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All of these sermons were delivered in the Abbey Church. To make it easier to find a certain topic or lectionary day, click one the blue tags below (Holidays, Sundays Year A, Sundays Year B, Sundays Year C). The sermons are posted in order of their calendar date, so not all in the same lectionary year are together – keep scrolling down, and you will find more from earlier calendar years.
Many of Abbot Andrew’s sermons are posted on his blog.

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Proper 13 Year C: That’s For Sure

Ecless 1:2, 12-14,2:18-20
Col 3:1-11
Luke 12:13-21


August 4, 2019 Abbey Church Abraham

“We came into this life unsheltered and all alone. That’s how we came and for sure that’s how we go out.*” That’s what the great theologian Grace Slick sings, and she’s right. And she’s not being sad about it, and Solomon (the author of our first reading this morning) needs to listen to her and cheer up. Things don’t last. People don’t last. So it is all the more important that we love the things and the people around us while we can, because some day, they will be gone, and we will be gone.

Things are good, because they are made by God. But things aren’t God, so as much as we should love the things and people around us, we should love God even more, because God will last. In fact, God’s being is infinitiely more than our being, so we should love God infinitely more than things. More than that, because God’s being is of such a different order than our being, we should love God in a different way of loving than we love people and things.

The more we love God, the more we realize the goodness of the world God has made, and the more we realize that everything receives its integrity and legitimacy solely from God, never from us. Everything is a gift from God. In the eyes of the universe, we have no rights to anything – everything is a gift. So we take it, love it, take care of it for awhile, and then give it back with joy and gratitude.

There is no need for greed or fear. The world does not need to function the way we insist that is does. We are just riding along the edges of creation along with everything else, swirling around God. When we try to make ourselves the center and have things swirl around us, it only causes dangerous eddies that hurt us and the people around us.

So, love deeply and let go gratefully. “We came into this life unsheltered and all alone. That’s how we came and for sure that’s how we go out.” AMEN

* “That’s For Sure” from the 1974 album DRAGONFLY by Jefferson Starship

Proper 9 Year C: Plant Me Two Times


Isaiah 66:10-14
Galatians 6:1-16
Luke 10:1-11


July 7, 2019   Abraham   Abbey Church

Planting and harvesting are both mentioned in two of our readings this morning, but they refer to very different things in each reading. In our Gospel story, Jesus tells the ministers he is commissioning to ask the Lord to send out laborers into his harvest. Jesus does not explain what he means, but since he sends the ministers to proclaim peace, maybe what he means is: “God has planted eternal life into all hearts. It is now your job to let the people know that, and help them wake up to that gift.” Not everyone responds the same way to the good news of God’s grace, but that is ok – the kingdom of God is near to us all.

In the letter to Galatia, Paul talks about planting and harvesting, but this time, it is not about what God has planted, but about what we plant in our own worlds, and the effect of our actions. If we do good, then that good will ripple out and be of benefit to all. If we do bad, then that bad will ripple out and be of detriment to all.

And yet, God’s gift of Love from the gospel story is still in our hearts. The bad we do can not take it away. We can not undo God’s grace, but we sure can hide it under a lot of fear and pride. God’s gift of life and love will eventually win out over all the self-imposed darkness that we all send into the world, but why not just come to our senses and stop trying to hinder grace with our self-inflicted pain? Why not rather add love to Love? It makes the world much better for everyone. We can do it, and we know that we will. But we also know that we will fail, and fall, and sin. That is not ok, but it is not the end. That’s when God’s grace saves us from ourselves.

So now, while the harvest is plentiful, may we, by planting good with our own lives, help awaken the gracious gift of eternal life, love, peace and joy in the lives of those around us. It has already been given by God, we just need to show people how to open up to it. And may we be open to the people around us helping us to awaken to God’s gift in our own lives.   AMEN

Born To Be Mild: All Saints Day 2018

Wisdom 3:1-9
Revelation 21:1-6a
John 11:32-44

November 1, 2018   Abbey Church   Abraham

God does not call us to be more than ourselves. Being more than ourselves would not make us more than human, it would simply make us not human. Being a Christian means acknowledging that being human is good enough for God, because God chose to become human. And as all humans, Jesus grew. So we must grow. We must become mature and complete in Christ – and that means becoming more truly our unique selves. We often hear, in this church building, the call to present ourselves as a living sacrifice. We can all too easily dwell on the “sacrifice” part of that call while forgetting about the “living” part of that call. We are called to full life as God’s children.

We are called many other things in scripture: the saints of God, a nation of priests, a city on a hill, the light of the world, the temple of God, the salt of the earth, the Rose of Sharon, a new creation, the body of Christ (the fullness of him who fills all things), joint heirs with Christ (and therefore his family). We are also called sinners, and that makes it even more wonderful that God calls us his children. We are not yet perfect, but we are called to perfection – not a perfection based on rules and regulations, but a perfection based on fullness. There is a Chinese proverb which says: “A mature and integrated human is like jade: Its flaws not concealing its beauty, nor its beauty concealing its flaws.” We are called to that kind of perfection, and yet how rarely we live up to it.

We are not there yet; we still have a lot of growing to do, and we always will. We need to admit it to ourselves and also realize that everyone around us has a lot of growing to do. We do not like to be called evil and stupid just because we do wrong things, and so we should never use those words on others. Other people’s sins might be visible to the whole world, but ours are more likely hidden because they are deeper and far worse. If we want mercy and grace to grow then we must give it to others. That does not mean that we excuse wrongdoing, but it does mean that we always respect the wrongdoer as much a child of God as we are. It also does not mean that since we are to grow into our unique selves that we can be so eccentric that it makes life difficult for others.

So, here we are, surrounded by saints: living ones sitting next to us and dead ones sitting in little boxes in a corner of the church and in big boxes in the cemetery. We are also surrounded by the saints in heaven (which I guess means that heaven is surrounding us). We now a lot about some, a little about others, and nothing about most. All we know is they are being brought to perfection by God in ways that God calls perfect, not in ways that we call perfect. They are a great cloud of witnesses. They show us how to live, they watch us, and in ways we can’t understand, they help us to grow. May we do the same for others, and as we gather up here around the altar, let us remember them and each other, and be thankful.   AMEN

Proper 20 Year B: Tough Work If You Can Get It, And You Can Get It If You Try

Jeremiah 11:18-20
James3:13-4:3,7,8a
Mark 9:30-37

September 23, 2018   Abbey Church   Abraham

Jeremiah was given a tough job, and he was rewarded for his efforts by being jailed and ridiculed and eventually dragged off to Egypt – a place where he warned people to not go. His tough job was that of merely telling the truth. He, like almost everyone at that time and location could see that Babylon would soon conquer his nation, as it had conquered all other nations in the area. Even though everyone saw what was happening politically and militarily in the region, many people in power kept their power by assuring others that God would protect their nation, since it was chosen by God. Jeremiah asked the uncomfortable question of why the people in power were praying to false gods rather than the God whom they publicly claimed would help them. He also pointed out the uncomfortable truth that since they had secretly turned their backs on God, God would publicly turn his back on them. We heard a bit of Jeremiah in the first reading this morning talking about his difficult job. He asks to see God’s retribution upon the people who have made his life so hard. Hopefully Jeremiah calmed down later and did the Christian thing by forgiving his persecutors, just like all us Christians here always do.

James (whom we heard in our second reading) was given a tough job, and he has was rewarded for his efforts by having his letter belittled by Martin Luther. His tough job was one of telling people that faith produces works. Most of the bitterness of the Reformation has now settled down, so most people on all sides can see James’s point, but there are still some people either using his letter as a weapon against people with whom they disagree, or trying to explain away the parts of it that don’t agree with their party line. Hopefully the many people from so many different denominations that gather together here won’t ever start a fight: Lutherans with copies of the Letter to the Romans, Catholics with copies of the Letter of James, Anabaptists refusing to join the fight, and Calvinists standing back watching, knowing that the outcome is preordained anyway.

Jesus (whom we heard in our Gospel story) was also given a tough job and he was rewarded for his efforts by being crucified. Jesus was surrounded by disciples who don’t seem to have understood him, but who are we to judge – we still don’t really understand Jesus. The resurrection maybe did compensate for the hard time Jesus had, but we are still making his life rough by doing exactly the same stupid things the disciples did, and worse.

The tough jobs we have talked about this morning involve telling people things that might make them uncomfortable. Many times we find ourselves in the same situation – something needs to be said, and no matter what we say, someone will take it wrongly or as an attack, or misinterpret it. We all sometimes need to do the talking, and we all sometimes need to do the listening, and we all do both jobs well sometimes and badly other times. That’s ok, no one is perfect, and usually we all eventually settle down and get along with each other.

Probably, none of us is ever going to be given the job of saying things of such importance as Jeremiah or James or Jesus. When we do sense the need to say something about something, we need to do it humbly, realizing that we could be wrong, and also realizing that just because we don’t like something, that does not make it wrong or bad or stupid. Most people already know all of our preferences, and they really don’t want to hear about them again. It is also important to remember to listen to other people, because even if we disagree with them, they might be right and we might be wrong. It is especially important to remember to listen to people who have said things in the past with which we disagree, or who come from groups with which we tend to disagree, because sometimes they just might say things that need to be said, even if they say it in harmful or hurtful ways. The Kingdom of God comes to the little child (full of questions), not to the people at the front of the line yelling out answers. So, with Jeremiah and James looking on and joining us, we come to this table to be fed by Jesus. He is the one we really need to listen to, and he does tend to use the unexpected person or event as his mouth.   AMEN