Exaudi (Easter 7) Sermon 2017
John 15:25—16:4
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Jesus says, “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away” (John 16:1).

We see, very clearly, what Jesus desires: that you do not fall away.

He wants everyone to live and reign with Him forever. He wants us to have and keep the faith, be baptized, eat and drink His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of our sins.

Jesus wants us to be saved.

And to that end, Jesus says “all these things” to us.

But what are “all these things”?

(more…)

The Ascension of Our Lord, 2017
Mark 16:14-20
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

The sermon tonight is intentionally brief and simple.

The topic is not.

How—on what basis—can we say that the bread and wine that we eat and drink in the Sacrament of the Altar is Jesus’ body and blood?

The simplest and best answer is: “Because Jesus said so.” And, the Ascension gives us another opportunity to see and understand the how behind our understanding of Jesus’ authority, enthronement, and presence with us.

(more…)

Baccalaureate, 2017
John 16:23-33 / Matthew 6:9-13
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

In the fictional world of Harry Potter, what are the three Unforgivable Curses?

The Killing Curse—Avada Kedavra.

The Cruciatus Curse—Crucio.

And the Imperious Curse—Imperio.

Do you know the origins of their names? Do you know why the spell for the Killing Curse is Avada Kedavra?

You’ve heard the same phrase before as abracadabra. It’s Aramaic and means “Let the thing be destroyed.” The “thing” was usually a disease and the phrase a cure, but J.K. Rowling turned it into a curse.

Crucio comes from what? Latin. Crucio means “I torture.” We see this especially in the word crucify.

And Imperio—whence comes Imperio?

We’ll come back to that one.

(more…)

Rogate (Easter 6) Sermon, 2016
John 16:23b-33
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

You can’t always get what you want. But…what?

But if you try sometimes, well, you might find, you get what you need.

The world teaches us that if we try, we get what we need. If we put forth the effort necessary, we get what we need.

It’s up to us.

That’s what the world teaches.

Today, Jesus teaches us to pray, and so it’s good to ask:

Does prayer rely upon your faithfulness or God’s?

Should the Rolling Stones have taught us to sing, “You can’t always get what you want…so pray the Lord’s Prayer, because God’s going to provide your daily bread”?

That wouldn’t have sold many albums, but it’s right.

(more…)

Easter 5 (Cantate) Sermon, 2017
John 16:5-15
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

What did it mean, in the case of the Disciples, to be a disciple of Jesus? For them, originally, it meant to follow Jesus literally. You went where He went, ate where He ate, and heard the words that were coming out of His mouth.

If that’s your “normal,” imagine hearing that Jesus was about to leave you behind. Well, we don’t have to imagine.

(more…)

Easter 4 (Jubilate) Sermon, 2017
John 16:16-22
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

“Your sorrow will be turned to joy” (John 16:20). Jesus says.

He says this before His crucifixion. And He’s speaking about the sorrow that is to come upon them. Sorrow in His arrest. Sorrow in His shady trial. Sorrow in His death.

And then joy in His resurrection.

St. Luke records, after the ascension that the disciples “worshiped [Jesus] and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God” (Luke 24:52-53). That’s the joy of the ascension after the sorrow of Jesus’ death.

But what about our sorrow?

(more…)