Jonah’s Call

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Third Sunday of Epiphany

January 21 2018

Jonah 3:1-10; Mark 1:14-20


Epiphany, the season of appearances, began two weeks ago, when Three Wise Kings following a star from Persia arrived at a manger in Bethlehem with gifts for the new born God-Man.  The Divine Child appeared to the Chaldeans as the Spirit would appear to him, 29 years later, when John the Baptist immersed the adult Son of Man in the River Jordon.  The Magi had been led by a star to the Christ Child; the Son of Man would be led by the Spirit into the desert.  Each of us must make an analogous journey, from our birth-place to the wilderness; alone in the desert, each of us, guarded by solicitous angels, must have our mettle tested, before we can resume the company of persons and the responsibilities of cities. In this way, we undertake the process of theosis, the sanctification that perfects our love and its expressions.  For a follower of Jesus, this process – our spiritual life – begins, but does not end, with baptism.   Continue reading

The Sunday of Epiphany, The Baptism of the Lord, and the Doctrine of Perfection

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

January 7, 2018

Isaiah 60:1, 2, 4; Mark 1:4-5, 9-11


On this feast day morning, the voices of Isaiah and Mark blend together, as do the voices we often hear of people speaking across rooms, across generations, and across creation.  As the Three Kings arrive in Bethlehem, a royal conversation moves us forward; Mark’s voice is matter of fact, Isaiah’s more poetic. These are the voices of Little Christmas and the Jordon River, two appearances, one following on the heal of the other, despite a chronological gap of 29 years between Christ’s infancy and his Baptism.   Continue reading

Mary the Birthgiver of God: the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Mary the Birthgiver of God

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Sunday Before the Nativity

Luke 1:46-55

December 24, 2017


May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, Our Lord and Our Redeemer.  Amen.

The Christmas story we celebrate this morning will soon culminate in the Nativity, and in the final moments of our preparation for this wondrous event, Mary accepts for us her central role.  In return, nightly throughout the world, as part of the Church’s daily Vespers service, thousands of voices recall the beauty of Mary’s song, by reciting it as prayer in praise of God.  The words to the song are perhaps the loveliest words ever spoken by a human being, and they are imbued with the extraordinary radiance of the woman who speaks them.  “My soul glorifies the Lord,” Mary says, “and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”    Continue reading

The Light of the Deliverer: 3rd Sunday of Advent

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

December 17, 2017

Lections: Isaiah 61:1-4; 8-end; Psalm 126:3; John 1:6-8

            “God of all Being, Speak to us once more
your Word of truth, that our lives may be filled with your joy,
this day, and forever. Amen.”

The gospel reading this week continues Advent’s focus on the relationship between Jesus and his cousin, John the Baptist; last week, our readings described John’s preparation for the world to receive the gift and gift-giver who was the promised Deliverer of humanity from its bondage to wrong-doing.   This week the emphasis is on the character of the Deliverer, that is, Light, and the special requirements necessary to receive the gift of Light in the World. As the turn of repentance gives our lives new meaning, we move from the desert and its harsh solitude to the towns where we make our home with others.  We are like the watercourses in Israel’s Negev, its Desert of the south; our steps forge new relationship with others.  We come to embody Love, moved by the same Spirit revealed in the appearance of the Trinity at the Baptism of Jesus.   Continue reading

Advent in the Wilderness: the Second Sunday of Advent, Year B

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

December 10, 2017

Lections: Isaiah 40:1-11; Mark 1:1-13


Two dogmatic assertions are associated with today’s lighting of the candle of love: first, God is love, and second, God is a gift-giver.  When we talk about the “timeless grace” of God, as we do in our opening prayer, we are talking about God as gift-giver.  When we sing “Love Came Down at Christmas,” we are singing about God as love. Putting these two concepts together, we see that love is the timeless act of divine-giving. It is fitting, therefore, that we exchange gifts to celebrate the birth of the child who is both gift and gift-giver. Creation is sustained by an on-going and timeless act of sacred gift.   Continue reading

The Present through the Promise

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

December 3, 2017  1 Advent Year B

Lections: Isaiah 64:1-9, Mark 13:24-37


We begin our celebration of the new Church year with a verse from Isaiah, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (64:8). Isaiah is telling us God shapes each person, much like a potter shapes clay; clay is a symbol for what comes out of the earth. We can dig clay in the fields behind the parsonage, and this marks the distinction between God and persons:  God creates the material world, and we are creatures made from the stuff of that creation, stuff like clay. The potter God, however, is not fashioned by clay. The one God, creator of everything that is, doesn’t even exist in the sense that the person, a creature, does.   Continue reading