March 2012
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The New Incentive: Our Fidelity to God and Neighbor


Sermon for Friends Congregational Church

“The New Incentive: Our Fidelity to God and Neighbor”

Delivered by Rev. Dr. Dan De Leon

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Today I’m going to preach about adultery. Get excited! You can’t preach a sermon about adultery without a little rock n’ roll. So, I thought we’d start out the sermon this morning by singing the first couple of verses of a timeless rock tune by Derek and the Dominos. You might know it as an Eric Clapton tune.

Play “Layla”…

“Layla” has to do loosely with adultery, or at least the temptation of adultery. The song was inspired by Eric Clapton’s love for another fellow musician’s wife; specifically George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd. But instead of acting on that love, Clapton turned his feelings inward and he came up with arguably one of the best rock songs ever written.

Now, how does talking about adultery have anything to do with today’s passage from Jeremiah about God writing a new covenant on our hearts? Well, for Jeremiah the new covenant doesn’t replace any of the past covenants God made with God’s people. For Jeremiah, the new covenant takes the essence of all of those previous covenants and writes it on our hearts. One of those past covenants was made at Mount Sinai after the people had been delivered from slavery into freedom, and that covenant included God’s law, what we call the Ten Commandments. Jeremiah 31:33 says: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” One of those Ten Commandments, of course, says, “Do not commit adultery;” hence a sermon on that topic.

Continue reading The New Incentive: Our Fidelity to God and Neighbor

Snakebitten in the Sanctuary


Sermon for Friends Congregational Church

“Snakebitten in the Sanctuary”

Delivered by Rev. Dr. Dan De Leon

Numbers 21:4-9

When my dad’s brother, Sam, was born, something was wrong with his stomach.  He had a life-threatening ailment in his tummy that was so serious that the doctors said he would only live a few days.  They said there was nothing they could do for him.  That was it.

Well, my grandmother, Beatriz, being a woman of devout faith, would not accept that answer.  Her son Samuel was going to live, by God.  So, she took her baby to her church, where the Presbyterian minister offered prayers of healing for the child, but that was really all that he could do.  She then took her baby across the street to her husband’s church, the Catholic Church, where the priest offered prayers of healing over the child.  After touching the baby’s tiny frame with holy water, the priest said, “I wish we could do more.” Continue reading Snakebitten in the Sanctuary

God’s Law Is Sweeter Than Honey


Sermon for Friends Congregational Church

“God’s Law Is Sweeter Than Honey”

Delivered by Rev. Dr. Dan De Leon

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Psalm 19

You may have noticed that for the past couple of weeks, the sermons have focused on the Hebrew Scriptures instead of the Gospels.  Two weeks ago we looked at the story of Noah’s ark and the new covenant.  Last week we looked at Abraham and Sarah being blessed with name changes and becoming the parents of many nations.  If we had looked at the Gospel lessons, we would have found two texts from Mark; the first where Jesus is baptized and then wisped to the desert for 40 days, and the second where Jesus starts telling his disciples about how he must suffer and die.

Continue reading God’s Law Is Sweeter Than Honey

Overcoming the Island Identity


Sermon for Friends Congregational Church

“Overcoming the Island Identity”

Delivered by Rev. Dr. Dan De Leon

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

Let’s ponder a question this morning: From the words of Lewis Carroll’s caterpillar, “Who are you?”  It’s a complex question.  Who are you?  Where to begin?  Let’s start figuring it out by looking to this morning’s lesson from the Hebrew Scriptures where we find the implications of one’s name.  Abraham means “father of nations.”  Sarah means, “Princess of many.”  So, in thinking about who we are, we might start by recalling what our names mean.

Continue reading Overcoming the Island Identity