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Sermon: Nothing better to do

Nothing Better to Do Text: Matthew 13:31-33; 44-52 (Gary W. Charles, Cove Presbyterian Church, Covesville, VA, 7-30-2017) Words are elusive and slippery as eels. Ask any poet. It is one thing to speak of being attentive. It is quite another thing to capture the reality of being attentive in words. The poet, Mary Oliver gives it an admirable try in the opening of her poem, “Mockingbirds”: This morning two mockingbirds in the green field were spinning and tossing the white ribbons of their song into the air. I had nothing better to do than listen. Mary Oliver gives sage advice for anyone trying to pay attention to the words of Jesus: “I had nothing better to do than listen.” Read the Gospels.

Sermon: Collected and Gathered

July 23, 2017 Cove Presbyterian Church Genesis 29:15-28 Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43 Rev. Dr. Jill Duffield Collected and Gathered We get another parable this week, and more talk of seeds, but this time we get to deal with weeds, too. We know Jesus is teaching in this chapter, sometimes to the crowds, sometimes just to the disciples, no doubt in response t o the rejection he’s already encountered. Our task it to try and figure out not just what Jesus was doing way back then, but what he wants to say to us right here and now. So, let’s start with a pretty basic question: Who are we in this parable? According to Jesus, our only two options are wheat or weeds. Jesus is the sower, the Son of Man, the f

Sermon: Seedy Work

July 16, 2017, Proper 10, Cove Presbyterian Psalm 119:105-112, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 Rev. Dr. Jill Duffield Seedy Work Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis has been arrested many times, most recently in 2013 while protesting for immigration reform. Over the course of his innumerable sit-ins, marches and acts of non-violent resistance, he has been on the receiving end of spit, clubs and tear gas. In Selma, he suffered a fractured skull as a result of the beating he endured. In a recent article about how the comic book, “March” came to be, writer Alex Johnson says, “Lewis and those who marched with him confronted bats and guns, wielded both by uniformed authorities and lynch mob terr

Sermon: A Word for the Weary

A Word for the Weary Text: Matthew 11:16-19; (Gary W. Charles, Cove Presbyterian Church, Covesville, VA, 7-9-2017) A deeply troubled man walks onto a dimly lit stage. He has not bathed or shaved for quite some time. The orchestra begins to play as Judas sings: My mind is clearer now – at last all too well I can see where we all soon will be. If you strip away the myth from the man you will see where we all soon will be. Jesus! You’ve started to believe the things they say of you. You really do believe this talk of God is true. And all the good you’ve done will soon get swept away. You’ve begun to matter more than anything you say. In Andrew Lloyd Weber’s, Jesus Christ Superstar, Judas is wea

Sermon: Whoever

Whoever Text: Matthew 10:40-42 (Gary W. Charles, Cove Presbyterian Church, Covesville, VA, 7-2-1017) Our house in Alexandria, Virginia was full to overflowing. The average age at this dinner party was 19, with a few guests several years younger and a couple as old as 24. It took all my concentration to follow the conversation, because though all the guests were speaking English, it was English tinted with a lovely Northern Ireland brogue. This group of young Irish men and women had come to the D.C. area for an international Habitat build and were sponsored by an interreligious peacebuilding association. All our guests had grown up in and around Belfast. Many had come from troubled family ba

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