The Rev. Jay Lawlor Sermons

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The Rev. Jay Lawlor “The Urgency of God's Reign” 1 Lent, Year B, February 18, 2018 St. Alban's Episcopal Church – Indianapolis, IN Mark 1:9-15 Mark's gospel is about the urgency of getting to the work of God's reign. It is why Mark presents us with much shorter narratives than the similar stories in Matthew or Luke. Today's reading for the First Sunday in Lent is no different. Yet, for such a short narrative, this week's passage from Mark's Gospel includes three episodes: Jesus’ baptism (Mark 1:9-11), his temptation (Mark 1:12-13), and his inaugural preaching (Mark 1:14-15). The three scenes are related and are instructive for us as Christian's today. They individually and collectively speak to how the “kingdom (or reign) of God has come near” in Jesus. As one commentator wrote this week: “God’s kingdom -- better, “kingship,” “reign,” “sovereignty” -- is not a place but a power. It ...
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The Rev. Jay Lawlor “Jesus as the Incursion of God” 4th Sunday After the of Epiphany, Year B, January 28, 2018 St. Paul's Episcopal Church - Richmond, IN Mark 1:21-28 First acts are important. The first act in a book, play, or movie establishes what the story is going to be about and sets us on the journey as that story unfolds. Paying attention to the first thing Jesus does as a public act of ministry in a gospel is important to the theology and outlook of the gospel writer. In Mark, Jesus' first act of public ministry is to go to the synagogue and teach. While there, he heals a man of an unclean spirit – he calls out evil with authority. The crowd is so amazed at Jesus' teaching “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once ...
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The Rev. Jay Lawlor "Follow Me" 2nd Sunday After the Epiphany, Year B, January 21, 2018 St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Richmond, IN Mark 1:14-20 After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:14-15 NRSV) Here Mark chronicles the beginning of Jesus' public ministry – the start of his movement. John the Baptist has been imprisoned, and Jesus sets out on his own. He comes to the small fishing village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. He proclaims good news. The term Good news (the word gospel), was commonly used in antiquity to announce benefits to the people. Here, Jesus announces God's intervention on behalf of the people. The kingdom (reign) of God has come near in the person of ...
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The Rev. Jay Lawlor “Come and See” 2nd Sunday After the of Epiphany, Year B, January 14, 2018 St. Paul's Episcopal Church - Richmond, IN John 1:43-51 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:45-46 NRSV) Come and see is one of my favorite phrases from Scripture because it is a simple invitation which can be profoundly transformative. It is an invitation to come and see who this Jesus is and how he wants to change the world – how he wants to invite us into his movement to change the world. Come and see how Jesus wants to bring God's loving, liberating, life-giving wholeness to a fractured world. Come ...
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The Rev. Jay Lawlor Baptism of our Lord, Year B, January 7, 2018 Church of the Nativity, Episcopal – Indianapolis, IN Mark 1:4-11 This First Sunday after the Epiphany we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord. We are in Year B of the Lectionary cycle, so we have Mark's account of Jesus' baptism. John goes to the Jordan River to prepare the way for Jesus. Mark writes of John: He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:7-8, NRSV) Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit – the very breath of God – to empower his movement of love, liberation, and life. But first Jesus comes to be baptized by John. So what are we ...
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