Living Water-the Rev. Nancy Wright

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: June 24, 2012
Visiting preacher: the Rev. Nancy Wright, Pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church, S. Burlington, Vermont.

1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 10-16, Psalm 113, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, Mark 4:35-31

It is wonderful to return to St. Michael’s; my ten years of ministry here with Jeff Gill and Fred Hill were full of wonderful memories, and sad memories, as it was the 80’s during the height of the AIDs epidemic. The church was a family in ministering to those in need.

My being here was in the capacity of a spiritual director, and it’s in that capacity that I know Rev. Liz Maxwell, as well as a good friend.

As I am on sabbatical, you are the first congregation with which I can share the travels and insights and prayers of my heart. I’ll dive right in. (more…)

The Fifth Sunday of Easter-Christopher Ashley

The Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 6, 2012

Preacher: Christopher Ashley, PhD student in Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary and parishioner at St. Michael’s Church.

 Acts 8:26-40, Psalm 22:24-30, 1 John 4:7-21, John 15:1-8

When I was in college, the best White preacher in town was an English Baptist named Josh Moody. At the conclusion of every sermon, after he’d said a closing prayer, he’d turn around and gesture toward the full-body baptistry that sat behind his pulpit, more or less where our altar is. And he’d say these words: “Look, here is water. Why should you not be baptized? If you believe with all your heart, you may. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

I was never a member of Pastor Josh’s church, but my friends who were described a striking effect from hearing this liturgical formula. They began to want to answer it. This didn’t happen the first time, but by the second or third, people would hear in this repeated invitation something to which their hearts had to respond. People who’d been baptized young would begin to wonder if their baptisms were real. People who’d grown up in churches like Pastor Josh’s would wonder if their belief was real. And people who were new to the Christian faith, people who were having their first church experiences with Pastor Josh in the pulpit, felt the greatest pressure of all. They felt asked to take an action, with water; and they were asked not only to believe in something very strange—that God had become human—but to believe this strange thing with all their heart. (more…)