“Time for Good News” a sermon on Mark 1:1-8

Advent 2

Sermon on Mark 1:1-8
“Time for Good News”
Now is the Time, Part 2

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

Posted in Advent/Christmas, Advent/Christmas Sermons, on Gospel of Mark, Sermons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“COMFORT IN THE DAYS OF ABUSE AND EXILE,” an Advent reflection on ISAIAH 40:1-8









These days feel more like days of abuse than days of comfort.

The abuse of power.

The abuse of influence.

The abuse of wealth.

The abuse of position.

The abuse of trust.

The abuse of the truth.

The abuse of emotions.

The abuse of one another’s bodies.

The abuse of the land.

The abuse of the past, present and future.


Abuse causes isolation, exile and fear.

This is a tense and turbulent time, and many feel lost and alone, discouraged and defeated, dismissed and left-behind. It is easy to think that the end is nigh, or that at the very least the bottom is ready to drop out, and it is hard to know who to talk to about it, how to think about solutions, or what to do to make it better.

Maybe we can’t.

But what God promises us tonight is the opposite of abuse. It is comfort. Divine comfort. God breaking into our exile comfort.  Comfort breaking in by the One who is coming kind of comfort.  A promise that withstands all the things that wither and fade – even when it is we who are fading.

I can’t help but think today (December 7) of those who withered and faded 76 years ago at Pearl Harbor on this day of infamy – which must have felt like the end was upon them, in the death and destruction around them, in the end of innocence and a re-positioning how we relate to the world and what we are willing to fight and die for. How quickly we forget that memory and abuse that too.

Tonight I also think about – Those who have mustered up the strength to confront their abusers, those who haven’t and those who look the other way.

Those who are not welcome in their own home or homeland or have been forced away in violence.

Those who today flee from burning communities in California.

And those still linger in exile and isolation months after storms wreaked havoc upon them.

 “Comfort O Comfort my people” says your God. – as the prophet cries out in the wilderness.

These words first came as an announcement that exile was ending. That God would soon be leading them home. These words meet us now and shout out  to all who are in exile. That Comfort – not exile –  is God’s way.

Our Advent calling is to prepare for a new exodus as the reign of God draws near.

One of the things I am constantly reminded of – as the days grow darker and we all grow more weary, as we see so much pain and abuse of everything we hold dear and sacred, is the world in which Jesus entered was not that different from our own.

It was full of abuse. Full of destruction. Full of exile.

But Jesus came to:

Heal the broken. 

Include the outcast. 

Encourage the weary.

Forgive the sinner. 

Confront the abuser.

Speak truth to power.

Give voice to the voiceless.

Die for the many. 

Raise the dead.

And inviting all of us to enter that reign around us – calling us into a new community of comfort, hope and peace.

This message from the prophet reminds his followers of every age (in Advent and always):

 To comfort one another in our times of grief.

 To bind up each other’s wounds when we feel broken and we can’t carry on.

 To meet those who are living in exile when everything else has been ripped away and their world is on fire.

 To lead each other on the road God gives us ahead – as windy pathways are made level and straight.

To know ultimately that our Life Together is not ultimately about us.  Our lives are not about when we wither or fade. Our lives are never about what others might do to us.

Our lives are about Christ – who comes to set the prisoners free.

Whatever exile you may be facing – know that Christ is near – and calls us all. HOME.

“Comfort, oh comfort my people,”
    says your God.
“Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem,
    but also make it very clear
That she has served her sentence,
    that her sin is taken care of—forgiven!
She’s been punished enough and more than enough,
    and now it’s over and done with.”

Thunder in the desert!
    “Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road straight and smooth,
    a highway fit for our God.
Fill in the valleys,
    level off the hills,
Smooth out the ruts,
    clear out the rocks.
Then God’s bright glory will shine
    and everyone will see it.
    Yes. Just as God has said.”

A voice says, “Shout!”
    I said, “What shall I shout?”

“These people are nothing but grass,
    their love fragile as wildflowers.
The grass withers, the wildflowers fade,
    if God so much as puffs on them.
    Aren’t these people just so much grass?
True, the grass withers and the wildflowers fade,
    but our God’s Word stands firm and forever.” (Isaiah 40:1-8 THE MSG)

Posted in Advent/Christmas, Advent/Christmas Posts | Leave a comment


St. Nicholas of Myra, 12/06/343

For more on St. Nick, click HERE

Posted in Advent/Christmas, Advent/Christmas Posts, Advent/Christmas Sermons, Minute Messages, Sermons | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“Wait for the man on the cross” an Advent sermon on Mark 13:21-37

Advent 1

Sermon on Mark 13:21-37
(Now is the Time!, Part 1)
“Wait for the Man on the Cross”

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

David Lose, In the Meantime:



Posted in Advent/Christmas, Advent/Christmas Sermons, on Gospel of Mark, Sermons | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment


from Notre Dame – Paris, France

Posted in Advent/Christmas, Advent/Christmas Posts, Minute Messages, Sermons | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“The opportunity to see Jesus” a sermon on Matt 25:31-16


Christ the King Sunday

Sermon on Matt 25:31-46
“The opportunity to see Jesus”

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

Posted in Church & Mission, Discovery, Faith Everyday, on Gospel of Matthew, Sermons, Special Days, Thinking About Church Differently | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

Posted in Church & Mission, Discovery, Faith Everyday, Minute Messages, Sermons, Thinking About Church Differently | Tagged , , | Leave a comment