Sermons at St. John's

You can also watch Candace's sermons from March 2020 to the present by viewing videos of past services here.




The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon on Doubt vs Certainty 4/28/2019

In our Gospel today Jesus returns with his wounds, and when Thomas expresses his doubt, his uncertainty, Jesus does not judge or criticize him. Jesus invites Thomas to touch his wounds-put his hand in them. It is a moment of unimaginable vulnerability. . . .We don't have to be sure of everything; God does not require our certainty. Instead, God calls us to listen, to question, to doubt, to learn, and through all of this, to grow. To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.



The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon on Charlottesville

We need to relegate symbols of the Confederacy to a museum, or an archive, where they can stand as symbols of that slippery slope that led to our moral degradation and shame as a nation. And so Saint Paul speaks for all time the words of our epistle today: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good, and acceptible, and perfect.”



Senior sermons by Chessie Kay and Ray Bess

One of the challenging times is going off to college. All of the people you meet. All new things you’re exposed to. All the difficult situations you’re presented with, without your parents there to give you any guidance at all. God challenges us to grow into a larger self, to really understand our identity. That’s exactly what’s happening when you go off to college. But God is always there, leading us and strengthening us, to take something good from the challenge, helping us find our unique identity.



The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon on the value of negative feelings

"If we don't know what the threat is or we don't know how to confront the threat, it becomes anxiety. That is exactly what Jesus is addressing with the disciples. They are so anxious and confused, we are told, and Jesus says, Peace. Peace be with you. Everybody just calm down a minute. It's going to be all right. And then he invites them to confront what they perceive as the threat. Who is this person in our midst? Come. Come touch me. It's me. Just touch my wounds. You'll see. So he calms that anxiety. Anxiety in particular is not a negative emotion at lower levels. It actually is energizing to have anxiety." To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.


The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon on doubt and faith

"When Jesus invites Thomas to actively confront his doubts, he affirms that it's OK for all of us to have doubts. Our ability to express our confusion and our hard questions shows a growing faith, a faith that is really engaged. Ironically, our doubts make our faith stronger. Dostoyevsky said that his faith in Jesus was born in a furnace of doubt. Doubt isn't the opposite of faith, it is part of our faith. It's the wrestling match that makes our faith stronger, even when it knocks us out for a while." To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.


The Rev. Candace Sandfort's Easter sermon: A Miracle of Starfish

"I believe God often tries to give us messages of comfort and reassurance--what I like to call the tender mercies of God. They are like little pieces of bread along our path that are sustaining to us. When we're in particularly troubling times of our life, God often scatters these little tender mercies along our path so that we can find our way out of the dark forest. The tender mercies of the Lord surround us. We just have to be watching for them." To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.


The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon on the Last Judgement

"Today's Gospel also has the lifting-up language that John likes to use. And he ends with what I believe are some of the most beautiful words of reassurance in the Bible: 'And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.' In tandem with this lifted-up language, we have the language of judgement. That's really not surprising because whenever you lift something up, as in lifting up your life, it does expose you to judgement. We're exposed.And yet Jesus says in that same Gospel passage, God did not send the son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him.  So we have this mystery, this mystery that Jesus is our judge, and yet Jesus is our savior. I believe that one day, when we die, each of us will stand before God. Each of us will be judged by Jesus, and we will each have to lift our cup in front of him everything that we've done and everything we've left undone.  And just when we think we can't bear it, God will forgive us and redeem us and save us. Every single one of us." To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.


The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon on mothers and daughters or sharing our vulnerability.

"When I was five or six years old, I went to a vacation bible school and it was the task of the summer-long program that we would learn the Ten Commandments. I was determined to learn those commandments and I had my mother quiz me constantlyl. We worked on it all summer, and, of course, I won that little cross at the end of the summer that they rewarded all of us with. When I went off to college, it was left behind with childhood, until one day when I visited my mother years and years later--and I'm standing in her bedroom talking to her--and there was the cross. She had wrapped it around her own bedpost. It was such a moment of grace for me because I saw in that little cross wrapped around the bedpost my mother's own longing to be close to Jesus--and to me, her longing for the one she knew somehow who could understand her suffering because he is the God who suffers with us, and with her. And the one who understands all our suffering watched over her, for such is our God, and such is our gratefulness in the faith of a God who so loved the world that he gave his only son--lifted him up on that cross, exposed and vulnerable for all the world to see." To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.


The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon on creation.

"I believe that religion and science cannot be adversaries, because God is truth. And if God is truth, then all the truth that we discover only contributes to the knowledge of God. It's clear to us that when we read Genesis, it was never meant to be a scientific or historic statement. Genesis was meant to be a stunningly beautiful ode to creation. We are inspired every time we hear it and what we hear in it is that deep truth, that deeper truth, that God created all and each one of us. We don't have to be afraid of science, afraid that we'll find something that will disprove God. As Christians, it isn't our job to know how God created this earth and all of us. It's our job to know why, and that answer was given to us by Jesus. God created all of this for love." To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.


The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon on Selma.

"Every once in a while in history there is a witness who comes at just the right time with just the right gifts. A person who is willing to shine a light on the darkness of their particular time. A person willing to point out where we left the path and have gone astray. And although they bring great change to the world, it never seems to end well for them personally. Those who are willing to walk that dark path pay a great price. . . . This calm determination is what I imagine in Jesus's own faith. He knew his sacrifice would shine a light on people that would endure to the end of the age. . . . Martin Luther King lived in the light of Christ and he died in the light of Christ. A witness to the truth." To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.


The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon: The Upside of Chaos.

"Chaos looks counterproductive, but it is the first step toward true community. Our avoidance of chaos keeps us stuck in troubling and unfulfilling relationships. As we move out of chaos into true community, we begin to share our defeats, our failures, our inadequacies, our fears. We stop acting like we have it all together. In true community, people are able to relate to each other's deepest feelings. They're able to have discussions and disagreements. True community has conflict. If it doesn't, it's suspect. There is a spirit of inclusivity in true community, a spirit of commitment. In true community we accept and embrace each other's differences." To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.


The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon on the tension of the ambiguity

"Whatever you're discerning in your life right now, until it clicks, until it feels right, we can't move forward with our decisions. Stay in the tension of that ambiguity. It's the hardest thing there is to do in life. The longer you can stay in the tension of the ambiguity, until it starts to come together and feel right, the better your decision is going to be in the end. de Chardin said it so beautifully when he said, "Trust in the slow work of God." Your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow. Let them shape themselves without undue haste. Only God can say what this new spirit is, gradually forming within you. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself incomplete." To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.


The Rev. Candace Sandfort's sermon: The Maidens' Lamps

"Why come to church? . . . .The things we practice here help us keep our focus. Here is where we practice loving God and loving our neighbor so that we can leave this place and practice loving God in the world. Out in the world we get distracted by our professions, but here we practice radical generosity." To listen to the complete sermon, please click here.