Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A short holiday hiatus

Exams are over, papers are done, and the campus is quiet. Chapel services will resume on February 8 after our January Interterm. The "J-term", as we call it, is when our students take short, intensive classes or travel on LPTS-sponsored trips of discovery to other places and cultures. Students from other seminaries, LPTS alums, and church leaders are welcome to travel with us.

Please return after February 8, 2008 for a new sermon. Feel free to visit the other sermons and lectures on this page, the sermons from this academic year, or the sermon archive for other words of comfort, challenge, and compassion that have been spoken in Caldwell Chapel.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Servant Leadership

James A. Hyde
Professor & Director of Marriage and Family Therapy Program

Andrew Black
Master of Divinity student-LPTS and Juris Doctor student-University of Louisville

Vanessa Sharp
Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Church Music student-Johnson C. Smith Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta

Matthew 25:40
Ezekiel 2:9-3:3; 3:10,11;3:14,15
John 1:14
November 30, 2007

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, the LPTS community gathered in Caldwell Chapel to remember those who are HIV positive, those who live with AIDS around the world, and those active in the struggle against AIDS. We are invited to sit where our brothers and sisters with AIDS sit in their daily life, and are reminded that we know God through our knowledge of the poor, the sick, and the oppressed. Listen to the service. Read Professor Hyde’s remarks in PDF. Read Andrew Black’s remarks in PDF.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wolves, Lions, and Lambs at the Table

Cláudio Carvalhaes
Assistant Professor of Worship and Preaching

Isaiah 65: 17-25
Luke 21:5-19
November, 16, 2007

The scripture texts for this week pull together two different visions of the future: one from Isaiah filled with life and joy, and one from Luke about Jesus predicting a disastrous future. How do we make sense out of that? What do these visions have to do with our agency in the world? The sermon initiates the conversation and then asks people to get together around the Eucharistic table to figure it out. Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On Sheep, Wolves, Serpents and Doves

David C. Hester Dean of the Seminary Vice President for Academic Affairs Harrison Ray Anderson Professor of Ministry

Matthew 10:1, 5-23
October 26, 2007

Matthew’s account of Jesus sending out “the Twelve” on a mission to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” on which journey they are to take only the essentials and no extra baggage, prompts us to think about our own call to participate in God’s mission through the church for the transformation of the world. Matthew warns that the disciples who agree to “go public” with Jesus’ call to a new vision of the future may not always be welcome. The opponents of Jesus’ good news vision are consuming and destructive of self and of others—they are like wolves. How shall those in mission live in the midst of such threats? Jesus urges they become “wise as serpents and innocent as doves,” living a sanctified life, guided by practical wisdom that recognizes openings for the Gospel’s good word. Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Where is the Glory

Dora Pierce Professor of Bible and Professor of Old Testament

I Samuel 4:1-22
November 2, 2007

In this story ancient Israel devises a plan to avoid another defeat by the hand of the Philistines by bringing the Ark of the Covenant into battle. They are defeated anyway and the Ark, Israel’s glory, goes into captivity/exile. Two problems faced the ancient community: they were led by corrupt and venal leaders and they forgot what it means to be a people that views itself as being in covenant with God. Ancient problems that are also contemporary. Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Beloved Community: American Search, Christian Hope, Human Struggle

Charles Marsh
Professor of Religious and Theological Studies
Director of the Project on Lived Theology, University of Virginia

George and Jean Edwards Lecture on Peace and Justice
October 25, 2007

In our current, troubled times, Dr. Marsh reconstructs Dr. Martin Luther King’s call to the struggle for a new world as the only true call of the children of the living God. He says that in order to create beloved community, we must remain close to the ground, listen more closely, and return to the commitment of the Church’s healing presence in the world. Listen to the lecture.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mission Impossible? Faith at the Crossroads of People & Religions

Carlos Cardozi-Orlandi
Associate Professor of World Christianity, Columbia Theological Seminary

The Henry H. and Marion A. Presler Lectureship on Christian World Missions
October 24, 2007

Popular religion is an expression of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christianity grows in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Latino areas of the U.S., mission studies discover particular dynamics between religion and culture. Given these dynamics, what role should we take in the Great Commission? Listen to the lecture.

To learn more about the Pressler Lecture series and the people for whom it was named: read the dedication address.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What a Difference Difference Can Make!

Douglas L. Gragg
Associate Professor of Bibliography and Research
Director of Library and Information Technology Services

Matthew 15: 1-28
Proverbs 27:17
October 12, 2007—Preached in honor of Theological Libraries Month

In this text Jesus’ inclusive vision of the community that lives under the reign of God is expanded even further through an encounter with a gentile woman of faith. This encourages us to celebrate diversity and pursue inclusivity, trusting that our own vision of the beloved community will be expanded and our lives enriched in ways beyond our capacity to predict through engagement with difference. Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

God’s Widening Circles

Frances S. Adeney
William A. Benfield, Jr. Professor of Evangelism and Global Mission

Ephesians 1:1-10
September 28, 2007
The sermon starts with a reading from Ephesians by student Asamoah Apenteng in his native language, Akan.

Despite scientific predictions, and despite various scenarios described in the bible, humans are blessed, in a way, by our inability to unravel and articulate the mysteries of what will happen to the universe in the future. But we keep trying. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, wends his way does not describe what will happen in the future. But he does describe God’s intentions for the future—the “dimensions of God’s eternal purpose and grace.” Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

From Head to Heart

David R. Sawyer
Professor of MinistryDirector of Lifelong Learning and Advanced Degrees

Luke 5:17-26
September 21, 2007

The story of the healing of the paralytic brings the message not only of healing of a body but of redemption of the heart of the paralyzed person as well. The preacher’s own journey from head to heart is tied to this passage and also to the image of the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz whose joints were frozen because he lacked a heart. The congregation concluded the sermon with an experience of the “prayer of the heart” in chant and prayer. Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I Cried to God

Christopher L. Elwood

2 Samuel 12:7-25
September 14, 2007

This story, in which David pleads to God for the life of his infant son, reminds us that sometimes when we cry to God “from out of the depths” (Ps. 130) we don’t experience rescue or relief. In times when we struggle with God’s apparent silence, where is the Good News to be found? Listen to the sermon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dangerous Discipleship

Assistant Professor of Theology

Luke 14:25-33
September 7, 2007

The language and idea of discipleship resonates at the core of Christian witness. What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in our times?
Listen to the sermon.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Upheaval of Grace

Johanna W. H. BosDora Pierce Professor of Bible and Professor of Old Testament

Amy Plantinga PauwHenry P. Mobley Professor of Doctrinal Theology

Psalm 68:1-20
Baccalaureate Service on May 20, 2007

Psalm 68 is a difficult psalm, full of textual problems and violent imagery. But it brings good news of God’s upheaval of the status quo in favor of the suffering and vulnerable, those who are farthest away from the abundant life God intends for all. This upheaval of grace starts already with the fact that in this psalm women are called to be preachers of this good news. Today we too, women and men alike, are called to participate in the upheaval of grace as we stand with prisoners, outcasts, and the afflicted, and sing the praises of our gracious and righteous God. Listen to the sermon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Behold I am Doing a New Thing

David Sawyer
Director of Lifelong Learning and Advanced Degrees
Associate Professor of Ministry

1 Corinthians 15: 20-26
Isaiah 43:19
Originally preached on April 28, 2006

The text for today from 1 Corinthians is the foundation of an old theological argument—the struggle between life and death in the resurrection of Jesus. The speaker once believed that if it can’t be measured, it can’t be real. He confesses here that was siding with death instead of life. The trouble with the epistemology he had adopted was that it left no room for God to do anything new. Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Pedagogy of Redemption

David C. Hester
Dean of the Seminary
VP for Academic Affairs
Professor of Christian Education

Romans 8: 18-25
Micah 4:1-4
Originally preached at Convocation on February 17, 2006

Louisville Seminary is at a kairos moment in its life, as we commit ourselves to becoming an anti-racist and multicultural community and begin in the fall a new curriculum. Our vocation and identity as a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (USA), with the mission of preparing men and women to participate in the continuing redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ for the world, requires us to have a "pedagogy of redemption" that equips our students to be practical theologians who can, in turn, teach those they serve to live redemptively in the world God loves. Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Politics of Jesus

Christopher L. Elwood
Professor of Historical Theology

Psalm 27
Mark 15:6-20

Originally preached on April 7, 2006

We continue our summer series of most-downloaded sermons with the question: is there politics in this story? The familiar story of Jesus’ passion is surprising in its relevance. As together we seek ways to embody God’s call for justice, we may find we cannot do without the politics of Jesus. Listen to the sermon.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Psalm 133

Patricia Kathleen Tull
A. B. Rhodes Professor of Old Testament

Romans 12:9-21; Psalm 133
Originally preached on April 21, 2006

Psalm 133 describes "kindred dwelling together" as good and pleasant--a surprising description given the large number of stories of sibling conflict in Scripture and the difficulty most people experience living with others in our own families, churches, and societies. The Psalm sets in sharp relief the story of Jacob's stealing of his father's only blessing from his brother Esau. What happened between Jacob and Esau in subsequent years offers important perspective on both the difficulty and the urgency of seeking the blessing of kinship. Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Amy Plantinga Pauw
Henry P. Mobley Professor of Doctrinal Theology

Psalm 105:1-6
Matthew 20:1-16
Originally preached on September 16, 2005

We continue our summer series of popular sermons with the parable in Matthew 20:1-16 that overturns our first come first served world. This is good news for the survivors of hurricane Katrina and for all of us.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Case for Seeing

Christopher L. Elwood
Professor of Historical Theology

John 20:19-31
Originally preached on April 1, 2005

We continue our summer series of most popular sermons…
The old hymn tells us that "We walk by faith and not by sight..." And so, in most traditional interpretations of the story of so-called doubting Thomas, we are encouraged not to imitate the disciple who insists on seeing and touching the resurrected Jesus. But a closer reading suggests that visual experience is closely related to a biblical account of faith. The demand to see a real and tangible redemption just might be the touchstone of faith rather than its denial.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Final Exam

Robert Howard
Adjunct Professor of Homiletics

Matthew 25:31-46
Originally preached on November 18, 2005

Jesus Christ gives us his own version of a "final exam" in the final judgment image of the sorting of the sheep and the goats. What seems to be important for Jesus are the ordinary human actions of feeding, clothing, visiting, and caring for the outsiders with whom Christ identifies. Whenever we do care for them we will find the Christ for whom we long.

On Getting to Know Jesus Better

Dean K. Thompson

President and Professor of Ministry

Psalm 23
John 6:47-69
Originally preached on September 9, 2005

This sermon, preached at a communion service, focuses on the hope of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ in our daily lives of discipleship and obedience to his call. It was influenced by novelist Marilynne Robinson’s description of John Calvin’s notion of communion, which is “the idea of experience as encounter.” This sermon was also influenced by LPTS professor Susan Garrett’s Bangor Theological Seminary Lectures of 2005. Garrett declares that the churches of mainline Protestantism “must show people to a personal God, to Jesus Christ living and moving in our midst.”

Monday, June 11, 2007


Susan R. Garrett
Professor of New Testament

Ezekiel 1:26-28
Daniel 12:1-2
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Originally preached on November 4, 2005

Jesus shows forth the glory of God. We reflect that glory when we allow ourselves to be remade in the image of Jesus' self-giving love. Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF format.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Good Pastor

While Chapel services are on hiatus during the summer we present our most downloaded sermons from the archive. We begin with our most-downloaded address.

Dean K. Thompson
President and Professor of Ministry

July 2004
216th General Assembly in Richmond, VA

An address presented to alums and guests. Listen to the address. Read the address in pdf.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Whom Do You Serve?

Adam Fischer
Student Body President

May 11, 2007
Genesis 11:1-9
Romans 12:1-8.

God calls all of us to live in a diverse world. While our community may reflect some signs of living into this call, it is important that we continue to work toward God's call for even greater diversity. This call toward diversity may lead us into tension and discomfort as we learn new ways to live with one another. Listen to the sermon.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Living with Diversity: A Lesson From Peter

David C. Hester
Dean of the Seminary
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Harrison Ray Anderson Professor of Ministry

May 4, 2007
Acts 11: 1-18
John 13: 1-35

How are we to live into the diversity that we want in our community? Dean Hester addresses this emotionally charged issue as we move from the easy beginning of good intentions to the hard road of loving the "inconvenient differences" among us. Listen to the sermon.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Wisdom's Winsome Way

Dr. David R. Sawyer
Director of Lifelong Learning and Advanced Degrees
Professor of Ministry

April 27, 2007
1 Samuel 25 (selected verses)

We work together, play together, worship together, and care for each other. And sometimes, we get angry at each other. We get in each other’s ways. We get on each other’s nerves. We react sometimes foolishly. This is especially true when things are changing, and wow, are things ever changing in the world, in the church, and in the seminary. The old ways of doing church no longer work, and we find ourselves in the wilderness trying to find a better way.
Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What’s Your Dream?

Dr. Frances S. Adeney
William A. Benfield, Jr. Professor of Evangelism and Global Mission

April 20, 2007
Genesis 31:55-32:12

This sermon tells the story of Jacob’s struggles as he returns from his father-in-law Laban’s home, where he had sojourned for twenty years, to the land of his birth. The story shows how God fulfills the dream he gave to Jacob many years before. The idea presented is that although we often put aside the dream God gives us, God renews it in our lives and it is always much bigger than we’d imagined.
Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in pdf.

Some Sympathy for King Herod

Dr. Timothy B. Tyson
Winner, Grawemeyer Award--Religion (2007)
Author of Blood Done Sign My Name

April 19, 2007
Matthew 2:1-23

Timothy B. Tyson, winner of the 2007 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, reflects on how King Herod's strategy for dealing with the threat to his kingship posed by the birth of the messiah parallels the "measured military responses" favored by U.S. leaders today. But, such "rational" strategies are not permissible within a Christian framework because they are not undergirded by love. Through the course of the sermon, Dr. Tyson moves steadily from his starting position of "sympathy for King Herod," to a crescendo of criticism of the present war in Iraq and a stirring call to all Christians to make their voices heard. Listen to the sermon.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tilling and Tending

Dr. Douglas L. Gragg
Associate Professor of Bibliography and Research
Director of
Library and Information Technology Services

April 13, 2007
Genesis 2:4b-15.

In this text the human vocation is identified poetically as a responsibility “to till and to tend” the garden that sustains life. While this has obvious implications for human attitudes and responsibilities toward the natural environment, it can also be applied more broadly. What if we were to think of all of our important activities as forms of gardening?
Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in pdf.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Drawing Life

Dr. Bradley J. Wigger
Second Presbyterian Church Professor of Christian Education

John 11:17-44
March 30, 2007

With the help of students in the Practical Theology class Dr. Wigger explores the story of the raising of Lazarus.
Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Sermon by Angela Cowser

Rev. Angela Cowser
Associate Pastor of Multi-Cultural Ministries
Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN

Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture Worship Service
March 26, 2007

Our Worship Leader today:

Rev. Angela Cowser holds degrees from Brown University (BA, political science), University of Chicago (MA international relations), and Louisville Seminary (MDiv ’05). She currently serves as and is a PhD student in ethics,
homiletics, and practical theology at Vanderbilt University.

Our Liturgist:

Clemette Haskins is a first-year MDiv student from Bowling Green, Ky. Prior to following God’s call to ministry, Haskins was a Division I women’s basketball coach at two universities. In recent years, she has led Bible studies and served as interim pastor for a church in Bowling Green.

This worship service was part of the Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture sponsored by the
Women's Center at LPTS. Listen to the sermon.

Reading and Writing Against the Odds: Daughter Disciples of a Sister-Scribe Leaving a Mark in the Scriptures of Israel

Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney
Associate Professor, Old Testament and Homiletics
The Lutheran Thelogical Seminary at Philadelphia

Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture
March 25, 2007

Dr. Gafney is a member of the historic African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia, Pa. Established in 1792, it is the first Episcopal church in the U.S. founded by and for African Americans. She is also a member of the Dorshei Derekh Reconstructionist Minyan of the Germantown Jewish Center in Philadelphia. Dr. Gafney is particularly interested in how Jews and Christians interpret the texts they hold in common. Among her other interests are feminist biblical studies, rabbinic studies, and issues in translation. Listen to the lecture.

The Katie Geneva Cannon lecture is sponsored by the Women's Center at LPTS.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Life After Death: Getting Through Grief

Rev. Dr. Lynn Gant March
Pastoral Counselor in Private Practice

Psalm 22:1-5
Psalm 22:25-31
Romans 8:31-39
March 14, 2007

“Grief is biblical,” says Dr. Gant March as she walks listeners through the stages of grief and identifies the ways in which God walks alongside.

Listen to the sermon.

Living with Grief

Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff
Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture,
University of Virginia
Noah Porter Professor (Emeritus) of Philosophical Theology,
Yale University

Caldwell Lecture
March 12, 2007

Dr. Wolterstorff guides pastoral caregivers in ways to help individuals own, not disown, their grief and learn to live with grief as a part of their life story. Listen to the lecture.

Forgiveness and Beyond

Rev. Dr. Joretta L. Marshall
Professor of Pastoral Theology and Care
Eden Theological Seminary

Greenhoe Lecture
March 13, 2007

It is the Christian’s vocation to seek healing and reconciliation with individuals and within communities. Dr. Marshall describes what forgiveness is and what it is not and outlines a process of forgiveness for those who incorporate it into pastoral care.
Listen to the lecture.

Asleep with Grief

Rev. Dr. Dale P. Andrews
Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology
Boston University School of Theology

Luke 22:39-46
March 13, 2007

What do you pray in the face of death? Do not succumb to the temptation to believe that death is the end. Pray for a death as the beginning of a life in peace with Jesus.
Listen to the sermon.

Understanding Grief

Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff
Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia
Noah Porter Professor (Emeritus) of Philosophical Theology, Yale University

Caldwell Lecture
March 12, 2007

From personal experience, the author of Lament for a Son provides an understanding of grief—an irrational longing for that which one rationally knows cannot be returned.
Listen to the lecture.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Finitude and Unfinished Business

Rev. Dr. Joretta L. Marshall
Professor of Pastoral Theology and Care
Eden Theological Seminary

Greenhoe Lecture
March12, 2007

Much of the unfinished business of living, dying, and death is related to unresolved pain and hurt and the need for forgiveness that may never be completed. Listen to the lecture.

Unbind the Dead

Rev. Dr. Dale P. Andrews
Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology
Boston University School of Theology

John 11:28-44
March 11, 2007

Like Mary and Martha who mourned the death of their brother Lazarus, we believe that death must be removed in order to have Emmanuel – God with us. Instead, the overwhelmed Jesus overwhelms death by moving the stone to stand in the middle of death. Listen to the sermon.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Woman Behind the Wardrobe

Johanna W. H. Bos,
Dora Pierce Professor of Bible and Professor of Old Testament

2 Kings 22:8-17
March 9, 2007

Huldah is a mostly forgotten prophet but a crucial one who authenticates a written document as God's word. She is in the text introduced by her profession, her husband's name and the names of his immediate forefathers as well as her husband's profession, "keeper of the wardrobe." She speaks a word of strong judgment of God against God's people because they have not been faithful to God.

Being faithful to God in ancient Israel, also according to Deuteronomy meant taking care of the stranger, poor women, people without a voice and representation. Today, our communities are trying to change their mentality and practices of inclusion, even as the people of ancient Israel were called to do. We too have fallen short, not just in the past but also in the present. Women have come out from behind the wardrobe, together with Huldah.

Yet, in the light of International Women's Day, celebrated on March 8, we call to mind the fact that more than 400 million women in the world are counted among the unemployed or underemployed and that a great deal still needs to be done to bring down the house of patriarchy and to usher in an age of equality and dignity for women. Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Is God Waiting on Us?

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty

Psalm 27
Matthew 23:1-12
March 2, 2007

The sermon for the Community Service of Word and Sacrament during
Exploratory Weekend was given by the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty. She received her M.Div. from LPTS in 1995 and her Ph.D in theological ethics from Union-PSCE in 2002. Elizabeth teaches theology at Bellermine University and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Women's Center at LPTS. Listen to the sermon.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Compassion and Accountability

David R. Sawyer
Director of Lifelong Learning and Advanced Degrees, and Professor of Ministry

1 Samuel 24:1-22
February 23, 2007

The sermon addresses the question, "How do we call each other to account and still be respectful and compassionate with each other?" It draws on the story of David and Saul at the cave at Engedi in which David restrains himself and his fighters from harming Saul, "the Lord's Anointed" but gives a strong speech juggling delicate issues of power and respect. "It's a slippery and difficult road we travel, being a human community, but trying to hold onto our ideals of faithfulness, loving each other, forgiving each other, speaking the truth in love to each other, granting each other grace in the face of the plain acknowledgement of our errors." Listen to the sermon. Read the sermon in PDF format.

Reclaiming the Prophetic: Toward a Theology of Hope and Justice in a Fragmented World

Assistant Professor of Theology

2 Corinthians 5:18-19
February 15, 2007

An address given by Dr. Hill at Spring Convocation on the occasion of his installation to the Faculty at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Hill's address focuses on the deep roots of prophetic Christian heritage, from which one can learn the language of hope and justice. These themes hold particular meaning for confronting contemporary expressions of human suffering and fragmentation in local and global spaces.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Death in Egypt

Christopher L. Elwood
Professor of Historical Theology

Genesis 49:29-50:14
February 9, 2007

What would we do if we were in Joseph’s position? This narrative of Jacob’s death and burial (the only passage in scripture that gives us a close account of a funeral) encourages us to wrestle with questions of cultural difference and faithfulness. Listen to the sermon.