The sermons of Joshua Nicholas Sullivan

We say the Holy Spirit does the work. I am the door, that is all—let me be open.

The most frustrating thing about a sermon I’ve found—since I started learning to write and deliver them in 2014—is that you only get one chance. With mentors, professors and supervisors you can watch the video recording of it again; listen to the audio-file one more time; or go over the manuscript endlessly; you can make notes how to improve—but you can never make a true change.

The proclamation, the hearing, and the receiving of God’s Word is a singular phenomenon. Even if you give a sermon more than once—each occasion is unique, with an uncountable set of circumstances, parameters, chances, and factors.

Having been trained as a painter—a medium where you can endlessly work and re-work until completion—this is so frustrating, even maddening. Though I want these short little sermons to be quite excellent (even perfect!), it’s an impossible endeavor.

So, in an act (hopefully) of humility and also of transparency, as I grow in my new craft, I offer all these past sermons I have proclaimed. They are crystallized artifacts of my learning—of my spiritual development from artist, to seminarian at Yale Divinity School, candidate for ordination in the ELCA, to intern and Vicar, and beyond. They are definitely not perfect, nor am I proud of all (or most…) of them.

Nevertheless, here they are!

—Joshua


[Header image: Fra Angelico, The Mocking of Christ (detail), with the Virgin and Saint Dominic, 1439-1443, fresco, Cell 7, Convent of San Marco, Florence]

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