Audio Sermons

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 Sunday worship service, visit our Facebook page. After the service, the video will remain available for later viewing. Those videos are uploaded later to our YouTube channel.

Sermon Blog Posts from May 2020 to present (reverse order)

A New Year’s Day Sermon | January 1, 2023

by the Rev. James B. Craven III In the name of one God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit.  Amen.  Sometimes change is good.  From the middle of the sixth century until our current 1979 Book of Common Prayer, a span of more than 1400 years, January 1 was when we observed the Feast of…

Keeping Focus on the Gospel | November 13, 2022

There need not be any conflict between faithful adherence to the Gospel of Christ, and speaking out against evil done in his name, or supporting and comforting those injured and hurt by and in the Church.

The Rich Man And Lazarus: Then And Now | September 25, 2022

By the Rev. James B. Craven lll [Hear this sermon here or on Spotify or TuneIn, or read the text below.] In the name of one God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen.We have today yet another of Jesus’ parables, though presented differently thanthose we heard the past few Sundays. This one, the story…

The Message of Hebrews | August 28, 2022

by the Rev. James B. (Jim) Craven III In the name of God-Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen.              A reading from the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews?  We just heard a reading from the letter to the Hebrews, but it wasn’t introduced in that fashion.  Why not?  Well, for one thing,…

The Book Of Amos | July 17, 2022

By the Rev. James B. Craven III [Listen to this sermon here, or on Spotify or TuneIn, or scroll down to read the text.] In the name of one God-Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen. In 2009 we were in Israel, on a pilgrimage organized by the National Cathedral.We were in the Judean hills, pretty…

What Happens Next? | May 29, 2022

by the Rev. Dr. Rhonda M. Lee I am going to tell y’all about two types of organizations to which I have made gifts, and then— eventually—I’m going to relate those gifts to the Scripture for today. So please, stay with me.  Last year, I donated to a fundraiser to establish an online platform owned,…

Peter, the Disciple | May 8, 2022

by the Rev. James B. Craven III [Listen to this sermon here or on Spotify or TuneIn, or read the text below.] In the name of God-Father, Son & Holy Spirit.  Amen           For the most part, Christ’s apostles were not a well educated lot.  Luke was an exception, a physician, historian, and artist. Albino…

A Good Friday Sermon | April 15, 2022

by the Rev. James B. Craven III In the name of one God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit.  Amen.             All my life, since childhood anyway, I have wondered why today is called Good Friday.  Apparently others have wondered too, as no hard answer appears anywhere I have looked.  The best I can come…

Christmas Sermon | December 24-25, 2021

by the Rev. James B. Craven III [The following is the sermon Jim intended to preach at in person services, which were canceled.] In the name of God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit.  Amen. Christmas was different a year ago. I celebrated the Eucharist at our dining room table with Sara and two neighbors. …

Christ the King Sunday | November 21, 2021

In the name of God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen. Every year on Good Friday for centuries we have read and heard the long Passion Gospel from John, sometimes with assigned parts.  I am always glad when I have a part to play so I don’t have to yell out “Crucify him! Crucify…

The Healing of Bartimaeus | October 24, 2021

by the Rev. James B. Craven III In the name of God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit.  Amen. My son Will reminds me of why I believe in miracles, particularly miracles of healing, which occupied a lot of Christ’s time.  I have never counted the acts of healing in Holy Scripture, but there are…

Antisemitism: Still Here | September 26, 2021

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…

Sermon by Jim Craven | August 29, 2021

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…

The Flesh and Blood of Jesus | August 22, 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…

Three Stories of the Bread of Life during Pandemic | August 8, 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…

Our Work to Do | August 1, 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…

Devotional on Ephesians | July 25, 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.

A Sermon by Jim | July 18, 2021

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…

Are we like John the Baptist or like King Herod? | July 11, 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…

Two Models of Church | July 4, 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…

Two Invitations from the Bleeding Woman | June 27, 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…

A Sermon | June 20, 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…

Nothing Special and the Kingdom of God | June 13, 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…

In a Crowded House With Jesus | June 6, 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…

The Trinity of Love | May 30, 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.” …

Get Ready for the Spirit to Show Up | May 23, 2021 – Pentecost

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…

Prayer and New Life for the Church | May 16, 2021

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…

New Stories Emerging | May 9, 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…

Following Philip in Discipleship and Apostleship | May 2, 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…

The Stories We Believe | April 25, 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…

Joy and Disbelief | April 18, 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…

Fear Doesn’t Win: Easter Sermon 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…

A Grain of Wheat, Split Open | March 21, 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…

Coming Back Together | March 14, 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…

Jesus Cleansing the Temple | March 7, 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!”

The Power of Names | February 28, 2021

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…

Wild Beasts and Angels | February 21, 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…

Down From the Mountaintop | February 14, 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,…

What is mine? What is for now? | February 7, 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,…

Fighting Evil | January 31, 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…

A Sermon for January 2021 | January 24, 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…

A Christmas Day Sermon | December 25, 2020

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…

Touching Foreheads With God | December 24, 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…

About Mary | December 20, 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…


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