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Hope Springs Eternal

Hope Springs Eternal

By Alan Bentrup
Stories of hope in the Church (and some sermons along the way).
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There is Only Us (A sermon for Easter 5B, 2021)
God’s love knows no boundary. God’s love knows no division. God’s love knows no “us” and “them.”
May 2, 2021
The Frightening Message of Easter
What are we willing to risk?
April 18, 2021
The Story Isn’t Over (A Sermon for Maundy Thursday, 2021)
It’s rather like being on the roller coaster of our salvation story: the joyous wine of the banquet mixed with the bitterness of betrayal; the shame and agony of crucifixion answered with the unbelievable promise of life beyond the grave.
April 12, 2021
The Way of Jesus (A Sermon for Lent 2B)
Jesus chose to give in a world that takes. Jesus chose to love in a world that hates. Jesus chose to heal in a world that injures. Jesus chose peace in a world at war. Jesus chose to give life in a world that kills. Jesus offered mercy when others sought vengeance, forgiveness when others condemned, and compassion when others were indifferent.
February 28, 2021
Can Anything Good Come Out Of Nazareth?
At the deepest level our Nazareths are about our understanding of God. We just can’t see how anything good can come out of Nazareth. We cannot believe that God can be present, active, and revealed in Nazareth, whether it be another person, a relationship, a situation, or our own life.
January 17, 2021
Growing Up and Leaving Home
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church (Columbia, S.C.) Luke 2:31-52
January 3, 2021
God Is Always With Us (A Sermon for Christmas Day, 2020)
Christmas this year has been isolating for many. Maybe it was for you. But the Good News of God in Christ is that the Word has become flesh and dwells among us. The Word isn’t just present in the big fancy church services, or the wonderful family dinners, or the Christmas parties. God is not just with us on the days when our calendars or homes or hearts are full. God is with us in the everyday, mundane, isolated moments. God is with us in the joy and the sorrow. God is with us in the dark and the light. God is with us in death and in life.
December 27, 2020
Risk and Hope (A Sermon for Proper 27A 2020)
What are we willing to risk for the treasure entrusted to us?
November 15, 2020
This World Is Not About Us (A Sermon for Proper 27A 2020)
Sometimes you have to ditch your sermon and just talk about division and reconciliation for 20 minutes...
November 8, 2020
How Often Should I Forgive? (A Sermon for Proper 19A)
How many times must we choose to forgive? Tell me this. How many times have you been hurt and suffered by the actions or words of another? How many times has anger or fear controlled you? How many times has the thought of revenge filled you? How many times have you shuddered at the sight, the name, or the memory of another? How many times have you replayed in your head the argument with another? That’s how many times you choose. “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.”
September 13, 2020
The Yoke of Christ (A Sermon for Proper 9A, 2020)
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,” he says. Let your heart love like Jesus. Let your mind be filled with the same concerns as Jesus. Let your feet walk in step Jesus. Let your hands touch the world like Jesus. Let your eyes see the world like Jesus sees the world. Live a life yoked with Jesus Christ, living and moving and breathing as one, and you will find rest for your soul.
July 5, 2020
Love Triangles (A Sermon for Proper 7A, 2020)
Loving Jesus first doesn’t mean only loving Jesus. We still love our friends, our families, our communities, and ourselves. But when we love those things first, before or without Jesus at the center, that’s idolatry. When our first love is Jesus, we can love our families best. Even and perhaps especially - when that means calling out and working to heal the sin and brokenness we see in our families. When our first love is Jesus, we can love our country and community best. Even - and perhaps especially - when that means calling out and working to heal the sin and brokenness we see in our country and community. When our first love is Jesus, we can love ourselves best. Even - and perhaps especially - when that means calling out and working to heal the sin and brokenness we see in ourselves.
June 22, 2020
Together (a sermon for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, 2020)
We’re in different homes, different cities, different places, with our own gifts and abilities. But we’re together, even when we’re apart. (Preached from my back yard for the good folks of Holy Trinity, Clemson)
May 24, 2020
Listen to him. Get up. Don’t be afraid. (A sermon for Last Epiphany 2020)
What do we do when everything is changing?
February 26, 2020
We’ll leave the light on for you (a sermon for Epiphany 5C)
How are we the light of the world when the power has gone out?
February 10, 2020
Show up, look around, and wait. (A sermon for the Feast of the Presentation).
What can we learn from Simeon?
February 10, 2020
A Life Changing Experience (A Sermon for Epiphany 2A 2020)
We can hear all about him, we can read the stories, we can sing the songs, and we know something about Jesus. But, like the beach, like our favorite bands, like the Holy Land, just learning about it doesn’t suffice. You have to encounter it in real life to truly begin to grasp what is. When we truly encounter Jesus Christ, it changes everything.
January 19, 2020
Children of God (A Sermon for Epiphany 1A 2020)
A week late in posting, but my sermon from January 12, 2020, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Columbia, SC.
January 19, 2020
Jesus, Remember Me (a sermon for the last Sunday after Pentecost, 2019)
We all want to be remembered. It means that we matter, we belong, we exist. When we are remembered, someone else bears witness to all those things. When we are remembered it is as if our life is being put back together, because it is. That is exactly what is happening. We are being made whole.
November 24, 2019
When Temples Fall (a sermon for Proper 28C 2019)
When our temples fall, we discover that God has always been with us – in the changes, chances, and chaos of life; in the pain, loss, and disappointment. Stone by stone, God rebuilds our lives. Stone by stone, God restores the original beauty of our life and world. Stone by stone, a new temple arises from the rubble.
November 17, 2019
Life Is Hard, Do Not Lose Faith (a sermon for Proper 19, 2019)
What did I learn from the night my life changed?
September 15, 2019
God Found Us
A sermon preached at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Columbia, S.C., on the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord.
September 9, 2019
We Are In This Together (a sermon for Heathwood Haol's Convocation)
Through our highs and our lows, our hopes and our fears, our wins and our losses... We are in this together.
September 4, 2019
There Are No Strangers in Houston Right Now (a sermon for Proper 17C 2019)
As I was riding in the back of Ismael’s truck, with my family safe and on the way to meet friends, I texted my mom and sisters. I joked that we hopped in some guys truck to hitch a ride, and my sister replied back saying “You’re not supposed to take rides from strangers :-)” Here’s what I told her: “Nobody is a stranger in Houston right now. These folks can’t get to their house, but they have a truck so they are helping others.” That is kingdom hospitality. That is the kingdom of God.
September 1, 2019
The Divisive Love of God (a Sermon for Proper 15C)
But this love, God’s love, just as likely to bring us stress and division rather than peace and harmony. And this is Good News.
August 18, 2019
Waiting (A Sermon for Proper 14C 2019)
One reality of life is waiting; waiting for someone to show up, for something to happen, for things to change.
August 18, 2019
Language Matters (A Sermon for Proper 13C, 2019)
This has to stop. And we have to change the way we speak to and about each other.
August 4, 2019
Unity, Not Uniformity (A Sermon for Easter 7C 2019)
John 17:20-26 Jesus prayed for his disciples, and then he said. "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. "Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."
June 4, 2019
The Scent of Resurrection
A sermon for Easter 3C, preached at St. Michael & All Angels, Columbia, S.C.
May 5, 2019
We Have Seen the Risen Christ (A Sermon for for the Feast of the Resurrection - 2019)
We Have Seen the Risen Christ (A Sermon for for the Feast of the Resurrection - 2019) All Saints Episcopal Church (Beech Island, SC) John 20:1-18 April 21, 2019 We are called to go from this place and tell the world that pain and sorrow and death and despair will never...can never...have the final say. So go out and share your story. Go out and share the story.
April 21, 2019
Our Time Has Come (a homily for Monday of Holy Week, 2019)
The waiting is almost over.
April 15, 2019
On Earth, As It Is In Heaven (A Sermon for Lent 2C, 2019)
These may seem like abstractions, like pie-in-the-sky theology that will never, ever, in a million years become a reality. And yet, as followers of Jesus Christ, we live each day with the expectation that heaven on earth will come to fruition. And in so doing, we make it more real. We live our heavenly citizenship. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. We pray this daily because we are people of hope.
March 19, 2019
Crossing Boundaries for Love (a sermon for Wednesday in the first week of Lent)
he clearest definition I’ve ever heard for the mission of God is this: Crossing boundaries for love. Bishop Holly did that his whole life. He was a priest and a bishop and a missionary that crossed boundaries, literally and figuratively. That’s why we remember him today. Philip did that, when he listened to the Spirit’s call to to cross a boundary and engage in conversation with the Ethiopian. Lent...and this journey to Good Friday and a reminder that Jesus crossed crossed the ultimate boundary...between heaven and earth...for love. So, I ask you? Where do you see boundaries in your community? In your church? In your own life? And what boundaries are you willing to cross for love?
March 14, 2019
Who Is My Neighbor? (a Lenten series at St. John's Episcopal Church, Winnsboro, SC)
“Who Is My Neighbor ?” is a four-part Lenten Series beginning Sunday, March 10 at 4:00 p.m. sponsored by St. John’s Episcopal Church, 301 W. Liberty St.,  Winnsboro, SC.  Speakers from the Episcopal, Jewish, Muslim and Greek Orthodox faiths will offer insights and observations about their faith and how love is the starting point for interfaith dialogue. Click here for my initial manuscript (which is never fully what I end up saying...)
March 10, 2019
We Know How This Thing Ends (A sermon for the last Monday after the Epiphany)
When we know the end of the story, it frees us to look at the journey in a new way.
March 4, 2019
Right Here. Right Now. Today (A Sermon for Epiphany 3C, 2019)
Jesus is asking his friends to open their eyes, to see God at work in the world around them, and to look for those ways they might participate in God’s mission. Right here. Right now. Today. In a very real way, the Spirit was upon Jesus. And that same Spirit abides in you, and me, and all of us. Right here. Right now. Today. And by emphasizing the word “today,” Jesus transformed Isaiah's words, Isaiah's prophecy, into a powerful invitation for the whole community to act on behalf of God's dream of justice. Right here. Right now. Today.
January 27, 2019
Timing is Everything (A Sermon for Epiphany 2C)
Timing is everything, and it is time to pray and discern and study the Bible and get to know our neighborhoods, so that we can figure out what particular roles we play in these stories.
January 20, 2019
What Are We Waiting For? ( A Sermon for Advent 1C 2018)
We don’t just need to wait for the Light to come. We need to be the light in the world.
December 3, 2018
Sacrificial. Selfless. Reckless. (A Sermon for Proper 27B - 2018)
To me, this section of Mark isn’t rocket science. It is about how we are supposed to live. About how we are supposed to love. I don’t know if y’all are in your stewardship season or not, but it’s also about how we’re supposed to give. But above all, it is about how we are supposed to respond to God and relate to one another. Sacrificially...selflessly...recklessly.
November 11, 2018
Live and Love Like the Saints (a sermon for Proper 26B
What is the greatest commandment?
November 4, 2018
I Want To See Again (A Sermon for Proper 25B 2018)
What do you want me to do for you? I want to see everything as made in God's image.
October 28, 2018
Pocket Knives and the Kingdom of God
What are we willing to give up to follow Jesus?
October 14, 2018
Listen Like a Child (A Sermon for Proper 22B)
Jesus is talking about a relationship all right, but perhaps he is using marriage as a metaphor for something bigger. Jesus is talking about brokenness in our lives, and in our relationships...but he is talking about the source of that brokenness. Hard hearts. Unlistening hearts.
October 8, 2018
The River Is Moving (A Sermon for EDUSC Clergy Conference)
As is the case with any successful institution, the church as we know it today was built with the best social and religious engineering available: as a robust and hardy structure to last. A lot of time, energy, sweat, and money has been invested. Generations of investment. And it served as a bridge for many to move from birth to death. It spanned the river. And that all worked very well when the river was in the right place.
September 25, 2018
Stand With Christ, Stand With Others (A Sermon for Proper 7B)
We stood with one another when we faced a storm 10 months ago. And we are called every day to​ stand with each other in all the other storms we face in our lives. But that’s the easy part. We’re also called to stand with those that aren’t in this room right now. Jesus and his disciples were going to the other side of the lake when all this happened. They were going to the people that weren’t part of their tribe. They were going to the people on the margins.
June 24, 2018
Reckless Love of God (A Sermon for Trinity Sunday)
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give Yourself away Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
May 27, 2018
This is Our Altar Call (A Sermon for Easter 7B)
In First John, and throughout the Gospel of John, eternal life doesn’t just mean life beyond the grave. Eternal life isn’t just talking about what happens after we die, but instead it is about how we live now - before we die - once we put our faith in Christ. Eternal life is full life, everlasting life, changed life, now and in the world to come.
May 13, 2018
Bentrup, Germany (A Sermon for Easter 6B)
This is the faith that overcomes the world: God’s love brings healing out of brokenness. God’s love brings light out of darkness. God’s love brings day out of night. God’s love brings life out of death.
May 6, 2018
Plenty of Work for Love to Do (A Sermon for Easter 5B)
We live in a world that is broken, there’s no doubt about that. But that same world is precious to God, is loved by God, and is filled with a great many people called to live out God’s love. Because love is from God. And there is plenty of work for love to do.
April 29, 2018
You’re Children of God, Now Act Like It! (A Sermon for Easter 3B)
You are God’s own beloved child. Become what you already are. Live into your new identity. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are! Now, act like it!
April 15, 2018
God is (Revealing, Healing, Purifying) Light (A Sermon for Easter 2B)
God is light. And walking in that light, being people of that light, will begin to change us. Because the light reveals, heals, and purifies.
April 8, 2018
Nobody Ever Gets to Stay (A Sermon for for the Feast of the Resurrection - 2018)
You can’t stay here, because nobody ever gets to stay. So go out and share your story, share THE story. Shout it into the darkness. Cry out into the emptiness. Tell the world that you have experienced the risen Lord… and he is alive and he has transformed your life… and he is still making all things new. Nobody ever gets to stay. So go.
April 1, 2018
Nobody Dies Alone (A Sermon for Lent 5B)
I suspect the Greeks in today’s gospel didn’t go expecting to talk about death when they showed up to worship. They just wanted to see Jesus. But Jesus talked about death. A lot.
March 18, 2018
The Hardest Commandment (A Sermon for Lent 3B)
Sabbath is taking time for God. It's more than not going to work, not working at home, not sitting at the computer, not working around the house—it's reminding ourselves of God's central place in our lives and being grateful. It’s also reminding ourselves that we aren’t the center of the universe and that work can go on without us.
March 4, 2018
Luke, Jesus, and the Hebrew Bible
A Lenten presentation for St. Stephen's in Huntsville, Texas, looking at how Luke connects the story of Jesus with the story of Israel.
March 1, 2018
Resurrection Over Survival (A Sermon for Lent 2B)
The way of Christ, self-denial, reminds us that our life is not our own. It belongs to God. It reminds us that we are not in control, God is. Our life is not about us. It is about God There is great freedom in knowing these things. We are free to be fully alive. Through self denial our falling down becomes rising up. Losing i​s​ saving. Death ​is ​resurrection.
February 25, 2018
Transforming the Ordinary (A Sermon for Epiphany 3B)
Casting and mending are realities of life. They are also the circumstances in which Jesus comes to us, the context in which we hear the call to new life, and the place where we are changed and the ordinary is transformed.
January 21, 2018
Beloved Children of God (A Sermon for Epiphany 1B, 2018)
Take a moment to remember the last baptism you witnessed. Perhaps you can recall the proud parents and godparents, dressed in their Sunday best, standing around the baptismal font. In their arms they hold their young, freshly-bathed child, hoping that she won’t create a fuss. Before them stands the minister or priest, neatly dressed in suit and tie, or robe, or colorful vestments. The font stands ready. The congregation looks on with curiosity and pleasure, wondering how the child will respond to what is about to happen. The atmosphere is peaceful and serene. It is a family occasion, a beautiful moment that will long be remembered.
January 7, 2018
Just The Beginning (A Sermon for Advent 2A - 2018)
Matthew begins with a genealogy linking Jesus back to Abraham. Luke begins with a short address about his research methodology. John begins with a mysterious poem about creation. But Mark just hits the ground running and never looks back. “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
December 10, 2017
Join the Team (A Sermon for All Saint’s Day)
Baseball has the power to unite us across differences that are so often used to divide. That sounds an awful lot like the Christian faith to me, doesn’t it?
November 5, 2017
Practice Loving Your Neighbor (A Sermon for Proper 25A)
So why should we read Leviticus? I believe that underneath all the rules about sacrifice and purity, all the strange regulations about food and clothes, there is a vision of holiness and harmony with God that is life-giving and has the potential to speak a healing word to our fractured and alienated condition.
October 29, 2017
Minted in Christ (A Sermon for Proper 24A)
God’s motive was freedom from bondage and a new opportunity to rebuild the community. Cyrus’ motive was expanding his territory by military might and increasing the kingdom over which he reigned. How could God rely on someone like that to further God’s intention?
October 22, 2017
Turn and Live (A Sermon for Proper 21A)
Turn and Live (A Sermon for Proper 21A) by Alan Bentrup
September 30, 2017
Generosity Over Jealousy (A Sermon for Proper 20A)
We all know somebody who never earned nor deserved what they got, right? They didn’t really deserve that job, promotion, raise, recognition, happiness, or success. We worked longer or tried harder, but that didn’t make any difference. More often than not, we view the world, ourselves, and others through the lens of fairness rather than grace. We view ourselves in comparison to others. That’s the exact opposite of how God views the world.
September 24, 2017
How Often Should I Forgive? (A Sermon for Proper 19A)
Forgiveness, for Jesus, is not a quantifiable event. It is a quality; a way of being, a way of living, a way of loving, a way of relating, a way of thinking and seeing. It is nothing less than the way of Christ.
September 17, 2017
Look to the Rock That Will Last
A sermon for Proper 16A August 27, 2017
August 27, 2017
Mary, Moana, and the Gospel (A Sermon for St. Mary's Day 2017)
Mary, Moana, and the Gospel (A Sermon for St. Mary's Day 2017)
August 20, 2017
Transformed for a Purpose (A Sermon for the Feast of the Transfiguration)
“Is it real?” That’s one of my boys’ favorite questions. When they encounter something new or different that is what they want to know. Reality for them is something that can be seen, tasted, touched, smelled, and heard. Reality was determined by, and limited to, the five physical senses.
August 5, 2017
Be Transformed - A Sermon for VBS Sunday
Be Transformed - A Sermon for VBS Sunday by Alan Bentrup
July 23, 2017