• “Let the Mint Be the Mint,” a charge to how we are to be

    (At Michael’s installation on Sunday, June 23, the Rev. John D. Vertigan, the Conference Minister of the Indiana Kentucky Conference, gave Michael this charge. By implication, it extends to Old First as a whole…) I like that we are sitting here in historic Philadephia right next door to the US Mint. My sources tell me [...]

  • To Get Out of Solitary, Old First Sermon 05.12.13

    Acts 16: 16-26 and Acts 16:27-34 In last Sunday’s sermon, speaking about Paul’s missionary journey to Macedonia, I said: “God’s counting on us because we’re Christians to go places we can’t foresee, to speak with someone who we aren’t sure of and we certainly don’t really know, to say or do God knows what in [...]

  • What We Offer, Old First Sermon 05.05.13

    Psalm 67 and Acts 16:9-15 I love our passage from Acts. A dream. A trip and a task. A series of surprising twists and turns. And success that’s clearly not Paul and Silas and Timothy’s, but God’s… Let me start by asking, If someone asked after your Christian faith because they were in need of [...]

  • Too Sacred to Hold God Back, Old First Sermon 04.28.13

    Acts: 11:1-18 It’s an odd episode the lectionary serves up for a Sunday of the baptism of one of the newest daughters of our congregation. It’s not one of the very well known stories of the Bible, but I hope Jill and Greg will over the years teach it to Sonja. Not just to know [...]

  • Do We Persecute Jesus?, Old First Sermon, 04.14.13.

    (Michael preached a “conversational sermon” on Sunday, April 14, as he did as well on Christmas Eve. More off the cuff and story telling, from the front of the sanctuary, rather than the pulpit, and without a text… As we don’t currently have the capability to tape sermons, instead, he offers a brief summary.) Psalm [...]

  • Easter for Doubters (or Leaders for a Rising Future), Old First Sermon 04.07.13

    Revelation 1:4-8 and John 20:19-31 When I came up with the sermon title, I was only far enough along with the sermon to think of “Easter for Doubters.” Now finished, it could also be titled “Leaders for a Rising Future.” If Peter, in the pre-Easter narrative of Jesus and his closest cadre, is not quite [...]

  • Love at Large, Old First Easter Sermon 03.31.13

    Isaiah 25:6-9 and Mark 16:1-8. Without Easter, it can be said, we wouldn’t know about Jesus. I could mean without the resurrection, we wouldn’t really know him fully. But I’m speaking even more basically– if his story had ended with his crucifixion, he would have been forgotten. A religious reformer, trying to make the outward [...]

  • No Divine Necessity, but Human Inevitability, Old First Palm Sunday Sermon 03.24.13

    Isaiah 53:1-12, Psalm 22 and Mark 14:25-39 (Preacher’s note: Palm Sunday worshipers may recognize (thankfully) that the text of the sermon is longer than what I actually preachedI I excerpted on the fly to make room for the other aspects of Palm Sunday worship– especially the procession with the palms! But here is the sermon [...]

  • Redemption As A Table with Room and Food for All, Old First Sermon 03.17.13

    Exodus 12.1-4, 11-14 and Mark 14.12-71 What’s redemption look like? It’s a big question… a basic question… central since Christian faith is about God’s love for us in sending us a Savior… to free, redeem, liberate, save us. The next question logically then is how’s that salvation work? I always hope people see that God’s [...]

  • A Model Disciple (and She’s not one of the 12), Old First Sermon 03.10.13

    For those of you just joining us, we’re glad you are here. We’re about half way through our Lenten sermon series on the last 7 days of Jesus’ earthly life. We’re up to Wednesday of Holy week. I’ve spent much of this sermon series focused on Jesus struggle with the religious authorities. That struggle is [...]