Judgment in the Vineyard

A Homily for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Texts: Isaiah 5:1-7; St. Matthew 21:33-36


Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, who tends to the vineyard with love and care. Amen.

Imagine planting a vineyard – not just growing a few vines along a fence, but the years of work to cultivate the soil, to carefully prune back the vine so that only the choicest grapes grow, to build a winepress and watch towers. It’s month after month of backbreaking labor, and year go by without anything to show for it – until one day, the harvest is finally at hand. Put yourself there: walking through the rows of vine, each one hanging heavy with fruit, a warm breeze blowing on your face. You pick a grape and toss it playfully into your mouth – this, this is what all those years of work have been building toward. You bite down, feel the skin give way with a slight pop…

Continue reading “Judgment in the Vineyard”

Peter’s Faith

A Homily for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Text: St. Matthew 16:13-20


Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, who has entrusted the apostles with the true faith. Amen.

“You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God…”

Once more we have one of those stories that, were this a modern piece of cinema, would end like all other bio-pics. The film score would swell. A title card would appear on the screen, reading something like, “Saint Peter became the first Bishop of Rome. To this day, he has been succeeded by two hundred sixty-five popes who lead the world’s one billion Catholic faithful.” To be honest, there might actually be a movie that ends this way. (And it’s worth noting, this is roughly how the movie about Luther ended, too.)

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Born Again

A Homily for the first Wednesday of Lent

Text: St. John 2:23-3:15


Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, who calls us to be born of water and the Spirit. Amen.

What does Jesus mean by “born again”?

In common usage, this phrase ranks up there with (and is often seen as synonymous with) “evangelical” as a term to distinguish between types of Christians. “Well, you have your Catholics, your mainline, and your ‘born-again evangelicals.’”

Here in the South, it’s not uncommon for someone to ask, “Have you been born-again?” or “Tell me about when you were born-again.” I would wager that most everyone here has been asked this question – as surely as you’ve been asked which SEC team you root for. Continue reading “Born Again”

O Come, Emmanuel: Advent in Review

Advent was a crazy season this year. As a solo and part-time pastor, December is always chaotic, and all the more so at Redeemer. We gather together for midweek Vespers, meaning that December brings with it twice the preaching load of a normal month.

But December also brought with it three funerals, two of which followed months-long hospitalizations. Continue reading “O Come, Emmanuel: Advent in Review”