Sermons by Pastor Stacey-Kyle Rea

Advent 1B – December 3, 2017

Keep awake! Our entry into Advent, the season of waiting is a command. Keep awake. There’s something about that command. The assumption that we are inclined to fall asleep. To lose focus. To not be prepared. And we get the command from Jesus in this weird, apocalyptic sounding message. Can’t we just have a nice, quiet, peaceful beginning to Advent? Well, no.…

Pentecost 23A – November 12, 2017

Keep awake. Ten maidens sleeping, awakened to the cry at midnight. “The bridegroom is coming.”

This parable is yet another allegory. The wedding is the coming of Jesus, the bridegroom is Jesus, the maidens are the members of the church, the wedding banquet depicts the fully realized reign of God, and the rejection of the foolish maidens indicates the final judgment.1 So we, the church are the maidens in this tale. The delay of the bridegroom was longer than hoped for, longer than expected.

We do not do well with delay. We like the package we ordered to arrive as soon as we order it. We want the annoying hold music to stop and to actually speak to a human when we call customer service. In our spiritual journey, we are the child, constantly crying out “Are we there yet?” So falling asleep once midnight hits seems obvious. We are easily distracted. Which is why I will repeat the words, “Keep awake.” Stay prepared.

All ten maidens look exactly the same. Dressed for a wedding. Lamps at their side. Sleeping in the dark. None look foolish in this scene. And we can walk through everyday life looking prepared, too. We come to church and sit in the pews, or go to Sunday School, and clearly that’s enough to be ready for the day that Jesus comes again, right? Perhaps we need to look at what makes some bridesmaids foolish.

The foolish were foolish for their lack of preparedness. They expected the bridegroom on time, in the way they had imagined him to come. Perhaps they rushed, without thinking of everything they would need. This is precisely what makes the 5 ladies foolish.

The wise packed extra oil. And because the oil represents our faith, our spiritual “backup reserves”, the other 5 bridesmaids can’t really give it to the unprepared bridesmaids. This work is part of a lifetime’s journey of spiritual discipline and trusting in faith. The foolish did not realize the importance of the wedding. They had no idea what was at stake. And sometimes, we are foolish. We’ve all gone on a road trip and forgotten something important. Do you turn around to get it, or do you continue the journey and trust you can live without it?

The problem we face in this parable is that we are faced with two realities: the rules we create about proper etiquette in this world, and the demands God places on our hearts for the good of the Kingdom. And every time we find ourselves sleeping on the job, we are hastened awake in a fury. The bridegroom is with us.

When we are properly prepared, the oil of our soul is always with us. The light of Christ is shining so that others may see our good works and know that the glory is God’s, not our own. Deeds of mercy and prayer, studying God’s word through Bible study, forgiving others, fighting for justice and peace, faithfully attending worship in community. These are just a few examples of how we keep our lamps trimmed and burning,

Pentecost 14A – September 10, 2017

As we await Hurricane Irma’s landfall in Florida, we begin with a prayer from our Bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod. Let us pray. Gracious Lord Jesus, who in the midst of the storm cried out, “Peace, be still!”, we pray for the calming of Hurricane Irma and for the protection of all who are in danger. We pray for those who…

Pentecost 8A – July 30, 2017

Today’s Gospel is a menagerie of parables. Jesus floods the disciples with parables, and then asks if they understand. They say, YES. Do we understand? Sometimes we say we do. Maybe we don’t want to reveal to others that we don’t really know what the Bible is saying. What Jesus is saying. So, like the disciples, we just say “Got it! Thanks.”…

Pentecost 4A – July 23, 2017

In the name of the Father, and + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. What is the fruit, and what is the weed? It can be tough in the first weeks of a planting season to figure out the difference between something you meant to plant, and something that decided to grow. To confuse weeds or grass with the actual seedlings…

Pentecost 6A – July 16, 2017

We hear this story of the sower and we might think – well, why didn’t the sower just put all the seeds in the good soil to start with? Why waste all that effort and the seeds? Why wasn’t the sower more CAREFUL with resources? Why does the church waste so much effort on people who are not going to change? Why…

St John’s Lutheran Church Phoenixville