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Hilton Head Plantation
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

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Sermon Archives
Pastoral Prayers

The Antidote to Fear

As rich in meaning as this whole passage about love is in the First Letter of John, it is his last observation about love upon which I want us to concentrate for the remainder of this sermon. “There is no fear in love,” John wrote, “but perfect love cast out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.”

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The Two Sides of Human Nature

We human beings like to tell ourselves that we are cerebrally and ethically the loftiest species in the earthly created order. That is a highly debatable point, but it might be correct. Most ordinary people can accomplish things that even the brainiest of animals cannot do. Morally we can make good choices that even the kindest and most loving dogs or cats or horses could never even conceptualize. Nevertheless, we have all read how pets rescued their owners from burning houses or kept them from drowning, and so on and so on. However, almost always when heroic rescues are accomplished, it is human beings, not animals, who accomplish them.

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Providence: The GREATEST Dogma

The word providence, or more specifically the doctrine of providence, is not referred to much these days. It was a very important concept to St. Augustine, the greatest of the Early Church fathers, and to St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest of the medieval Church scholars. It became a much-discussed and written-about topic for Martin Luther and John Calvin. Since the Reformation, however, providence as a major Christian concept has slipped from the consciousness of most Christian scholars, clergy, or lay people.

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The Challenge of Faith to the Multiplicity of Minds

I am convinced that faith comes much more easily to some people than to others, and it is primarily because of cerebral wiring or brain chemistry or who knows what. The thesis of this sermon is not based on any empirical scientific study or evidence. Rather it based on having known a few thousand individual people as a minister, several hundred of them quite closely. And I mean to suggest as clearly as I can that, for instance, just as various human bodies vary greatly in athletic prowess, and for essentially genetic reasons, so too do various human minds vary in their ability to affirm matters of faith.

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The Sacrament of Communion and The Chapel

Without question, there has been a long and strong tradition of communion in the Christian Church for all of its history. It originated, of course, from the widely remembered Last Supper of Jesus with his twelve disciples on the night before Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. I have chosen two biblical passages which describe the Last Supper. The passage from Mark’s Gospel, ch. 14- vs. 17-25, is considerably the shortest account of the upper room episode in all of the four Gospels. It is all Mark says about the Passover meal.

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