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Ian Reed Twiss Sermons

Ian Reed Twiss Sermons

By Ian Reed Twiss
These are my messages offered to the church in Sunday mornings—about current events, biblical wisdom, and how we try to live as followers of Jesus.
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Brave Space - 04-26-2020
How are we called to respond to political polarization as Christians? How can moral witness and empathy come together?
13:00
April 27, 2020
Taking Hold - 04-12-2020
Resurrection is about the healing of trauma in and through the body.
10:22
April 27, 2020
The Church’s Great Service of Feelings We’d Rather Not Have - 04-05-2020
What to do with difficult feelings like anger, sadness, despair as people of faith.
09:19
April 27, 2020
A “We” Opportunity - 03-22-2020
How can the epidemic help us to more fully become the Beloved Community?
09:04
March 22, 2020
Seen - 03-01-2020
What do we do with that Adam and Eve story?
11:59
March 22, 2020
Vulnerable - 02-16-2020
On the importance of being vulnerable.
11:45
March 22, 2020
Guest Sermon - 02-09-2020
About salt and other things.
10:43
March 8, 2020
Shoot Me While I’m Happy - 02-02-2020
The revolution Jesus brought was different than people expected.
10:30
February 16, 2020
On Our Way - 01-26-2029
Where are we headed together on Christ’s way?
12:07
February 2, 2020
Where We Go From Here - 01-19-2020
What does the Bible challenge us to do and be if we are white people?
11:02
January 20, 2020
Guest Preacher - 01-12-2020
What do you do when God turns out to be bigger, and more inclusive, than you thought?
11:54
January 20, 2020
I Will Meet You There - 01-05-2020
You think the resurrection is scary? Take a deeper look at the incarnation!
11:01
January 20, 2020
Birth on the Christmas Ship - 12-24-2019
What if God really does show up in the most desperate circumstances?
08:12
January 20, 2020
Ode to an Ordinary Joe - 12-22-2019
Here’s to Joseph, a righteous man!
08:45
January 20, 2020
Emmanuel EVERYWHERE - 12-1-2019
What the end up of days can teach us about ourselves and God.
09:59
January 19, 2020
How the Light Gets In - 12-8-19
Coming to terms with our brokenness is how the light gets in.
10:34
January 19, 2020
Signs of Endings - 11-24-2019
About the importance of living in the present.
09:39
January 19, 2020
Waste - 11-17-2019
Wouldn't it be nice to have the perfect argument that silences those we oppose? Of course, when you think about it, the argument that leaves people gasping for words is really a thing of fantasy.  In any dispute there is always a comeback.  In fact, the notion that argument alone can sway somebody is sort of a dream in general.  With most people, by the time you're in an argument, each side has long since shut down to the other's point of view and is listening for one purpose only: rebuttal. In fact the only kinds of words I can imagine that might truly flabbergast and silence one's opponents are not words that construct the perfect argument, but words that surprise enmity with love.  Words that do not toss grenades but extend olive branches.  Words that sidestep the oppositional dynamic of debate in general, and instead insist on our common humanity, our common susceptibility to transformation for the better. Today, a story of a colleague of mine who found those words to say. For more information about the life of the church where this sermon was preached, find our website at www.holycrossnovi.org or our facebook page under the name “Holy Cross Episcopal Church.” Or join us for worship, Sunday mornings at 8:00 and 10:00 at 40700 W. Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375.
10:32
November 17, 2019
Odd, Archaic, and Even...Relevant - 11-10-2019
If the day of judgment makes sense to you, that’s totally cool.  But I’ve always had trouble with this idea that there will come some moment in the future when we who were faithful in life will spring from our graves and occupy a new earth with Jesus and God and all the saints.  It seems a bit literalistic—like one more among many ideas and traditions that make the church seem “odd, archaic, and even irrelevant” to so many people. I guess what it really comes down to for me is community.  I have always sensed God’s presence most powerfully in the inter-connections among people.  In fact, I first heard my own calling to ministry in the context of serving communion, of breaking bread and sharing wine in a circle together, as Christians have done for twenty centuries. This goes to what I would consider to be the difference between religion and spirituality as we tend to use these terms.  Spirituality is mostly about the individual, the self and its interior experiences and its personal engagement with the world.  That’s why, when speaking of their spirituality, so many people follow our YouTuber in referencing meditation or yoga or hikes in the woods.  All of that is vital.  We need that, for sure.  But it doesn’t necessarily ask much of us in relation to one another.  It’s a symptom of, and not a challenge to, the me-focused, hyper-individualized society we live in. Religion, on the other hand, forces us to come together in community.  Religion puts us with people we would probably not meet otherwise, people of different ages and classes and backgrounds, people we may not even like and tells us to love one another.  Religion cajoles and commands and inspires us to share our resources with others.  In this sense it is profoundly counter-cultural.  It is messy and contentious and, when it goes wrong, deeply hurtful.  But it says to us, as we negotiate and irritate and tolerate each other, Here is beauty.  Here is love.  Here is God. For more information about the life of the church where this sermon was preached, find our website at www.holycrossnovi.org or our facebook page under the name “Holy Cross Episcopal Church.” Or join us for worship, Sunday mornings at 8:00 and 10:00 at 40700 W. Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375.
13:03
November 17, 2019
I Am Here - 11-03-19
The promise of All Saints' day, captured in the John O’Donohue poem we read, is that those we've loved are here in some metaphysical way as well--a cloud of saints who have entered into joy, watching and praying for us on our own way there.  I always think of the "cloud of witnesses" passage in Hebrews 12, which is oddly never assigned on All Saints Day.  That passage also compares life to running a race, and if you've ever run a race, you'll know that all these spectators line up along the sidelines shouting words of encouragement, telling you you're looking good (even when you're not), cheering you on.  That stuff really matters.  You're miles into the endurance event, and you feel buoyed up by their words.  You feel seen and heartened.  It's a comfort to think that all those we've known and loved are doing that for us.  Or even, depending on how God has wired you, to sensethat they are, to feel their presence. But I know that God has not wired all of us for such an experience.  Some of us are more tied to tangible reality than others.  And in this most concrete sense, the note that my friend's father wrote, "I am here," is only true in the past.  He was here, and now he's not.  And yet even this approach to remembering the dead has something spiritual to remind us: all we really have is right now.  So the deepest and best way to live is to be with those we love while we are with them.  To truly appreciate the presence of one another.  To be fully here while we are here. For more information about the life of the church where this sermon was preached, find our website at www.holycrossnovi.org or our facebook page under the name “Holy Cross Episcopal Church.” Or join us for worship, Sunday mornings at 8:00 and 10:00 at 40700 W. Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375
12:44
November 3, 2019
Naaman's Journey - 10-13-19
It’s such a paradox to discover that your place in the world is so small, and that God is so immense, and yet to find this discovery strangely invigorating and joyful.  It reminded me of a time soon after my own conversion experience, when I was so abundantly happy.  The world seemed to be opening up to me in new ways, and I was full of energy and zeal, taking on all these new prayer practices, learning about the Bible.  Really it was like falling in love. For more information about the life of the church where this sermon was preached, find our website at www.holycrossnovi.org or our facebook page under the name “Holy Cross Episcopal Church.” Or join us for worship, Sunday mornings at 8:00 and 10:00 at 40700 W. Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375
12:33
November 3, 2019
Heavenly Messengers - 10-06-19
If we listen carefully, if we pay close attention, the animals who accompany us in our lives have much to teach us about what God wants for us: An open, loving approach to the world.  An ability to live in the present moment and let God provide. The utter rightness and wholeness of being in relationship.  Healing. Faithfulness.  How to be the people our pets think we are.  We may be worldly masters to them, but they are certainly heavenly messengers to us. For more information about the life of the church where this sermon was preached, find our website at www.holycrossnovi.org or our facebook page under the name “Holy Cross Episcopal Church.” Or join us for worship, Sunday mornings at 8:00 and 10:00 at 40700 W. Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375
09:22
November 3, 2019
Dave the Rich Man - 09-29-19
Imagine this: you are driving through an upscale neighborhood somewhere--you know, the kind of place with velvety lawns sweeping back to multi-story homes, gleaming front doors kissed by circular drives, birdsong and weed-whackers humming in the golden air.  As you pass this neighborhood's well-kept, Episcopal church--slate roofed and sprouting elegant gargoyles--you notice a figure huddled on a bench in the front yard. Someone wrapped in a dark blanket is lying on his side there, his face and hands hidden in the folds of one end, his bare feet poking out at the other.  The man is definitely out of place, especially in this neighborhood where there are not even any sidewalks, let alone a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Curious, you park your car to approach the person.  That's when you realize that he is in fact a statue--a work of public art.  With his head and hands hidden, the only clues to his identity are the two nail gashes through his feet. For more information about the life of the church where this sermon was preached, find our website at www.holycrossnovi.org or our facebook page under the name “Holy Cross Episcopal Church.” Or join us for worship, Sunday mornings at 8:00 and 10:00 at 40700 W. Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375.
14:29
October 9, 2019
Screw-Up Night - 09-15-2019
What is it about the cross--what is it about this shameful, traumatic execution--that we call holy? Maybe it's that "when we face and name our shame it no longer has power over us.  Because the lowest moment in our story, like the lowest moment in Jesus’ story, can actually become the moment that most deeply connects us to one another, a door that opens onto the holy.  That’s why at the beginning of his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul announces that “the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1:18).  Worldly wisdom would say it is foolish to take a degrading thing that we’ve done or had done to us and put it on display for others.  But God’s wisdom promises that doing so can liberate and connect us, sanctify us, in ways that are powerful and healing.  And that’s why we call the cross holy.  It reminds us that we are trying to live into Jesus’s statement that “the truth will make you free” (John 8:32)." For more information about the life of the church where this sermon was preached, find our website at www.holycrossnovi.org or our facebook page under the name “Holy Cross Episcopal Church.” Or join us for worship, Sunday mornings at 8:00 and 10:00 at 40700 W. Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375.
09:27
September 25, 2019
Count the Cost - 09-08-19
This sermon invites us to consider that it is better to know ourselves, and count whether doing something will be too hard for us, than to go rushing into something because "it seems like the right thing to do."  "Let's take forgiveness, for example. Parishioners in the course of my career have admitted to me privately that they were struggling to forgive in some aspect of their lives.  I think many of us are.  Now, in the Bible, Jesus certainly calls on us to practice forgiveness, not just seven times but seventy-seven, as he says in Matthew at one point.  And yet forgiveness is a tricky thing.  We can't simply will it into being.  And if we start declaring forgiveness before we are ready to feel forgiveness--then, like the impetuous builder or the king in Jesus' examples, we risk doing a lot of damage.  We might succeed in acting forgiving toward one who has hurt us--but then find we become angry and short with our own family members, or feel tired and flat all the time.  There are no emotional short cuts in following Jesus.  We can't bypass what we have to move through.  There's no resurrection without the cross.  So if offering forgiveness does not free us in our heart, then we are probably attempting it too early.  It's more productive in the long run to stay in touch with our genuine hurt and anger than to put on feelings we don't really have." For more information about the life of the church where this sermon was preached, find our website at www.holycrossnovi.org or our facebook page under the name “Holy Cross Episcopal Church.” Or join us for worship, Sunday mornings at 8:00 and 10:00 at 40700 W. Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375.
12:06
September 25, 2019
The Race that Is Set Before Us - 08-18-19
Part of Hebrews' point, expressed in the phrase let us run the race that is set before us, is that each of us has a different race set before us.  Some have better weather and fewer hills and injuries than others.  Some have faster bodies and some have more endurance.  Who can say why?  It's one of the great mysteries of life, that some die young, that some suffer more, that some are born into easy circumstances and some into hard.  Hebrews doesn't explain that mystery.  The race itself is what it is.  Our text merely affirms that there are good and faithful people, beloved children of God, who've run every kind of race on this earth. In fact, Hebrews reminds us, those people are the supportive spectators cheering us along at our own race.  Whichever course is set before us, whatever anguish or joy may meet us along the way, the witnesses are there.  Those who ran well, those who struggled.  Those who had easy courses, those who didn't.  Those in our lives who passed into the sidelines recently and those who did so long ago.  All of them are there around us in this great cloud of witnesses as we toil up the hills and pound down the long, hot straightaways and stumble toward the finish.  They are calling out to us, "Keep it up," and "You can do it," and "Come on, gut it out!"  There they are with Jesus, surrounding and upholding us.  And faith reminds us to remain open to their presence, to draw inspiration from their example, to call on them for strength when our own is failing. For more information about the life of the church where this sermon was preached, find our website at www.holycrossnovi.org or our facebook page under the name “Holy Cross Episcopal Church.” Or join us for worship, Sunday mornings at 8:00 and 10:00 at 40700 W. Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375.
12:23
September 25, 2019
Acting As If - 08-11-2019
Maybe faith is less about belief and more about continuing to act even when we don’t have answers.
14:00
August 11, 2019
All Is Breath - 08-04-2019
A sermon about facing into meaninglessness and despair by practicing presence.
13:54
August 11, 2019
The Answer to our Prayers - 07-28-19
Does God always answer prayers? Well, it’s complicated.
12:18
August 1, 2019
Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart - 07-14-19
Where in your life do you need to get close to others and see with the heart’s eyes?
14:24
August 1, 2019
The Dust of Towns, the Nearness of the Kingdom - 07-07-2019
On standing for what you believe without cutting off connection to those who disagree.
15:03
July 31, 2019
Disciples - 06-30-2019
Guest preacher Jenny Darrah talks about the job the disciples signed in for.
12:59
July 31, 2019
One in Christ Jesus - 06-23-19
A sermon about the importance of doing what we can for inclusion and justice in a divided world.
13:48
July 18, 2019
Go Speak Music - 6-9-19
What if we heard the unique voices of one another the way God hears us?
12:57
June 22, 2019
Slave and Free - 06-02-19
How are we part of an economic system that enslaves? How are we ourselves enslaved? How do we become free?
14:08
June 22, 2019