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Sermons

Jesus Without An Asterisk

Sermon by Rev. Alexander E. Sharp — Even though I live on Chicago’s South Side, I’ve been here at St. Chrysostom’s several times throughout the fall. I’ve been helping John McLees design your forum on Mass Incarceration and Criminal Justice. The starting point for our series has been that the United States is the prison capital of the world. We incarcerate more people per capita than any country, including Russia, China, and South Africa. One in every 31 people has some connection to the criminal justice system.more...

For All The Saints

Growing up, my extended Roman Catholic family always had lots saints around. Saints were literally always among us. And they still are. Whether you open one of our car doors and find a rosary hanging from the rearview mirror, or a magnetized statue of Saint Christopher on the dashboard for protection, there is a saint for everything. Need to sell a house? Bury a St Joseph statue in the yard. Feeling desperate? Light a St. Jude candle—or, my favorite, a St. Antonio candle—he's on my desk upstairs, and helps me to find everything from lost keys to missing jewelry. more...

On Social Justice

Five hundred years ago this coming Tuesday—October 31, 1517, called All Hallow’s Eve and of course Halloween—the Roman Catholic professor, monk, and priest Martin Luther nailed a list of questions for debate on the Wittenberg Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The title he gave this list of questions was “The Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” but not surprisingly it quickly became known as the 95 Theses. Popular legend has it that Luther defiantly nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the famous church, but it’s just as likely Luther hung the document on the door of the church simply to announce to the public the academic discussion he hoped would ensue. But in just one year the Pope Leo X would condemn Luther’s writings as conflicting with the teachings of the Church—“scandalous and offensive to pious ears” it was declared. By 1520 Luther was declared a heretic. And just a year after that, 1521, Luther was officially excommunicated from the Church.more...

Rendering To Caesar: Citizenship After Christendom

Sermon by the Very Rev. Andrew McGowan — Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God’s.”more...

The Trinity is a Trick Question

Long ago, my father’s family attended the church in rural Iowa where his grandfather was senior pastor. One week, his Sunday School teacher asked the class to tell her what the Trinity was; foolishly thinking the Pastor’s grandson would give an excellent answer to that question, she called on Dad. He answered without missing a beat: “It means that God is two-faced.” Needless to say, she sent him out to sit in the hallway. more...

In the Loop

Sermon by the Rt. Rev'd. Dr. Stephen Platten — There’s something faintly embarrassing about admitting I remember when the film of the musical Calamity Jane was first released. It’s particularly embarrassing when I tell you that Doris Day, the star of the film has just passed the milestone of her ninety-fifth birthday! I feel like a dinosaur. The music from Calamity Jane was of a high quality, but more to the point, it was also the first I learnt of this great metropolis on the shores of Lake Michigan. One of the songs was, of course, Just Blew in From the Windy City. It paints a wonderful picture of mid-nineteenth century Chicago. The song contrasts this place’s vitality with the pioneer country, even the hillbilly life of the cowboy locals of Kansas.more...

Christ Will Come Again

Sermon by the Rev. Roger Ferlo — It’s relatively easy to celebrate redemption on Easter Day. But it’s harder and harder to sustain the Easter spirit as Sunday passes into Sunday. It’s especially hard in these latter days, when for many people the days are shadowed by uncertainty and anxiety about where the country or where the world is headed, no matter where we find ourselves on the political spectrum.more...

Interrupting a Perfectly Good Cry

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look inside the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’” (John 20: 11-13a) more...

Guilty as Charged

When Jesus enters the holy city of Jerusalem atop his trusty steed, it’s to cheers and cries of “Make Israel great again.” It’s a demonstration, a march, a rally. There’s no doubt this event has political, religious, and economic implications. But there is ambiguity here: is this a military coup or is it a peace demonstration? Is this about civil disobedience a la Henry David Thoreau or is this about religious reformation a la Martin Luther? Is Jesus making a run for president here or is he lampooning the whole politico-religious system? Think of the great prophet Moses delivering the people from the oppression of Pharaoh—or the great King David fighting against Goliath and defeating the Philistines. There were ancient symbolic resonances of Jesus’ action here.more...

I Was Blind, and Now I See

Now, O Lord, take my lips and speak through them; take our minds and think through them; take our hearts and set them on fire with love for you, Lord Jesus. Amen.more...

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