Audio of Recent Sermons

December 2, 2018 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“Here is the great truth that waits for us in Advent. It is the realization, on the deepest level, that it is not about what we do.  No matter how hard we work for the perfect Christmas, or how much stuff we buy, it is not what we do that makes Christmas matter.  And, no matter how hard we strive for a better world, we cannot achieve a better world by our own strife.  Advent is about the fact that we are not enough, but that God is more than enough; that God is more than we could ask or imagine.  There is so much relief in this truth; so much grace, and peace, and real joy.”

November 11, 2018 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“So while we recognize the vulnerable position in society of these widows in our story, we also have to admire their strength, determination, generosity and faithfulness to God despite their circumstance…One of the themes of the Scriptures, one of the principles of the Kingdom of God that we learn about and see played out time and again in the Gospel is that God uses the vulnerable to do mighty things; that God always lifts up the lowly.

 

November 4, 2018 – The Sunday after All Saints – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“The Christian response to a culture of death, then, is to not flinch away from it.  To not hide from it, or pretend that it isn’t real, but at the same to hold within our hearts, as the central guiding principle of our lives, a core hope and trust that God’s love overcomes death. That God has not abandoned us to the Pit.  That God will redeem, and renew, and restore all things.  That even now, despite appearances to the contrary God is making all things new.” 

October 14, 2018 – Year B, Proper 23 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“But over and over, we and the disciples are reminded that the Kingdom of God does not work the way we think it should.  We are reminded that we cannot own the Kingdom of God, it is not a commodity to possess, or an asset to control.  Unlike the world’s economies, governments, or technological advancements, the kingdom of God cannot be analyzed, taken apart, fixed, hacked, or bought into.  And if the wealthy, righteous, law observant man can’t get in, who can?”

 October 7, 2018 – The Feast of St. Faith (Proper 22) – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“Jesus became lower than the angels, that is Jesus en-fleshed himself and became human.  The glory of his godliness was replaced by suffering and death, that he might taste death on behalf of us all.  It was fitting, that Jesus did this, and not an angel, because Jesus is the one through whom all things came into being, and through who all things exist, and so only Jesus could meet humanity it is suffering and its sin, join humanity its predicament, and transform that very humanity through his life, death, and resurrection.  God answers human suffering & mortality by joining into it with us.” 

May 20, 2018 – The Feast of Pentecost – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“Like the first apostles, we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach the Good News of Jesus—the message of God’s self-sacrificing, invincible, unimaginable love for all of us.  We are called and empowered to show the world a different way, a way marked by love, justice, and peace.”

April 22, 2018 – The 4th Sunday of Easter – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“The life of the Good Shepherd a life of tenacity, grit, and staying power.  When hired hands run away in the face of danger, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, stays, and lays down his life for his sheep.  In his death, Jesus’ disciples were tempted to believe that he had finally and completely abandoned them, but that was not the case.  Death could separate Jesus from his sheep.  Jesus is the ultimate example of a shepherd who tenaciously loves his sheep to the end, and beyond.  And because, Jesus the Tenacious Shepherd remains with through good and bad, we are empowered and commanded to abide with him.  We are the sheep, and our task is to abide with our shepherd.”

April 1, 2018 – Easter Morning – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“So, sisters and brothers, let us first experience the Risen Lord in our hearts.  Let us meet Him at this font.  Let us meet Him at that table.  Let us walk through the door! Christ is risen from dead.  Trampling down death by death and to those in the tombs bestowing life.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!”

March 25, 2018 – Palm Sunday – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“Jesus, the Creator and ruler of the universe, the almighty God, was showing us how to truly be king, how to truly lead, and exercise authority: through self-sacrifice, and invincible love.  Through becoming a servant for the sake of your friends.  Through loving your enemies.  Through costly non-violence rather than the use of weapons, weapons that are exposed to be cheap and weak.  On the cross Jesus Christ faced down violence, and oppression and hatred and sin, and he scoffed at them.  And this is not the end of the story.”  

February 18, 2018 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“This is the purpose of Lent, to return us back to our baptism, back to the promises we made or were made for us: to continue in the apostle’s teaching, to resist evil, to proclaim the Good news, to seek and serve Christ in everyone, and to strive for justice and peace.  We are ever called to return, but when we return, we too are driven out into the wilderness.”

February 4, 2018 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“You’ll remember that at the beginning of the book, Jesus is roaming around Galilee with this message: The Kingdom of God has come near.  The kingdom of God has begun, on earth, in a backwater region of the Roman Empire, 2000 years ago.  Jesus started something.  In his ministry in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is actively spreading the Kingdom of God.  That’s the point of our Gospel reading: he is confronting the powers of evil, and driving them away.  He comes along side illness and disease and heals them, restoring health and wholeness.  He gives strength to the weak, and hope to the powerless.  That’s the kingdom of God.”

January 21, 2018 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“Let us continue to take this risk together.  To be tangled up together in the love and mercy and grace of God that is, even now, transforming the world in ways that we do not expect, and cannot imagine.  And let us go out into this community and share the good news of God’s kingdom with our neighbors and friends.  There are hurting people, lonely people, people who are not enmeshed in a community of love and support.  There are people whose peace is shattered…They need the love of Christ that transforms hearts.  They need to know about the unbreakable mercy of God that will never abandon them, even in death.  They need to see a glimpse of the possibilities of the God’s kingdom, and they need to see it in us.”

December 10, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“Repentance is a radical realignment of our thoughts, actions, desires, and priorities so as to align all with God.  But it’s even bigger than that, repentance is cosmic, repentance is the slow, grueling, mysterious, sometimes invisible re-aligning of all things, all creation, the entire universe, back toward God, back with God, back into God from whom all things come, and by whom all things are sustained.”

November 26, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“…Prayers are not a substitute for action in the world, but prayers are necessary to faithful Christian action in the world.  Prayer leads us toward right action, toward a concern for the poor.  Active prayer, and prayerful action will, in the words of Ephesians, enlighten our hearts to know what hope truly is, to know our glorious inheritance with the saints, the riches of the Father’s love, the riches of the Holy Spirit’s power, and the joy of our life together with Christ, our Shepherd, and our King.” 

November 19, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“Jesus is asking us, alluring us, daring us to take risks on behalf of God’s kingdom.  Jesus is asking us to muster the imagination, and the guts required to put all the gifts that God has given Holy Apostles on the line.  After this season of celebrating God’s gifts, we cannot take those gifts and bury them in the ground.  We need to be bold, risk failure, and use our gifts in outrageous ways to show our neighborhood, our community what a little bit of heaven looks like.”

November 12, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“Even as Christ is coming, Christ is already here.  Parousia is both now and not yet.  The coming of Christ has real, this-worldly consequences.  We may meet Christ in the air (or not), but the point is, we come back to the city together.  We escort Christ into our earthly abode, into the real city, and into our real lives.  Then and now, we are heralds for Christ, and our job is to make his presence known here and now.”

November 5, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“We are knit together in baptism; grafted into the body of Christ.  We become a member of this vast communion of saints that transcends time, and place, transcends all allegiances to flag or country.  We are sealed by the Holy Spirit as Christ’s own forever, we receive redemption, and become co-conspirators with God toward the redemption of all things in Christ.  This is the death that we die in baptism and the life we live in God.  This is what we all sign on for every time we renew our baptismal covenant, as we are about to do.  Because this is our identity in Christ—saints, ordinary saints.  This is the identity we can live into every day.”

October 22, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“With God it is no longer us vs. them, Jew or Roman, black or white, have or have not: because God has it all.  Everything belongs to God, everything is a gift from God, and is returning to God, and that puts us all on the same side of the tracks.  And guess what: there is enough.  Not only does this world have enough resources for us all, but there is enough grace for us all.  There is enough love for us all.  There is enough acceptance, and friendship, and joy, and peace for us all.  Because everything that is good is a gift from God, and anything that we offer to God is from what God has already given.”    

October 15, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“God is calling us to be a community of permeable boundaries, boundaries that are open to crossing.  A community that is not closed off, but open and outward focused.  Open to the mystery and the power of the Holy Spirit working in our midst.  Open to include others regardless of who they are, or how much money they make, or what they look like. Open to going out into the highways and byways looking for those are lost, who are marginalized and alone, and invite them in to the King’s abundant feast of grace.  Open to harder work of accepting the invitation to sit at the King’s table of grace ourselves.”

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October 8, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“The reign of God’s peace…seems so far away, but it isn’t…Through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, God has established a reign of peace in the cosmos that has no end.  It seems our tiny corner of the universe called earth has not yet received the memo, we are still operating under an old regime.  God’s peace has overcome the chaos and destruction of sin, death, and hell…fragmentation, and hatred, and spite do not have the final word: God’s peace reigns.  The entire cosmos is woven together, the end and aim of the entire universe is toward God’s justice and steadfast love made manifest in Jesus Christ.”

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October 1, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“It is God’s power in Jesus that can cause [the Bible] to knock you right out of your pews.  It is God’s power in Jesus that can heal your body and broken heart.  It is God’s power in Jesus that can definitively challenge the injustice, and hatred, and violence in our world.  It is God’s power in Jesus that is constantly pouring God’s self out in love toward everyone, even the worst of the worst, even those who hate God.  That is the Word of God.  That is the Good News of Peace.  That is the Good Word that cuts through all the other noise, the Word we must cling to no matter whatThat is the Word that must be on our lips, and the Word demonstrated in our lives, and through our love for each other.”

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September 24, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“Sisters and brothers, this morning God is inviting us to open our imaginations to new, and dangerous vistas of God’s love.  To imagine worlds so dripping with God’s mercy, that all our petty understandings of justice, our squabbles over resources, our envies and our greed will melt away in the terrible fire of God’s love, which transcends even our wildest dreams.”

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September 10, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“As a handful of sand compared to the sea: so is the sin of all humankind compared to the ocean of God’s mercy” – St. Isaac the Syrian

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August 27, 2017 – The Rev. James Stambaugh

[readings from Scripture]

“The renewing of our mind occurs slowly.  It’s a process and a journey that we undertake together, through prayer, through reading Scripture, by participating in the Sacrament of Eucharist, though holy conversation, and yes, by fellowship with each other.

These things might seem paltry when pitted against the cosmic forces of death, and sin.  But they’re not.  Transformation has to start with us, our individual and corporate lives.  Prayer eradicates fear.  Scripture has the power to change the course of an entire life.  Even the smallest act of love, done in the name of Jesus, can change the world.  And a small congregation, like this one, can show an entire community, and entire township what the Kingdom of God looks like.  That is our job, that is the job of the Church of the Holy Apostles: to be a sign to the wider community that a different world is possible.