Sermons by Rev. Tom Harris
“Revealing Yourself as a Child of God”
Who are you as a lover of the world? How do you express that love most authentically? And how do you and the world conspire to obscure and shroud your expression of love. Pastor Tom invites us to see our lives as an episode of the hit TV show, “The Masked Singer” and think about how we can show our love for the world even from behind our masks. Our audience is all of creation. Paul says “All creation waits…
Atonement Theology and Inviting Jesus into Your Heart
The doctrine of atonement suggests that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus changed something about our ability to access God and live well. Pastor Tom explores several “theories” about what that something was, and how we can access transformation in Christ regardless of how we think about his life, death, and resurrection. – Pastor Tom’s sermon from May 14, 2023
The story of the resurrection of Jesus is not about a single event that happened 2000 years ago to one man. It is the story of how Jesus disciples used the prophetic imagination he taught, to envision a new life and community centered on his living life and ministry. Rev. Harris uses the song “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell as a springboard to talk about how we make life more real and more lasting by infusing it with vision,…
Who is Jesus Really Criticizing Here?
Traditional interpretations of the Parable of the Wedding Banquet are anti-Semitic and inconsistent with the biblical text. Those who mistreat the king’s messengers are not “the Jews.” They are members of the religious establishment who conspire with political powers to enrich themselves and advance their own power at the expense of others. Then there is the matter of the guest with no robe. Who is that? It might just be us.
“Provoking Good, Fair-Minded, Hardworking People”
Jesus tells this story of the Laborers in the Vineyard in a way that intentionally challenges and provokes good, fair-minded, hardworking people. In doing so he calls us to reconsider whose voices we welcome to the table. We are called to stop privileging the voices of those who have been around doing all the work in the church and instead privilege voices who have just arrived or even those who have not come in yet. We might also reconsider if…
Getting Off The Hamster Wheel of Worry
We all know that worrying is unproductive and unhealthy. We know we should worry less. Jesus makes that clear. Common wisdom makes that clear. But, how do we stop? Pastor Tom suggest three practices. The last being the one Jesus says we should do first, but even that one needs some unpacking.
Four Components of a Healthy Faith
The story of Jesus is the wilderness give us a caricature of faith. We are not meant to imitate Jesus’s 40 day fast, but Matthew uses the story to show us in stark relief the key components of a healthy faith. Oh and what about the devil?
Claim, Name, and Provide a Frame for Christ
The familiar Christmas story gives two examples of how people may relate to Christ. Mary knows Christ intimately within her body. Joseph must take a leap of faith to choose to be in relationship with Christ. When life or the world in general seems so filled with trouble, we may learn the most from Joseph as he takes the leap and claims Christ as his own, names Christ for himself, and provides a frame so that Christ can be shared…
For Just Such a Time as This
In Chapter 4, Queen Esther chooses to risk her life to save her people. In the process she calls on her people to be united in solidarity. We may not face the level of crisis she did, but we are always being called to take everything that has brought us to this day, and use those experiences to respond faithfully and courageously for just such a time as this.
Celebrating and Transforming Heritage
As we celebrate Heritage Sunday at Govans, Pastor Tom will reflect on how Isaiah envisions a day when we stand before the mountain of God as nations. Isaiah’s vision is not of individuals coming before God, but groups of people with the ethnic, cultural and even national diversity intact. Yet, Isaiah does not stop there and calls on those gathered nations to transform the harmful parts of their heritage into something new as they beat their swords into ploughshares.
Commitments vs. Callings
When King Solomon was offered anything from God, he asked for a discerning mind. We are called to discern how we are called by God to engage with the world. We are called to discern when we are called to move from hearing a calling to making a commitment.
Stewardships of Virtue and Goodness
We often think about being stewards of material things like money, stuff, or the earth. We also think about being stewards of our time and talent. But, can we also be stewards of goodness and virtue? Pastor Tom uses David’s prayer of repentance as a jumping off point to explore this question.