Future project: download and print access to sermons preached prior to May 2020.
Audio versions of many of our past sermons are available at SoundCloud where you may listen on your computer or download sermons to your phone. Subscribe to our audio sermons through TuneIn here, or Spotify here. If you use iTunes, Stitcher, or another podcast service, subscribe to “St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Durham, NC”.
Video Worship Services and Sermons
If you are looking for our 10am Sunday worship service, visit our Facebook page. After the service, the video will remain available for later viewing. Currently this video service is virtual Eucharist only, with music. The sermon follows in a separate video. Those videos are uploaded to our YouTube channel later each Sunday. Our sermon blog posts (see below) usually include the link to the video as well.
Sermon Blog Posts from May 2020 to present (reverse order)
by the Rev. Kathryn Matthewson [listen to this sermon here or on Spotify or TuneIn]
by Dr. Sam Laurent [Listen to this sermon here or on Spotify or TuneIn.]
[Listen to this sermon as a podcast.]
by the Rev. James B. Craven III In the name of God-Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen. You want to impress your neighbors with some Bible trivia? Name a book of the Bible which makes no mention of God at all, not even by metaphor or allegory. God just is not among the cast of … Continue reading Antisemitism: Still Here | September 26, 2021
[This sermon is available as an audio file only.]
by the Rev. James B. Craven III In the name of one God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen. If the apostle Paul taught us anything, it was the notion of sola fide, by faith alone, that we are justified, saved, forgiven not by virtue of any good works we may have done, but … Continue reading Sermon by Jim Craven | August 29, 2021
by Rev. Laura Thornton John 6: 56-69 Here we are on the fifth and final Sunday in chapter 6 of John’s gospel. This five part series in the middle of our summer is different. We don’t usually spend this much time in a single chapter of a gospel. Some days, like today we even have … Continue reading The Flesh and Blood of Jesus | August 22, 2021
Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber We’re still in the midst of the Bread of Life section of John’s Gospel. This morning, I would like to share with you three stories about the change in my relationship with the Bread of Life during this pandemic. Act 1 Early Pandemic. March 2020. The shutdown happened quickly. We here … Continue reading Three Stories of the Bread of Life during Pandemic | August 8, 2021
by Rev’d Dr Helen Svoboda-Barber Today’s Gospel from the 6th chapter of John’s gospel picks up after Jesus fed more than 5,000 people with a young child’s offering of 5 loaves and 2 fish. That night, the disciples are on a boat in a rough sea, and Jesus walks on water to them and calms … Continue reading Our Work to Do | August 1, 2021
By St. Luke’s Intern Daniel LaVenture Since Dan has been recovering this week from pneumonia, there is no text available for the sermon. Please watch the video below to hear Dan’s devotional on today’s reading from Ephesians 3:14-21.
by Rev James B. Craven III (Jim) Albino Luciani, the September Pope, John Paul I, who was Bishop of Rome for only a month in 1978, was once asked to recommend a good history of the early church. His response, try the one Luke wrote, which we know as the Gospel according to Luke and … Continue reading A Sermon by Jim | July 18, 2021
by Rev. Laura Thornton I have been living with, praying about and mulling over these texts for the last several weeks wondering like I imagine you are this morning….how in the world do you preach about the beheading of John!?!? I thought maybe I can just go with the new testament reading or the old … Continue reading Are we like John the Baptist or like King Herod? | July 11, 2021
by Rev Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber Today’s Gospel shows us two different types of communities worshiping God. The first community is the synagogue in Jesus’ hometown. This worshiping community is so focused on keeping things in good order and following all the traditions that they are blind to what could be. They knew Jesus as a … Continue reading Two Models of Church | July 4, 2021
Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber Today’s gospel story is a sandwich of two stories. On the outside of the story, the beginning and the end, is the story of Jarius’s daughter and the healing that happened in her life. In the middle is the story of a woman healed after twelve years of disease. Today, I … Continue reading Two Invitations from the Bleeding Woman | June 27, 2021
by the Rev’d Jim Craven As the curtain goes up on the book of Job, we encounter an unusual group, maybe not so unusual when this ancient folktale began being told around the communal campfires 4000 years ago, or when it was written down in Hebrew about the time of David and Solomon close to … Continue reading A Sermon | June 20, 2021
by the Rev’d Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber Our Gospel stories today are some of the parables Jesus tells about the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is like a tiny mustard seed, planted in the dirt, that becomes a scrubby, gangly big bush –a home for the birds. That is the Kingdom of God. As … Continue reading Nothing Special and the Kingdom of God | June 13, 2021
Rev. Laura Thornton Today we have this little parable inside a story inside another story in Mark’s gospel. Jesus has been teaching and healing and casting out demons. And very quickly, word spreads and crowds appear wherever he goes. Jesus’ family comes to restrain him, take him home, protect him, they think he has lost … Continue reading In a Crowded House With Jesus | June 6, 2021
Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber My seminary experience was full of learning and possibilities and tools. I only remember two or three admonitions to avoid some things, and I’m failing at avoiding everything I’ve been told to avoid. Our Pastoral Studies Professor Charlie Cook repeatedly told us, “Don’t poll the congregation. Just don’t poll the congregation.” … Continue reading The Trinity of Love | May 30, 2021
Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber Today is Pentecost. It feels odd not to be gathering in person to celebrate Pentecost for a second year in a row. And yet, when we really think about it, this is not a bad way to celebrate Pentecost. For the past 14 months, we’ve been living similar to how the disciples … Continue reading Get Ready for the Spirit to Show Up | May 23, 2021 – Pentecost
by Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber Every year on the Sunday before Pentecost, we read a section of the longest prayer attributed to Jesus. The entire 17th chapter of the gospel of John is the prayer Jesus prayed just before he was arrested. The whole prayer has three fairly distinct sections. In the first section, Jesus … Continue reading Prayer and New Life for the Church | May 16, 2021
by Dr. Sam Laurent, Director of the Episcopal Center at Duke All of us have come to church for ressurance. We come needing to reaffirm that we know the order of things. Difficulties and confusion buffet us all the time, and the decisions we’ve made are never truly certain. There’s always the career path we … Continue reading New Stories Emerging | May 9, 2021
by the Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber This morning I want to talk about the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch from Acts 8:26-40. The book of the Acts of the Apostles is the story of the very first Christians. What did the followers of Jesus DO after he died? Acts tells the stories of … Continue reading Following Philip in Discipleship and Apostleship | May 2, 2021
by the Rev. James B. Craven III In the name of God- Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen It was an enormous privilege for me to study under Professor Roland Murphy. Roland was a Carmelite Roman Catholic priest who grew up in Chicago. His parents came from Ireland, which Roland called the Holy Land. Roland … Continue reading The Stories We Believe | April 25, 2021
by the Rev. Laura Thornton Our gospel today begins with a startling appearance by Jesus. During the fifty days of Easter, we hear accounts of Jesus appearing to followers, and their realizations that he was with them again. First it was the women at the tomb, last week it was the disciples and Thomas who … Continue reading Joy and Disbelief | April 18, 2021
by Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber This morning at St. Luke’s we read the earliest account of the first Easter day. Each of the 4 Gospels has their own version of the resurrection. All of them include one or more women going to tend the body of Jesus, and finding an empty tomb. But the details … Continue reading Fear Doesn’t Win: Easter Sermon 2021
Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber “…unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life will lose it…” John 12:24b-25 This week, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the idea of a grain of … Continue reading A Grain of Wheat, Split Open | March 21, 2021
by the Rev. James B. Craven III In the name of God – Father Son & Holy Spirit. Amen. I miss all of you. I am tired of an entire year without church, at least without church as we knew it and will again. I worry I will be unable to recognize some of … Continue reading Coming Back Together | March 14, 2021
By Rev. Laura Thornton Jesus does not just lash out at corruption, he pushes against the larger system of religious structure in the temple. He brings the whole thing to a stand still “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”
by the Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber May only God’s Word be spoken and only God’s Word be heard. Both today’s Old Testament reading and our Gospel have name changes in them. So today, let’s talk about the power of names. In Genesis 17, God talks to Abram for the fifth time in scripture, and in … Continue reading The Power of Names | February 28, 2021
by Rev. Susan Bennett The first Sunday in Lent is always the temptation of Jesus in the desert. Always. Matthew and Luke go into poetic detail about the powers and the riches and the status that Satan dangles before Jesus in his attempt to derail Jesus’ ministry before it gets started. But not Mark. In … Continue reading Wild Beasts and Angels | February 21, 2021
by Dr. Sam Laurent, Campus Minister for the Episcopal Center at Duke If I’m being honest—and I think that’s the general expectation here—the transfiguration always puzzles me. Jesus takes some disciples up on top of a mountain, and he begins to glow a dazzling white. Elijah and Moses appear next to him. From a cloud, … Continue reading Down From the Mountaintop | February 14, 2021
by Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber Jesus has been having a busy day this first day of his ministry in Mark’s gospel. It began with teaching in the synagogue. Everyone was amazed with his authority as he taught. Then, right there inside the sanctuary, he removed an unclean spirit from a man. And in today’s reading, … Continue reading What is mine? What is for now? | February 7, 2021
by the Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber Today’s gospel tells the story of the first act of ministry Jesus does in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus was baptized, he spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan, he gathered a few disciples, and then he goes into the synagogue to teach. While Jesus was … Continue reading Fighting Evil | January 31, 2021
by Rev. Jim Craven In the name of our God-Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen. In over 35 years as an ordained person, I don’t recall ever having so much difficulty preparing a sermon, and I doubt I am alone. I pray regularly for folks here at St. Luke’s, for folks in prison, for … Continue reading A Sermon for January 2021 | January 24, 2021
By Laura Thornton, Through Samuel’s story, we see transformation and understand there is work to do before we reach a new beginning.
by the Rev. James B. Craven III More than 300,000 deaths so far in this country. More deaths every day than at Pearl Harbor or 9/11. A country more polarized or divided than at any time since the Civil War more than 150 years ago. Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas without the family. Baseball and … Continue reading A Christmas Day Sermon | December 25, 2020
by Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber There is something about this year that has helped me insert myself into the Jesus Birth Narrative. I’m bonding with Mary this year. I have been taking time for imaginative prayer and really putting myself in the scene with Mother Mary. There are 2 moments that have really captured my … Continue reading Touching Foreheads With God | December 24, 2020
by the Rev. James B. Craven III Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. That prayer, which most likely … Continue reading About Mary | December 20, 2020
On the Third Sunday of Advent we light a candle for Joy.
An invitation to an Advent of pointing to both plague and promise in your own life.
Jesus says: Don’t Judge, and Don’t be Overwhelmed.
What if these Kingdom of God parables were not about God, but about us? How do we need to live in order to prepare for and live into the Kingdom of God?
Bishop Hodges-Copple’s sermon for our regular Bishop’s Visit.
Use a basic improv tool to commit yourself more fully to living into your baptismal covenant.
Why and how we pray.
Today we celebrate St. Luke’s Day together/alone, by calling to mind people who heal and people who need healing, and by inviting greater healing into our own lives.
Peace in the midst of chaos, life in the shadow of death.
This parable of the vineyard reminds us to be fruitful, especially in times like these.
Violence is in the Bible and right here in Durham. How can we call the breath of life into the dry bones of death?
The parable of the workers in the vineyard calls us to re-evaluate our owneconomy, to value people over productivity. Matthew 20: 1-16 By Sam Laurent, PhD Let’s talk economics, old school. The Greek word oikos, which means“house” or “home” is the root word for our English word “economy.” We getit by way of the Greek … Continue reading Economics and Freedom
Forgiveness is hard. God will help.
We are waking to many societal inequities. We can heal ourselves and our community by investing in prayer, study and action.
Love will get us past the pandemic.
Today’s Gospel models the value of investing in close, healthy relationships.
Our words matter! We hear this in today’s reading from Matthew. Here we find Jesus teaching that words can defile the body. He tells us that it is not what goes
into the mouth that matters, but instead what comes out. Our Christian journey calls for us to break free of the stories we have been told about our place, our power, and our privilege.
When Jesus says, “you of little faith” what does that really mean?
Remember the mustard seed from last week, or better yet, the yeast that leavens bread. Unseeably small granules that as a collective breathe out and inflate loaves of bread. This is literal inspiration, the blowing-in of life from the tiniest corners of the creation. Jesus, one person amidst the crowds, is building the kingdom of God one person at a time.
By the Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber May only God’s Word be spoken, and only God’s Word be heard. Jesus is a funny guy. Do you ever think so? Like in today’s Gospel reading, he is throwing parables fast and furious at the crowd: “Hey Y’all, get this! The Kingdom of God is like a mustard … Continue reading Being the Field | July 26, 2020
Rev. Kate Spelman is the Aging With Pride Program Specialist at AgeOptions in Oak Park, IL.
By El Nealson “Lord, may the word that goes out from my mouth not return to me empty.” Often these past months I have found myself praying something similar to this: May I say words. May I say the right words. May they bring abundance, may they bring joy and peace. May they bring equality … Continue reading Sermon for Youth Sunday | July 12, 2020
The 4th of July always brings out complicated feelings in me. I am grateful for the freedom I have, and the ease I have living in this land. And yet, I cannot feel my freedom without also remembering the genocide of those who first lived on these lands.
by Phillip Bass May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts beacceptable to you O’ Lord. Amen. On this Sunday last year, I stood among those gathered together at St. Luke’s, and shared a sermon in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. If you will remember, those … Continue reading Prophecy in the Time of COVID | June 28, 2020
By the Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber May only God’s word be spoken, and only God’s word be heard. This morning’s Gospel reading from the 10th chapter of Matthew is a rough, combative passage.It is a call to resistance and perseverance. It is a passage for a time such as this, June of 2020, as we … Continue reading Setting Down Privilege to Pick Up the Cross | June 21, 2020
Today’s gospel reading is Matthew 9:35-10:23. It begins with Jesus going to the surrounding cities and villages, proclaiming the good news and healing the sick.
But there was too much work for him to do, so he commissioned his apostles, gave them power to heal, and sent them out to continue the work.
Today is Trinity Sunday, the feast in the church year where we honor our Triune God and task preachers, like myself, to explicate just exactly how we worship One God in Three Persons.
Join me in proclaiming the messiness of life. Join me in proclaiming both lament and celebration this Pentecost weekend.
By the Rev. Dr. Helen Svoboda-Barber May only God’s Word be spoken, and only God’s word be heard. John 14:15-21 Our reading from this morning’s gospel of John picks up in the midst of Jesus saying lots and lots about the Holy Spirit, which in the New Revised Standard Version translation of the Bible is … Continue reading The Practice of the Presence of the Paraclete | May 17, 2020
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