the 'little ways'; and (3) You may not remember that God showed up until you've come down from the mountaintop experience, just like the disciples of old.  You *were* on that "mountain" and you've likely been there more than you realize.  To remember that moment, even if it was merely a small and 'little' encounter, is what it means to be a faithful disciple of the Risen Lord!

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The Feast of the Transfiguration    Sermon from Sunday, 6 August 2017

  • Exodus 34:29-35
  • Psalm 99:5-9
  • Luke 9:28-36

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Remember that you are Wheat (though set amongst some nasty weeds!) Sermon from Sunday, 23 July 2017

By: The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Jesus' parable of the weeds and the wheat (Mt. 13:24-30,36-43) is not only a challenge for those who like to keep their lives neat and well-organized -- no matter what you do, the story goes, sometimes there are weeds in your neat and tidy field of wheat -- but it's also an invitation to live, truly live as Christ has called us and God has created us.  Christian spirituality is not just about feeling good and feeling God's presence when life is going well and everything is happy and pleasant.  Actually, Christian spirituality is kind of like being a stalk of wheat in a field of weeds.  Initially, the seed of wheat and the seed of this weed -- maybe the wheat grass called 'darnel', an ancient invasive weed that in its seed form and in its early stages looks a lot like wheat -- look the same, act the same, appear to be the very same.  But there's one big difference, apparently:  God has set it up so that the wheat grows taller, stronger, thicker, firmer, and has a larger head of fruit when fully grown.  It takes a lot of discipline and determination to flourish as that stalk of wheat, certainly when surrounded by the potentially invasive and even harmful species called 'darnel,' but that's what God has designed us, created us to do.  God has created us, and Christ has called us to grow strong, tall, and flourish with great bountiful fruit.  And yet sometimes we realize this reality in the hard times, the dark times, the difficult times.  Perhaps that's what it means, Fr. Greg says, to be a stalk of wheat in a world filled up with weeds.    

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Sermon from Sunday, 23 July 2017   Proper 11a

  • Genesis 28:10-19a
  • Psalm 139: 1-11, 22-23
  • Matthew 13:24-30,36-43

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When the 'Sower' story isn't so easy! Sermon from Sunday, 16 July 2017

By: The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

Sunday, July 16, 2017

"A confession and a challenge," was the way Fr. Greg opened the sermon from Sunday, July 16.  He had noticed earlier in the week that the gospel lesson was the very famous and well-trod 'Parable of the Sower,' and he thought, in his words, "I've got this."  But later in the week as he was preparing the sermon he quickly realized this is a tricky story, a deeper tale, a really downright challenging story.  Just when you think you might understand one of Jesus' stories -- which the gospel authors tell us are called "parables" -- that's when you get into trouble.  The Parable of the Sower might not be about becoming 'good soil' -- for how does soil become good (or bad) of its own power and might?  The Parable of the Sower might be about God, and about God's extravagant goodness and graciousness and love.  Indeed, all of these parables over the next several weeks of the lectionary might be only and ultimately about God.  And, like the stories Jesus told, maybe we, his followers should also be only and ultimately about God -- seeking him, following him, journeying toward him, finding others along the way to walk with us, too.  That, then, is the challenge:  Find a person in the next several weeks, Fr. Greg said, and talk to them only and ultimately about God.  Maybe that's what the world is most hungry for, after all.

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Sermon from Sunday, 16 July 2017   Proper 10a

  • Genesis 25:19-34
  • Psalm 119:105-112
  • Matthew 13:1-9,18-23

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Easy Yokes?! Sermon from Sunday, 9 July 2017

By: The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

Sunday, July 9, 2017

It may sound like a reassuring, wonderful image -- Jesus' offer in the gospel that we take on his yoke, for "my yoke is easy and my burden is light," he said.  But is it so calming?  After all, a yoke is a farming instrument designed to keep beasts of burden in line, connected one to another.  Sure, it helps lessen the load but it's a symbol of being contained, locked-in, few choices but to move forward down the field's path.  And yet maybe that is a symbol of peace.  Maybe having our choices restricted, contained, narrowed and focused on God through his Son, Jesus, is the gateway to life.  Fr. Greg reflets on "yokes" in today's sermon, and offers a story in which he, too, learned the gift, the joy, the real peace that comes from being connected and brought closer to God.

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Sunday, 9 July 2017   Proper 9a

  • Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
  • Psalm 45: 11-18
  • Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

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Surprise! A Sermon around Independence Day | Sunday, 2 July 2017

By: The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2 is not officially America's Independence Day, but John Adams thought it should've been -- that's what he wrote home to his wife, Abigail, in the summer of 1776.  Well, some things had to develop in Philadelphia and it wasn't until July 4 that the Continental Congress actually adopted Jefferson's now-famous "Declaration" -- and, thus, the 4th of July, not the 2nd is our big anniversary festival.  Surprise!  In fact, Fr. Greg talked about the element of surprise in today's sermon.  Surprises, twists, plot developments not only make for good stories, but it's also a running theme throughout the story of scripture.  God, himself, works through surprises in scripture.  God also works through the surprises in our lives, too, and perhaps we should be more intent to look into life's invariable twists and turns to find nothing less than the hand of God.

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Sunday, 2 July 2017  Proper 8a

  • Genesis 22:1-14

  • Psalm 13

  • Matthew 10:40-42 

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