12th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Proper 18

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TitleSermon DateLiturgicalScripture
Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Congregational MeetingJanuary 19, 2020Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, Congregational MeetingIsaiah 49:1-7; John 1:29-42
First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year AJanuary 12, 2020First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year AMatthew 3:13-17
Epiphany, Year AJanuary 6, 2020The Epiphany, Year AMatthew 2:1-12
Christmas 2, Year AJanuary 5, 2020Christmas II, Year AMatthew 2:13-15, 19-23; Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a; Psalm 84
Christmas Eve, Year ADecember 24, 2019The Eve of the NativityLuke 2:14
Advent 3, Year ADecember 15, 2019Advent 3, Year AIsaiah 35:1-10
Advent 2, Year A – the Rev. Deacon Carey ConnorsDecember 8, 2019Advent 2, Year AMatthew 3:1-12
Advent 1, Year ADecember 1, 2019First Sunday of Advent, Year AIsaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44
Last Pentecost, Year CNovember 24, 2019Last Pentecost, Christ the KingLuke 23:33-43
Pentecost 23, Year CNovember 17, 2019Pentecost 23, Year C, Proper 28Luke 21:5-19
Pentecost 22, Year CNovember 10, 2019Pentecost 22, Proper 27, Year CJob 19:23-27a, Luke 20:38
All Saints, Year CNovember 3, 2019All Saints’ Sunday, Year C 2019Luke 6:20-31
Pentecost 20, Year COctober 27, 2019Pentecost 2, Proper 25, Year C2 Timothy 4:6-8
Pentecost 19, Year COctober 20, 2019Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 24Luke 18:1-8
Pentecost 18, Year COctober 13, 2019Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year CPsalm 111, Luke 17:11-19


12th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, Proper 18

Sermon Date:September 4, 2011

Scripture: Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20

Liturgy Calendar: Sermon, Proper 18, Year A

I don’t know about you all, but the events, especially the natural disasters that have interrupted the usual pattern of my life in the  last two weeks certainly have been wake up calls for me! 

The earthquake that left its marks on the walls of our church and rattled our nerves, and hurricane Irene’s howling winds  that brought  trees crashing to the ground and caused so much damage reminded me that life really is unpredictable, and that any of our lives could be snatched away in a moment.   

When Paul writes to the Christians in Rome  that “you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from your sleep,” Paul is referring to the fact that every one of the twenty four hours in each day we are granted, even when we face uncertainties in our lives, that  every one of the moments we are given are really moments of decision.

And Paul tells the Romans and tells us that what we have to decide, over and over and over, is whether or not we are going to love our neighbors as ourselves—one of the two great commandments that Jesus laid out for us to follow.  Paul tells us that when we love our neighbors as ourselves,  we are fulfilling the law—

Love, Paul says, is the fulfilling of the law. 

Now we began this service with the Decalogue, and we have the Ten Commandments written out here on the wall on these historic wooden panels behind me— and Paul is telling us that love fulfills all of these laws.

But really, how are we to love one another and to fulfill the law?    

There aren’t written out commandments for every situation that we find ourselves in with our neighbors. 

Since  we don’t have commandments for every last situation, Paul tells us to love one another and  “to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  

When a person is baptized, the person doing the baptizing traces a cross on the person’s forehead and says, “You are sealed by the Holy Spirit, and marked as Christ’s own forever.” 

In other words, we are branded at our baptisms with the symbol of the cross.  We visibly put on Christ at the moment of our baptisms. 

We remind ourselves of putting on Christ on Ash Wednesday when we receive ashes on our foreheads –we are not only reminded of our mortality, but we are reminded all over again that we are choosing to put on Christ during the season of Lent—

In this passage from Romans, Paul is asking us to make the decision to remember that we are marked as Christ’s own forever, to  choose to put on Christ in every moment of our lives. 

I think of this process in this way.  In every moment of our lives, as Christians, we pass through the cross. 

The cross shapes every moment of our lives. 

For the Romans, the cross was the most torturous, violent way to kill people.  For them, cross meant death and punishment.

Because God resurrected Jesus, who died on the cross, the cross has become for Christians  the symbol of life. 

And so when we live out the moments of our lives as if we are passing through the cross, we have decisions to make, based on the cross. 

Will we crucify our neighbors? 

Or will we put on the Lord Jesus Christ and love one another?

And when, in our better moments, we make the decision to pass through the cross and put on our Lord Jesus Christ, the armor of light, how do we do that? 

We find some specific guidelines elsewhere in Paul, in the letter to the Colossians, Chapter 3.

All of Chapter 3.

I commend that chapter to you.  The whole chapter sums up this idea of making the conscious choice to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, to put on the armor of light. 

And the thing I like about this chapter is that Paul gives us some specifics.

First of all, if we want to love one another, we have to give up some things—here’s Paul’s laundry list.

Verse 8 tells us—“But now you must give up anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. “

Bad habits like these inspired Martin Luther to say in a sermon that  “ We can but blush with shame when we behold our unlikeness to Christ.”   

These bad habits create constant interruptions in our lives because they create unhappiness for those around us, and they  create unhappiness, chaos, interruptions and dissension for us too. 

Then Paul goes on to say in Colossians,  “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator! “

And here’s what the new, resurrected, self who has put on the armor of light wears—in verse 12

“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves  with

And the Greek says the bowels of compassion—compassion that comes from our very guts!



Patience and


(and this word has a less than positive connotation in our day,

but for Paul, meekness has its basis in love—in other words, our actions rest on the  gentleness and the love with which Jesus treated his disciples and followers during his life here on earth—

Meekness is a gift of the spirit, and people who are meek have the gift of being able to correct a member of the community who is at fault without arrogance, impatience or anger. )

 Paul continues,

“Bear in love with one another.

Forgive others as God has forgiven you.

And above all, clothe yourselves in love,


which binds everything together in perfect harmony. “

When we are clothed in love, when we put on Christ, then Jesus is truly in our midst, because  love is flowing freely through us, without interruption,  to one another. 

St Teresa of Avila put it this way

Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

We are Christ’s body in this world, each and every one of us. 

So when you pass through these doors today to go back into the world, remember that you, in every moment of your life, are passing through the cross,

And fulfill the law by loving one another. 

And remember,  as Karl Barth has said, that

“Love of one another ought to be undertaken as the protest against the course of this world, and it ought to continue without interruption.” 


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