Sermons at Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Do Not Be Afraid: Easter Sunday| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Do Not Be Afraid: Easter Sunday
When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb that first Easter, they went looking for the resurrection Jesus had promised. The first words they heard from the angel at the tomb were "Do not be afraid." Jesus said these same words to them when they met Him on the way to the disciples, "Do not be afraid." These were the words they would need to remember as they faced the time to come when Jesus would no longer be with them on earth, as they faced the disbelief of others, as they went out to spread His Word. The Risen Christ comes to show us the freedom of resurrection life; freedom from death, from sin, from all the things that keep us from living abundantly, that we can release our fears and attend to the life God wants for us here and now.
The Scripture references are Jeremiah 31:1-6 and Acts 10:34-43. The Gospel reference is Matthew 28:1-10.
Take Time to Mourn: Good Friday| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Take Time to Mourn: Good Friday
On Good Friday we try, much as did the disciples, to make sense of Jesus' death on the cross. Even the Gospel authors saw the events of that fateful day differently, each recalling it in slightly different terms and with different conclusions. Was this free will in its utmost form? Why did God allow this suffering? Today is not about finding the answers, but of taking the time to remember what Jesus means to us, then and now. We should not move too soon from our sorrow, but take the time to mourn the loss of our Savior.
The Scripture references are Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and Hebrews 10:16-25. The Gospel reference is John 19:1-37.
The Commonwealth of God: Palm Sunday| Speaker: Vicki Garvey
The Commonwealth of God: Palm Sunday
On that first Palm Sunday, two powerful forces converged on Jerusalem. The excitement for the arrival of Jesus, word of whose teachings and miracles had reached the throngs in the city to celebrate Passover, contrasted with the might and pomp of Pontius Pilate's legions and the power of Rome. Those in the city that day had a decision to make. Which parade do I join? Which vision will I follow?
The Scripture reference is Zechariah 9:9-12. The Gospel reference is Luke 19:28-40.
Can These Bones Live? The Fifth Sunday in Lent| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Can These Bones Live? The Fifth Sunday in Lent
The Valley of the Dry Bones in Ezekiel serves as a useful metaphor for so many times in our lives when we feel desolation and hopelessness. We feel the ache of loss just as Mary and Martha did at the tomb of Lazarus. It is at these times that we most need to remember that we are never alone, that God weeps with us and stands with us; He waits for us to speak life to places of desolation so that He can breathe life into us yet again, to raise up and restore us. God's resurrection is for us, in us, and with us.
The Scripture references are Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 30, and Romans 8:6-11. The Gospel reference is John 11:1-6, 17-45.
Giving Sight to the Blind: The Fourth Sunday in Lent| Speaker: The Reverend Denver Bitner
Giving Sight to the Blind: The Fourth Sunday in Lent
In the Gospel of John we learn of Jesus giving sight to a man blind from birth. The Reverend Denver Bitner, pastor emeritus of Zion Lutheran Church, shares with us how we each need to accept the gift of sight we have received, and to see God's works in the world around us.
The Scripture references are1 Samuel 16:1-13, Psalm 23, and Ephesians 5:8-14. The Gospel reference is John 9:1-41.
Good News About Bad Attitudes: The Third Sunday in Lent| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Good News About Bad Attitudes: The Third Sunday in Lent
Who of us hasn't felt like Moses must have at Meribah? We give something our all, like he did in leading the children of Israel out of bondage, and all we hear are snide comments and complaints that our efforts weren't enough. The harder question is, how many times have we acted like one of the Israelites demanding water, compared to those when we gave our best efforts? It's easy to see bad behavior in others, less so in ourselves. The good news is that God has given us all the gifts we need to change our behavior, to be supportive and helpful instead of critical and dismissive. Just like the Israelites, we are on our way to a good place and God will help us get there.
The Scripture references are Exodus 17:1-7. Psalm 95:1-7, and Romans 5:1-11. The Gospel reference is John 4:5-30.
Accepting The Gift: The Second Sunday in Lent| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Accepting The Gift: The Second Sunday in Lent
Jesus tells Nicodemus that he cannot know the kingdom of God without being "born from above", which is hard for Nicodemus to understand. But just as with our own birth, where life is given to us without effort on our part, that gift of eternal life is also given to us by God. It's not something we can get for ourselves but can just accept freely; everlasting life with God, not only after we die but here and now as well. Trusting and giving our hearts to this gift is to experience the abundance of life God wants for every one of us.
The Scripture references are Genesis 12:1-4a, Psalm 121, and Romans 4:1-5,13-17. The Gospel reference is John 3:1-17.
Finding Wilderness Time: The First Sunday in Lent| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Finding Wilderness Time: The First Sunday in Lent
The constant noise of our busy lives, be it in the demands of work and responsibility or the joy of time spent with family and friends, can make it nearly impossible to hear our own voices speaking or our bodies telling us to rest. We push on, trying to fill every moment with some sense of accomplishment, worried that we are wasting time. But if we never step outside of this busyness we will never hear ourselves, and if not ourselves neither will we hear God. Even Jesus needed to go out to the wilderness, to fast and pray, and to then be able to see the Tempter's illusion for the false promise it was. Lent is a reminder that we can step outside for just a bit. Seek your wilderness, and listen for the voice of God.
The Scripture references are Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Psalm 32:1-8, and Romans 5:12-19. The Gospel reference is Matthew 4:1-11.
Ash Wednesday: Getting a Good Look at Sin| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Ash Wednesday: Getting a Good Look at Sin
As we begin the season of Lent, we are called to examine the sins that make up our lives. The smaller "comfortable" sins that we convince ourselves aren't hurting anyone, being too busy for self reflection. The graver sins of omission that lead to neglect. Confession and repentance make us face the hard truth of who we are, and the greater truth of who God is and just how much we need Him. Lent is not about just looking at the depths of who we are, but also at the heights of who we were created to be.
The Scripture references are Joel 2:1-2,12-17, Psalm 103:8-14, and 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10. The Gospel reference is Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.
The Transfiguration: A Vision of the Resurrection| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
The Transfiguration: A Vision of the Resurrection
The Transfiguration confirms what Jesus has said, that everything will be different, especially in the face of losing one we love. Finding ourselves in the middle of change, we may be afraid but we are not alone. We have Jesus to guide us, to bring life where there is death, wholeness where there is brokenness. The essence of Christianity is that we do not need to fear death; death is a change, not an ending. When we die our life in Christ goes on. In the resurrection life we do not lose ourselves, we become our true selves forever. We cannot stay on the mountain, but we can choose how we go down; transfigured, the glory of Christ alive in us.
The Scripture references are Exodus 24:12-18, Psalm 99:1,2,5-8, and 2 Peter 1:16-21. The Gospel reference is Matthew 5:38-48.