Recent Sermons


The Possibility of Reconciliation

April 28, 2019 John 20:19-31 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Rev. Alice Fleming Townley When Padraig O Tuama worked as a school chaplain in Belfast, Ireland, one day a young girl asked him, “God loves us, right?”  He could tell she was leading somewhere, “Ok,” he said, “I’m with you.” And she continued, “And God made us, right?” “Ok.” “Then answer me this: Why did God make Protestants?” “Tell me more about your question.” He replied. “Well, they hate us.” And because Paraig knew she was brilliant at soccer, he said, “I ...

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Prophetic Abundance

April 7, 2019 John 12:1-8 Rev. Alice Fleming Townley They gathered that night around the table, and it wasn’t just any table or any place.         It was the table of dear friends in Bethany.  There was Martha, who had first welcomed Jesus into their home.  And Mary, who had wanted nothing but to sit at Jesus feet and study.  These sisters had sent a message to Jesus when their brother Lazarus was ill. “Come, quickly.”   But by the time he arrived, Lazarus had been dead for days and a stench filled the air. “Lazarus, come out,” Jesus said, and ...

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Peace… For The One Who Is Far Off And The One Who Is Near

Lent IV Luke 15:11-32 Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. March 31, 2019 “No man is an island.”  So wrote the English Poet, John Donne, a man who was quite a paradox in his own lifetime. Donne was raised Roman Catholic—so Catholic that he  married a relative of Sir Thomas More, who you may remember lost his head because he chose the Pope over his king, Henry the 8th.  Yet later in life, John Donne served as the Dean of St. Paul’s Protestant Cathedral in London. He was a man who wrote biting political satire, yet also served as a member of Parliament. He was a ...

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Lost And Found, Repented And Renewed

Lent III Luke 13:1-9 Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. March 24, 2019 Some came to Jesus at that very time who told him about Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the sacrifices. Jesus answered them, “Do you think that those Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered thus? I tell you, No! But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those 18 upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed—do you think they were worse debtors than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No! But unless you repent, you will ...

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Nurtured in Prayer

March 10, 2019 Luke 4: 1-13 Rev. Alice Fleming Townley In Luke, Jesus was baptized just before his time in the wilderness. After his baptism, Jesus was praying and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, and a voice from Heaven came saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3: 21-22). And then Luke inserted for us Jesus’ genealogy, starting with Joseph, going back to Boaz, Jesse, and David, and back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the way to Adam.  We hear these names and remember God’s activity in their lives.  These are ...

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On Higher Ground

Transfiguration Luke 9:28-36 Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. March 3, 2019 When my children were young, we loved the books written by David McCauley which he called, The Way Things Work. Maybe I liked them more than my kids, but it seemed to me as though he explained the inner workings of everything. You could find out what the space shuttle looks like on the inside, how CD disks work, how you make a ball point pen, and how woolly mammoths might have become extinct. Jesus is doing the same thing this morning in Scripture—inviting Peter, James, and John for a ...

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Sent with Holy Fire

February 10, 2019 Isaiah 6:1-8 Rev. Alice Fleming Townley No one knew how carefully I was listening.  I was a little girl in a wet bathing suit a summer picnic with church families.  My ears perked up when one of the men at the table asked another, “Have you heard the news?  Our new Bishop is a woman.   Can she do it?”   Bishop Judy Craig been a Christian Educator for 20 years before her ordination; and after many failed ballots, she arose from ‘nowhere’ to be elected Bishop.   And then the conversation continued, some wondering if women could even be ...

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Blessed Are Those Who Hunger And Thirst For What Is Right

Annual Meeting I Corinthians 13 Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. February 3, 2019 Davidson College is a small liberal arts college located outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. If you are a basketball fan, you will recognize the name. Davidson went to the Final Four in 2008, led by a small point guard named Steph Curry, who is now one of the most famous professional basketball players in the land. Basketball fans will know the name of Davidson College, but surprisingly, only a few died-in-the-wool Presbyterians will recognize that Davidson is affiliated with the ...

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True Body

Luke 4:16-30 Rev. Dr. Robert T. Carlson, Jr. January 27, 2019 At an international conference of comparative religions, experts from around the world debated which belief, if any, was unique to the Christian faith. C. S. Lewis entered the room in the middle of this debate, and when he was asked to name Christianity’s unique contribution among the world’s religions, Lewis responded: “That’s easy. It’s grace.” I don’t know that grace is a uniquely Christian idea, but I do believe it is a theological concept that goes against the grain of much human ...

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