Sermon: Hail Thee, Festival Day

When the resurrected Jesus meets the Marys after they found the tomb empty, he tells us them to “rejoice.” It isn’t just a command. It’s a type of greeting — a cheerful, “Hello!”

The King James Bible has a unique interpretation of Matthew 28:9, in which Jesus says, “All hail” to the Marys. The word “hail” has a unique meaning — it means that something is good, and in the greeting of someone else, you call out the goodness for all that is. When we say “Happy Easter,” we’re hoping that the other person will be able to fully enter into the festivities of the celebration.

Today is the feast of Easter — when death has been swallowed up in victory and love proves stronger than death. The Christian faith is a kind of party that connects to the whole of creation. All hail!

“Hail Thee, Festival Day”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby

Click to listen to the Easter Sunday choir anthems for the day.

“Hail Thee, Festival Day”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Matthew 28: 1-9
April 21, 2019 • Easter Sunday

Sermon: God With Us

As the Advent season begins, it’s a good time to reflect on how we see God. Early Gnostics struggled to see God with human qualities? Humans are so messy, limited and full of fault.

As a human, Jesus transformed the image of God, but it was still difficult for many to grasp — and still is to this day. How can Christ be both human and divine? It leads many people to “Christian-splain” things — creating images of God and how God would act in certain situations.

But it’s really not that complicated. When we look into the faces of other people, we look into the face God. I can only imagine that when Mary kissed the face of Jesus when he was born, she was in awe and curious as to how he will change the world. We should feel that awe in each encounter we have with others.

“God With Us” by Dr. Jodie Lyon

“God With Us”
Sermon by Dr. Jodie Lyon
John 1:1-14
Dec. 2, 2018 • First Sunday of Advent

Listen to the Choir Anthem: “Come, Emmanuel!

Sermon: The Stone Left Standing

The temple in Jerusalem was an architectural masterpiece. It certainly had significant religious significance for those of the Jewish faith, but additionally was a massive structure that dominated the landscape. So when Jesus goes to the temple and says that it will be destroyed and he will rebuild it in three days, it was a bold proclamation.

We now know that Jesus didn’t mean he will literally rebuild the physical structure of the temple, but rather the structure of the church. And at the heart of the rebuilding is us — the people of God.

It’s important to recognize that although we have each been given the of God, Jesus still wants us to be the church.  The community of believers is integral to our faith — calling out our sinfulness, lifting our spirits and collaboratively impacting change in the world. We are the church. We need the church.


“The Stone Left Standing”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Mark 13: 1-8
Nov. 18, 2018

Sermon: “The Quality of Mercy”

Jesus tells us how to deal with those who sin against us, and not surprisingly, it’s countercultural. Where in society when we confront disagreement it’s so easy to block someone on Twitter, or unfriend them on Facebook, Jesus says we should first go talk to the person, face-to-face. Because when we talk to someone, there’s something about our humanity that makes us want to reconcile.

Jesus also tells us that forgiveness is unlimited. As Christians, we above all people should recognize mercy — God has given us endless forgiveness. And through God’s people, we have continuously been shown the love and mercy of God. We are only here because of the boundless generosity of God.


“The Quality of Mercy”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Matthew 18: 15-35
Sept. 24, 2017

Sermon: The Apostle’s Magic and Mystery Tour

While it would seem that nobody really believes in magic, if we’re honest, a great deal of what passes for faith can tend toward magic if we’re not careful.

Magic attempts to control results and predict the future, while faith remains open to the unmanageable gifts that God puts in our lives. When life hands us a situation we can’t control, our trust that God is at work among us is more a matter of spiritual perception than it is our innate ability to conjure impressive results. With a little help from Harry Potter, we’ll see that a life well lived is less about asking “what abilities do I have that allow me to control my life” and more about the question repentance leads us to ask– “what  do I need to do to be the person God wants me to be?”


The Apostle’s Magic and Mystery Tour
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Acts 8: 4-25
July 9, 2017

Why is Jesus so concerned with manners?

"Peacock and Peahen." Art by Nagasawa Rosetsu, 18th Japanese painter.

“Peacock and Peahen.” Art by Nagasawa Rosetsu, 18th Japanese painter.

Why is Jesus so concerned with manners? He’s always telling his disciples where to go, when to leave, how to act, and most importantly, who to eat with.

The mystery of faith as much to do with manners as it does belief.



“Manners and Mysteries”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Luke 14:1, 7-14
Aug. 28, 2016

The Gospel is not a “kingdom checklist”

File Aug 07, 12 36 09 PM

Pastor Joe Gunby blesses children and backpacks as the school year begins.

It’s easy to focus on one aspect of the Gospel and trust we will “inherit the kingdom” if we just do that one thing God wants us to do. But the Gospel is not merely a checklist. Jesus tells us that we can relax in the knowledge that God already loves us and we should not focus on earthly possessions that ultimately create worry. We shouldn’t give to check off a box on the “kingdom checklist,” but instead give out of love, with the knowledge that God will provide for us.


The Word in Song: “I Want to Be Ready”

“Striving After the Given”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Luke 12:22-34
August, 7, 2016