Category : Preaching / Homiletics

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–What does the Baptism of Jesus Teach us about our Identity (Luke 3:15-21)

Listen to it all or there is more there if you so desire.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

An Epiphany sermon by English Abbot Ælfric of Eynsham

Let us now return to the exposition of the Gospel, where we previously left it. The astronomers went into the place where the child was staying, and found him with his mother. Then with prostrate bodies they worshipped Christ, and opened their coffers, and offered to him threefold gifts, gold, and incense, and myrrh. Gold is fitting for a king; incense belongs to God’s service; with myrrh the bodies of the dead are prepared that they may not soon rot. These three astronomers worshipped Christ, and offered to him symbolic gifts. The gold betokened that he is true King; the incense that he is true God; the myrrh that he was then mortal, though now he continues immortal in eternity…

My brothers, let us offer to our Lord gold, for we confess that he is true King, and rules everywhere. Let us offer to him incense, for we believe that he was always God, who at that time appeared as a man. Let us bring him myrrh, for we believe that he was mortal in our flesh, who is incapable of suffering in his divine nature. He was mortal in human nature before his Passion, but he is henceforth immortal, as we all shall be after the universal resurrection.

We have spoken of these threefold gifts, how they apply to Christ. We also wish to say how they apply to us in a figurative sense. Truly gold betokens wisdom; as Solomon said, “A goldhoard much to be desired lies in the mouth of a wise man.” Incense represents holy prayer, of which the psalmist sang, “Lord, let my prayer be sent forth like burning incense in thy sight.” By myrrh is shown the mortality of our flesh, of which Holy Church says, “My hands dropped myrrh.” To the born King we bring gold, if we are shining in his sight with the brightness of heavenly wisdom. Incense we bring him, if we set fire to our thoughts on the altar of our heart with the eagerness of holy prayers, so that through heavenly desire we may give forth something of a sweet smell. Myrrh we offer him if we quell the lusts of the flesh by self-restraint.

Read it all (and note the link to the full sermon text).

Posted in Church History, Preaching / Homiletics

Kendall Harmon’s 2021 Christmas sermon–Three Central Questions for Christmas

Listen to it all or there is more there if you so desire.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christmas, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

A New Year’s sermon by English Abbot Ælfric of Eynsham

‘We have often heard that people call this day ‘year’s day’, as the first day in the course of the year, but we do not find any explanation in Christian books as to why this day should be appointed the beginning of the year. The ancient Romans, in pagan days, began the calendar of the year on this day; the Jewish people began at the spring equinox, the Greeks at the summer solstice, and the Egyptians began the calendar of their year at harvest. Now our calendar begins on this day, according to the Roman practice, not for any holy reason, but because of ancient custom. Some of our service books begin at the Advent of the Lord, but nonetheless that is not the beginning of our year. There is no reason for it being this day, although our calendars continue to put it in this place.

It is most rightly thought that the beginning of the year should be appointed to the day when the Almighty Creator fixed the sun, moon, and stars and the beginning of all time…

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Posted in Church History, Preaching / Homiletics

A sermon of St Quodvultdeus on the Holy Innocents–Even Before They Learn to Speak, They Proclaim Christ

From here:

A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Wise men are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come.
Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage, and to destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children.
You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers or fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself.
Yet your throne is threatened by the source of grace, so small, yet so great, who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out his own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God’s adopted children.
The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the saviour already working salvation.
But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it.
How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.

Posted in Children, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Preaching / Homiletics

A story from a School in Michigan for Christmas

I have a friend who teaches in the upper peninsula in Michigan. He has one of those schools that run from kindergarten all the way up through eighth grade, including special ed. One of his students was intellectually slow, couldn’t do very well in classes. And when Christmas Pageant time came he wanted to have a part in the Pageant. What’s more, he wanted a speaking part. He wouldn’t settle for anything less.

So they made into the innkeeper. They figured he could handle that because all he had to do was say, “No room,” twice: once before Mary spoke, once after she spoke. The night of the Pageant, Mary knocks on the door he opens the door, and he says in a brusque fashion, “No room!” Mary says, “But I’m sick, and I’m cold, and I’m going to have a baby, and if you don’t give me a place to sleep, my baby will be born in the cold, cold night.”

He just stood there. The boy behind him nudged him and said, “No room, No room, say, “No room.’” And finally, he turned and he said, “I know what I’m supposed to say, but she can have my room.”

–Anthony Campolo in William H. Willimon Ed, Sermons from Duke Chapel: Voices from “A Great Towering Church” (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), p.294; used by yours truly in the Christmas Eve sermon

Posted in Children, Christmas, Education, Preaching / Homiletics

The Book of Homilies on the Nativity–‘What greater love could we seely creatures desire or wish to have at God’s hands?’

But, for the better understanding and consideration of this thing, let us behold the end of his coming: so shall we perceive what great commodity and profit his nativity hath brought unto us miserable and sinful creatures. The end of his coming was to save and deliver his people, to fulfil the law for us, to bear witness to the truth, to teach and preach the words of his Father, to give light unto the world, to call sinners to repentance, to refresh them that labour and be heavy laden, to cast out the prince of this world, to reconcile us in the body of his flesh, to dissolve the works of the devil last of all, to become a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world.[48] These were the chief ends wherefore Christ became man, not for any profit that should come to himself thereby, but only for our sakes ; that we might understand the will of God, be partakers of his heavenly light, be delivered out of the devil’s claws, released from the burden of sin, justified through faith in his blood, and finally received up into everlasting glory, there to reign with him for ever. Was not this a great and singular love of Christ towards mankind, that being the express and lively image of God[49]he would notwithstanding humble himself and take upon him the form of a servant and that only to save and redeem us? O how much are we bound to the goodness of God in this behalf! How many thanks and praises do we owe unto him for this our salvation, wrought by his dear and only Son Christ: who became a pilgrim in earth, to make us citizens in heaven; who became the Son of man, to make us the sons of God; who became obedient to the law, to deliver us from the curse of the law; who became poor to make us rich;[50] vile to make us precious; subject to death to make us live for ever. What greater love could we seely creatures desire or wish to have at God’s hands?

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Posted in Christmas, Christology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Preaching / Homiletics

The Archbishop of York’s 2021 Christmas Sermon

What can I say to you this Christmas morning, but turn to him? Let his light shine on you. Ask to have your vision expanded, that you may see the world as he sees it, for his vision for his world is the world’s greatest hope for the human race to live in peace and love one another and – if you will excuse the political jargon – build back better.

We are all exhausted by the horrors and privations of Covid. Our world cries out.

I do hope you will have a happy Christmas. And I hope you are able to get together with those you love today, even – as it will be the case with some of my family – it’s on yet another zoom conference. Most of all I hope and pray that in your hearts and imaginations, and even now in this holy Eucharist, you will come to the stable at Bethlehem.

You will come – surprised like the shepherds; doggedly faithful like Joseph; defiantly rejoicing like Mary; amazed like the Magi, and have your life re-directed. Changed, because in this great light you will not just see things differently, you will see them as they truly are, as they are meant to be, at last having the focus of your life shifted, enabling you to see the clear, pure beauty of Christ.

God of God. Light of light. Begotten, not created. O come, let us adore him.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Christmas, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–Wrestling with the Ministry and Person of John the Baptist

Listen to it all or there is more there if you so desire.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–What can we learn from the Person and Ministry of Ezra (Ezra 7)?

Listen to it all and there is more there.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–Do we know how Wonderful our King is (Isaiah 9:1-7)?

Listen to it all and there is more there.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

(Churchman) J I Packer–Expository Preaching: Charles Simeon and ourselves

[Charles] Simeon himself is our example here. The feature of his preaching which most constantly impressed his hearers was the fact that he was, as they said, “in earnest”; and that reflected his own overwhelming sense of sin, and of the wonder of the grace that had saved him; and that in turn bore witness to the closeness of his daily fellowship and walk with his God. As he gave time to sermon preparation, so he gave time to seeking God’s face.

“The quality of his preaching,” writes the Bishop of Bradford, “was but a reflection of the quality of the man himself. And there can be little doubt that the man himself was largely made in the early morning hours which he devoted to private prayer and the devotional study of the Scriptures. It was his custom to rise at 4 a.m., light his own fire, and then devote the first four hours of the day to communion with God. Such costly self-discipline made the preacher. That was primary. The making of the sermon was secondary and derivative.”

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

(Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh) Bishop Martyn Minns on Preaching

Preaching is what we are ordained to do. It is one of the most remarkable privileges that any person can be given. We are presuming to speak for God. It is not, as many seem to think today, simply telling people off or condemning them for their failures. Nor is it just a ‘pep talk’ – a friendly word of reassurance and encouragement. It is something quite different. It is engaging in a supernatural transaction. It is presenting the Word of God to the people of God. My friend and mentor Terry Fullam was a great preacher, and I learned a great deal from him. In a memorable one-liner, he said that sermons are a, “ … Word about the Word from the Word.” In other words, sermons are always to have a Gospel focus, with Jesus Christ at the heart, and grounded in the Holy Scriptures.

Terry Fullam spent hours preparing his sermons – he told me that a useful guideline was an hour of preparation for a minute in delivery. By the time he actually preached his sermon – he never used any notes – it all seemed effortless. He also found nothing wrong with recycling his sermons. “They get better with age,” he once told me with a grin! Early in his time at St. Paul’s in Darien, I realized that he had three brilliant Christmas sermons that he brought back in a regular pattern each year.

Our eldest daughter, Sarah, who is gifted with a remarkable memory, also noticed this and entertained her high school friends by whispering his next lines or the “punch lines” to his stories before he finished them. This resulted in barely suppressed giggles from the entire youth group while he preached. Once, I observed what was happening, I apologized to Terry for the disruption. He smiled and said, “Don’t apologize. Sarah has managed to memorize my sermons. What higher compliment could a preacher ever receive?”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

The Archbishop of York’s Sermon for White Ribbon Sunday

And, of course, we don’t need to look far. Jesus models for us a very different attitude to women. The way he treated women and responded to them was radically different to the prevailing culture of his day and deeply shocking to many who encountered him.

It is likely that many women travelled with him in the wider band of his disciples.

Martha and Mary were his friends and he was a welcome guest in their house.

When he was thirsty, he asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. We can’t realise how scandalous this was. Not only was he approaching a woman in a way that was unacceptable in his time, it was a Samaritan woman, whose religious beliefs were anathema to the Jews. In this way, Jesus crossed boundaries and broke, and challenged those cultural and religious traditions that not only excluded women, but also enabled them to be treated as property and dealt with in the same negligent and wilfully violent way.

Then, we have this beautiful story of Jesus honouring and receiving the kindness of the woman who anoints him, shaming the men who had welcomed him in by her profound care born. I suppose, of her thankfulness to him and her recognition of what she saw in him, nothing less than a different way of being human – a different way of being a man (see Mark 14. 3-9).

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sexuality, Violence

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–What can we Learn from the Confrontation between Elijah and the Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18)?

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–What can we Learn from the Call of David to be Israel’s Next King (1 Samuel 16:1-13)?

Listen to it all there or there are other options here.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

A recent Kendall Harmon Sunday Sermon–Wrestling with the Seriousness of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-21)

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A recent Kendall Harmon Sunday Sermon–Learning from the Call of God for Abraham to Sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings

An EB Pusey Sermon for his Feast Day–“Patience and Confidence the Strength of the Church” (1837)

The general conduct of our Church has been true to her first principles, to render to Caesar the things that were Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s; to do nothing against the command of God, but to suffer every thing which the Caesar may require. It was thus that the seven Bishops mainly checked James’s tyranny, refusing to do, but submitting to suffer, what was unlawful; it was thus that even in the Great Rebellion men cheerfully took the spoiling of their goods; it was thus that in events familiar to us, the members of this place, at different periods, suffered what was un lawful, rather than compromise their principles;–and we cherish their memories.

The two events, for which we keep this day as an annual thanksgiving to God, together, strikingly illustrate these principles. 1. That we may safely leave things to God. 2. That there is great risk, that man, by any impatience of his, will mar the blessing which God designs for His Church.

In the plot, from which this day is named, God had permitted things to come to the uttermost; every preparation was made, every scruple removed; a Roman priest had solemnly given the answer, that, for so great a benefit to the Church, their own people too might be sacrificed; the innocent might be slain, so that the guilty majority escaped not. The secret was entrusted to but few, was guarded by the most solemn oaths and by the participation of the Holy Eucharist, had been kept for a year and a half although all of the Roman Communion in England knew that some great plot was being carried on, and were praying for its success; inferior plots had been forbidden by Rome, lest they should mar this great one; no suspicion had been excited, and there was nothing left to excite suspicion, when God employed means, in man’s sight, the [28/29] most unlikely. He awoke, at the last, one lurking feeling of pity for one person in the breast of but one, so that a dark hint was given to that one: and He caused him who gave it, to miscalculate the character of his own brother-in-law, or entrust him with more than he was aware; then He placed fear in that other’s breast, so that, through another and distant fear, he shewed the letter which contained this dark hint; then, when the councillors despised the anonymous hint, as an idle tale, He enlightened the mind of the monarch, to discover the dark saying, which to us it seems strange that any beforehand should have unravelled; and when even then the councillors had surveyed the very spot, and discovered nothing, He caused the monarch to persevere, undeterred, until He had brought the whole to light. Yet to see more of this mystery of God’s Providence, and how He weaves together the intricate web of human affairs, and places long before the hidden springs of things, we must think also, how He ordered that one of these few conspirators should be intermarried with one of the few Roman peers, and so desired to save him; and by the conspiracy from which God had shielded the monarch’s early life, He quickened his sense of the present danger; so that while men were marrying, and giving in marriage, and strengthening themselves by alliances, God was preparing the means whereby this kingdom should be saved against the will of those so employed; and while men were plotting against a sacred life, God was laying up in the monarch’s soul the thought, which Himself should hereafter kindle to save it. Verily, “a man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.” “The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings; own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” The words of the Psalmist, selected for this day’s service, find a striking completion in this history. “God hid him from the secret counsel of the wicked, from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity–they encourage themselves in an evil matter; they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? they search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search; the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep: but God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded; so they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves.”

But it yet more illustrates the teaching, and is an argument of encouragement to our Church, how God in two neighbouring countries permitted similar plots to be accomplished.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Preaching / Homiletics

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–Genesis 12:1-4: A detailed Examination of the Call of God to Abraham


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Charles Spurgeon Sermon for Holy Cross Day–The Death of Christ for His People

O heir of heaven, lift now thine eye, and behold the scenes of suffering through which thy Lord passed for thy sake! Come in the moonlight, and stand between those olives; see him sweat great drops of blood. Go from that garden, and follow him to Pilate’s bar. See your Matter subjected to the grossest and filthiest insult; gaze upon the face of spotless beauty defiled with the spittle of soldiers; see his head pierced with thorns; mark his back, all rent, and torn, and scarred, and bruised, and bleeding beneath the terrible lash. And O Christian, see him die! Go and stand where his mother stood, and hear him say to thee, “Man, behold thy Saviour!” Come thou to-night, and stand where John stood; hear him cry, “I thirst,” and find thyself unable either to assuage his griefs or to comprehend their bitterness. Then, when thou hast wept there, lift thine hand, and cry, “Revenge!” Bring out the traitors; where are they? And when your sins are brought forth as the murderers of Christ, let no death be too painful for them; though it should involve the cutting off of right arms, or the quenching of right eyes, and putting out their light for ever; do it! For if these murderers murdered Christ, then let them die. Die terribly they may, but die they must. Oh! that God the Holy Ghost would teach you that first lesson, my brethren, the boundless wickedness of sin, for Christ had to lay down his life before your sin could be wiped away.

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Posted in Christology, Church History, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–Genesis 3: The Anatomy of Temptation


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theodicy, Theology: Scripture

Yours Truly will be Preaching at Saint Matthew’s Fort Motte South Carolina today

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Yours Truly’s Sunday Sermon on Psalm 46 at Holy Cross, Sullivans Island SC

Audio only:

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon takes a new position at Holy Cross, Sullivans, Island, South Carolina

I appreciate your prayers. The parish website is there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings

Ashley Null’s Pentecost Sermon at Saint Andrew, Mount Pleasant this past Sunday

There is both an audio and a video option.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Preaching / Homiletics

Kendall Harmon’s Pentecost 2021 sermon–How Does Pentecost Change Everything (Acts 2:1-21)?

The sermon starts about 30 minutes in.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

Archbp Benjamin Kwashi’s 2021 Pentecost Sermon at Church of the Holy Spirit in Roanoke, Virginia

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Pentecost, Preaching / Homiletics

Ashley Null preaches on the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

The sermon starts about 46 minutes in.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–The Whole Gospel to the Whole person Throughout the Whole World (Acts 16:11-40)

The sermon starts about 30:10 in.

Listen carefully for an illustration from Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895-1960), pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia from 1927 to 1960.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture