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The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchOctober 24, 2021Proper 25, BMark 10:46-52Remove our fear and our love can flourishSo, Jesus met a man on the outskirts of Jericho who was blind and lived his life begging on the streets. Who was this guy? Did he have any family? If so, why wouldn’t they care for him? He wasn’t crazy. Had no demon. He w…
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchOctober 17, 2021Proper 24, BMark 10:35-45Be a Friendly, Neighborhood Spider-ManIn the movie Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker, desperately wants to be an Avenger. The Avengers, such as Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow, are Earth’s mightiest superheroes. Their base of operat…
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchOctober 10, 2021Proper 23, BMark 10:17-31“F%&k You Jobu, I’ll Do It Myself.”In the 1989 movie, Major League, star slugger, Pedro Cerano, could hit the ball clear out of the park as often and with a swing almost as beautiful as Yordan Alvarez’. Unfortunately, in the movie Major League, Pedro Cerano, sup…
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchSeptember 26, 2021Proper 121, BMark 7:24-37Glorious Train Wrecks and Glorious SymphoniesHave you ever had a terrible empathy fail? You’re overcome with emotion, exhausted, and totally stressed out by all that is going on, and you feel completely not good enough for all that is going on. So, you talk to…
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchSeptember 5, 2021Proper 18, BMark 7:24-37Casting Down Our sIeDlOvLeSsThere have often been times when I’ve been in a large group of people and found that I had a great fondness for a good many of the people there, and at the same time, I’ve found a great antipathy for another large part of the group. I…
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchAugust 22, 2021Proper 16, BEphesians 6:10-20John 6:56-69Spiritual Meals: Jesus, IT, and Other Tasty TreatsI’ve been re-reading IT, a novel by Stephen King about a group of friends from Derry Maine who band together as children and then again as adults to defeat a shapeshifting demon-clown monster thing…
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchAugust 8, 2021Proper 14, BEphesians 4:25 - 5:2John 6:35, 41-51“These Are the Pale Deaths Which Men Miscall Their Lives”We aren’t wretched, you know? Paul writes in Ephesians about ways which we want to give up: lying, anger, bitterness, wrath, slander, evil talk, malice, stealing, all of these and more…
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchJuly 18, 2021Proper 11, BMark 6:30-34, 53-56“Rest, and Let Me Take Care of This for a While”Is anyone else tired?One thing people have been finding coming out of the pandemic is that they are exhausted. Part of this is that people are tired from the pandemic itself and all of the stress and extra work …
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchJuly 11, 2021Proper 10, BMark 6:14-29Filling the Hollows of Our LivesPaul wrote in Ephesians that we have an inheritance in Christ as God’s children, God’s beloved people. That inheritance is living God’s kingdom of love, united to God and to one another in this life and in the life to come.Paul went o…
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchJune 20, 2021Proper 7, BJob 38:1-112 Corinthians 6:1-13Mark 4:35-41A Mystery Beyond My Comprehension, and That’s Enough For MeI don’t remember the first time I heard the story of Jesus sleeping through a terrible wind storm at sea and then silencing the storm with a word, but I imagine it went somethin…
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchJune 6, 2021Proper 5, BGenesis 3:8-15Mark 3:20-35“You Can’t Fight in Here. This Is the War Room.”Strange as it may sound, today’s Gospel reading made me think of a scene from the movie Dr. Strangelove, where The U.S. President, and a Russian Ambassador, and the top U.S. General are all trying to avert …
 
Paul wrote of Jesus as sitting at the right hand of God in the heavenly places (where these other gods dwelt), and Paul wrote the church as the body of Christ, dwelling as Christ’s body with God in the heavenly places right now, so that we are both here on earth living out our mortal lives and at the same time we are in the heavenly places joined t…
 
When Israel was complaining in the desert that they were going to die of hunger in the desert because they didn't like the food God daily provided for them, God sent serpents among them. Then God had Moses set up a bronze serpent for the people to look upon when they were bitten, and be healed. Now, this bronze serpent was not like Medusa in revers…
 
So as we have this season of joy to seek further release from our various prisons, in what prison do you find yourself? Fear? Anger? Scarcity? Jealousy? Feelings of discontent and raging against aspect of society that you just can’t abide? All of these and more are the prisons we find ourselves in, and with Jesus’ help, we can be freed from all of …
 
Our faith in God, our life with God was embodied in Jesus, and any faith or belief in Jesus that does not deeply and richly involve our bodies in this life is a heretical faith and belief in Jesus. After healing people all night, Jesus got up early the next morning to go pray, and when his disciples found him, he said, “Let us go on to the neighbor…
 
Jesus’ words were a call to see the holy ground all around, to see every common bush afire with heaven. Jesus’ words were a call to see every person around as a beloved child of God. Sinners, saints, outcasts, and rulers, all beloved children of God. Those who were willing to see had their lives changed by Jesus’ invitation to live God’s kingdom, a…
 
A couple thousand years ago, Jesus was born to set us free. The Creator of the Universe became a human being in human flesh and walked among us. Even with that great coming of Jesus, the light of God living with us in the world, we still lose our way and get trapped by the darkness, and so into that darkness, God continues to give little epiphanies…
 
Repentance means that with that hope and mercy, we then get to reckon with those worst parts of ourselves. We have to reckon with the worst of ourselves because we can’t be free of those things, free of the worst parts of ourselves, if we don’t bring them with us when we come seeking mercy and redemption. When we do bring those worst parts of ourse…
 
As our king, Jesus wants us to see the importance of people all around us and seek to walk to the path of the righteous one, shepherding one another, caring for each other, and lifting each other up. That’s life in God’s kingdom. Not with God as an angry hitman, and not with God as a king who, quite apart from all of us, tells us we better be pure …
 
A mother gave her daughter a soothing bath when she came home from school angry, frustrated, shouting, and in tears. Now that was a loving response. She saw her daughter hurting. Past the tears, anger, and probable shouting and disrespect, this mother saw her daughter in desperate need of some soothing, some love, and some being cared for. Past som…
 
What do we give to God? Everything. I don’t mean that we should give God everything or we aught to give God everything. I mean, whether intended or not, we give God everything. The kindnesses we give to the people we know and love, and the kindnesses we give to the people we hardly know are given to God. Similarly, the hurt, contempt, and indiffere…
 
This story is not about an either/or, in-group/out-group, one side over another conflict in which we get to declare “Jesus good" and “chief priest and elders bad.” Both sides in this conflict brought some to follow more closely the will of God. The deeper music was not whose religious practices were best. The deeper music was the seeking of God, th…
 
Who do we say Jesus is? Is Jesus the one who makes us perfect so that we can be around other perfect people? Nah. That’s not who Jesus is, and that’s not what the church is. The church is the broken, the beaten, the blessed, and the damned, people who need healing, gathering together for strength and support. The church is people who are imperfectl…
 
Let the weeds grow along with the wheat, Jesus said, so that we don’t all get damaged by pulling the weeds out. Imagine if everyone who wanted to pull the weeds out of society or out of the church was able to do so. There wouldn’t be any wheat left. Everyone would be pulled up and cast out because everyone is a weed in someone’s eyes. So, Jesus sai…
 
The Rev. Brad SullivanEmmanuel Episcopal ChurchJune 7, 2020Trinity Sunday, AGenesis 1:1 - 2:4a2 Corinthians 13:11-13Matthew 28:16-20Some of you have heard before a story I told of a former youth, now a young woman, who told me that all I do is talk for a living. She was joking around, at least kind of joking, and during times like this past week, I…
 
We’re united, one in God, one in Jesus, one in love. We are all one in our need to be set free from burdens that oppress us, and we are all one in finding salvation, finding freedom from those burdens through Jesus, casting our burdens upon him and turning our wills and our lives over to him. No other issue or belief is greater than that. The freed…
 
Brad SullivanProper 14, Year CAugust 11, 2019Emmanuel, HoustonLuke 12:32-40Dance With the Demons“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” We live with quite a lot of fear, don’t we? Fears of all kinds and varieties. Economic insecurity, health issues. Fear of loss. We have fears of violence, fe…
 
Brad SullivanThe Epiphany, Year CJanuary 6, 2019Emmanuel, HoustonIsaiah 60:1-6Matthew 2:1-12Flawed Dreams and Unexpected LoveHappy Epiphany y’all. Christmas ended yesterday, and the joy of Christmas now continues on in the Epiphany, the revelation of Jesus, of the God-baby to the nations through the Magi, and if I’m being honest, I feel the joy of …
 
Brad Sullivan3 Advent, Year CDecember 16, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonIsaiah 40:1-11Luke 1:26-38“I Love You.” “I know.”There’s a scene in the movie, “The Empire Strikes Back” in which one of the heroes, Han Solo, is about to be taken away by the villainous, evil Empire, and just before he’s taken away, one of the other heroes, Princess Leia, says, “I love…
 
Brad Sullivan1 Advent, Year CDecember 2, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonJeremiah 33:14-16Psalm 25:1-91 Thessalonians 3:9-13Luke 21:25-36Prisoners of Hope“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly.” Happy Advent everyone. Here at the beginning of the …
 
Brad SullivanProper 28, Year BNovember 18, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonMark 13:1-8…Then Were We Like Those Who Dream…“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy.” (Psalm 126:1-2) That’ Psalm 126 verses 1-2, and whether in those words or in other…
 
Brad SullivanProper 25, Year BOctober 28, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonMark 10:46-52Isaiah 2:2-4 Out of Anger, Hatred, and Killing, “Let There Be Light” “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep…Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:…
 
Brad SullivanProper 21, Year BSeptember 30, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonNumbers 11:4-6,10-16,24-29Psalm 19:7-14James 5:13-20Mark 9:38-50…And All the Water Was At EaseBetween the woods the afternoonIs fallen in a golden swoon.The sun looks down from quiet skiesTo where a quiet water lies;And silent trees stoop down to trees.And there I saw a white swan mak…
 
Brad SullivanProper 19, Year BSeptember 16, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonIsaiah 50:4-9aPsalm 116:1-8James 3:1-12Mark 8:27-38To Sustain the Weary With a WordYears ago, when I was youth minister and assistant priest, one of the youth in the church said to me, apropos of absolutely nothing, “You shouldn’t even be paid. All you do is talk for a living.” She sa…
 
Brad SullivanProper 16, Year BAugust 26, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonJoshua 24:1-2a,14-18Ephesians 6:10-20John 6:56-69Choose Whom You Will Serve Eat“Choose whom you will serve,” Joshua said to the Israelites. Will you serve God, or will you serve some foreign false god or idol? Joshua had taken over leadership of Israel from Moses just before they entered…
 
Brad SullivanProper 12, Year BJuly 29, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonEphesians 3:14-21John 6:1-21Kneeling to Jesus, to Freedom, to the Man Who Wouldn’t Be KingI was at a teacher’s party last week with Kristin, for the teachers at her school; spouses were invited, and we actually got to see each other, which was lovely. We were meeting at one of their houses…
 
Brad SullivanProper 10, Year BJuly 15, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonMark 6:14-29TitleJohn the Baptist was killed because of a hastily-made promise given by a man who was overly aroused by his step daughter’s dancing. With little thought as to possible consequence, Herod spoke his promise to give her whatever she wanted. He was acting out of emotion, feelin…
 
Brad SullivanProper 5, Year BJune 10, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonGenesis 3:8-15Psalm 1302 Corinthians 4:13 - 5:1Mark 3:20-35At the Time of the Evening Breeze…At the time of the evening breeze, God was walking through the Garden, and the man and the woman were afraid of God’s judgment, so they immediately started demonizing the other. Rather than just tak…
 
Brad SullivanProper 4, Year BJune 3, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonDeuteronomy 5:12-15Psalm 81:1-102 Corinthians 4:5-12Mark 2:23 - 3:6Sabbath, Jesus: Gifts of Freedom from All that Enslaves usRules are made to be broken. That’s one of my favorite oft quoted sayings of supposed wisdom which is actually totally and completely bogus. Rules aren’t made to be br…
 
Brad SullivanTrinity Sunday, Year BMay 27, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonIsaiah 6:1-8Romans 8:12-17John 3:1-17Trinityish Type Stuff: a.k.a. Restoring God's ShalomWithout doubt and without fear, May you find some comfort here, May there be hope to help you copeWhen what you need Is nowhere nearMake your mark unto these years, Shape your world with salt and t…
 
Brad Sullivan6 Easter, Year BMay 6, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonJohn 15:9-17Jesus wants us to be joyful…not fearful, lonely, right, or isolated.Abide in my love, Jesus said, so that my joy may be in your and your joy may be complete. Jesus had all sorts of emotions, just like every other human. Anger, frustration, contempt. Think about how Jesus was with …
 
Brad Sullivan4 Easter, Year BApril 22, 2018Emmanuel, Houston1 John 3:16-24John 10:11-18Give Grace Amidst Angst, and Be HealedLife is hard. It’s also great, and we’re in the Easter season, so we’re not going too far down a dark path, but life is, in addition to being great, straight up, plain, old fashioned hard. We have hurts that happen to us from…
 
Brad SullivanEaster SundayApril 1, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonJohn 20:1-18Even When the World Tells Us Not ToHappy Easter y’all, as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, his victory over death, and the fullness of his great love for us. I love that God joined with us even in death, and then in Jesus’ resurrection, God has shown us the full measure of his gra…
 
Brad Sullivan5th Sunday of LentMarch 18, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonJohn 12:20-33Sleeper Awake (and Quit that Darn Snooze Button)First of all, I’d like to thank my buddy Patrick Hall for his sermon last Sunday entitled, “Risking Exposure,” which helped draw out of me these words for today. You can look him up, Patrick Hall, and search for his sermon from…
 
Brad Sullivan3rd Sunday of LentMarch 4, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonJohn 2:13-22Wreck It RabbiOne of my kids’ and my favorite movies is an animated movie called, “Wreck It Ralph.” Ralph is a video game character, a bad guy whose catch phrase is, “I’m gonna wreck it,” and in this movie, the video game characters are kind of alive and interact with each oth…
 
Brad SullivanAsh WednesdayFebruary 14, 2018Emmanuel, HoustonMatthew 6:1-6, 16-21Choosing to Love…Without All the Time in the World I was on Facebook this morning as I am every morning, about to start Morning Prayer, which I pray on Facebook so others can join in praying together, and as I was about to start, I noticed a friend’s updated status (a p…
 
Brad SullivanLast Sunday after the EpiphanyFebruary 11, 2018Emmanuel, Houston2 Corinthians 4:3-6Mark 9:2-9God Is In the Grind Have you ever been outside walking around and then looked up and been startled, scared even, by a hideous, almost other worldly beast staring at you with hungry eyes, vicious teeth, and razor sharp claws, only to have your e…
 
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