Sermon: Going to Graceland

Going to Graceland Matthew 20:1-16 (Gary W. Charles, Cove Presbyterian Church, Covesville, VA, 9-24-2017) I’m going to Graceland. Don’t know when; can’t tell you what it’s going to look like exactly, but I’m going to Graceland. And, when I arrive, look out! I’m gonna sing, gonna laugh, gonna act like some wild-eyed fool who has just won the lottery. Someday, somehow, I’m going to Graceland. An old Lerner and Loewe musical from the 1950s was called Brigadoon. In it, a couple of young Americans go on a hunting trip in the hills of Scotland. While there, they stumble upon a charming village not found on any map, the village of Brigadoon. This quaint town appears only once every century or on r

Sermon: Evangelical

Evangelical Text: Matthew 18:21-35 (Gary W. Charles, Cove Presbyterian Church, Covesville, 9-17-2017) I am an “evangelical.” Say that word in the current political climate and some chortle in disbelief, “Gary, you, an evangelical, yeah right!” Some recoil in horror, “Oh my God, Gary, what happened to you?” Some demand the facts, “If that is so, Gary, then show me your credentials!” Few words in the English language have had more varied and sometimes nuanced meanings than “evangelical.” Too often today the word is held hostage by the religious right wing. These are folks who check theological uncertainty at the door and by so doing they shrink the meaning of this fine word into sanctified me

Sermon: Betty's Diner

Betty’s Diner Text: Matthew 18:15-20 (Gary W. Charles, Cove Presbyterian Church, Covesville, VA, 9-10-2017) I first heard Carrie Newcomer at a Lilly Endowment conference in Indianapolis. We were eating standard convention tasteless food and suffering under an emcee who was trying desperately to be a comedian. So, when this well-intentioned “comedian” emcee introduced our evening’s musical entertainment, I slumped in my seat. I had eaten bad food and listened to bad comedy and was preparing myself for bad music. Boy, was I wrong! When Carrie opened her mouth, I began to drop mine. Not only does she have a luscious voice, she is one of the finest singing theologians I know. Some people think

Sermon: The Good Life

The Good Life Text: Matthew 16:21-28 (Gary W. Charles, Cove Presbyterian Church, Covesville, VA, 9-3-2017) I was blessed with good parents. Out of financial necessity, they went to work right out of high school. They worked hard for modest salaries and they saved when most people of my generation would have spent – with one memorable exception. They consistently gave my late brother and me more than they could reasonably afford. Their rationale was: “We want you boys to have what we didn’t have.” In so many tangible ways, they sacrificed so that they could give us “the good life.” I did learn a great deal about the good life from my parents, but ironically, I learned not in the way that th

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