Speaking Openly

Speaking Openly   Rev. Robert Hoch, Ph.D. First & Franklin Presbyterian Church Baltimore, Maryland February 25, 2018   Mark 8:27-38   Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days […]

Rock Formations

  Rock Formations Robert P. Hoch Exodus 17:1-7 Hebrews 11:1-3 Our narrator tells us that there, in a place called Rephidim, the people thirsted. Wilderness surrounded them — and it wasn’t the wilderness you might find on a postcard or in an Ansel Adams photograph. My mother lived through the earthquake of 1964 in Alaska.It […]

Mostly Healthy

Mostly Healthy Psalm 31:16 & Acts 7:55-60       First & Franklin Presbyterian Church Baltimore, MD May 14, 2017  — Fifth Sunday of Easter Our psalmist is in a sorry state this morning. He hears whispers of terror all around. A net, he tells us, has been set for him. Our singer cries easily, […]

Sailing Lessons

Sailing Lessons Acts 1:3-14 Robert Hoch First & Franklin Presbyterian Church Baltimore, MD May 28, 2017  — Seventh Sunday of Easter Our scripture reading says that Jesus appeared to the disciples after his suffering and death; he presented himself alive; and for forty days, Jesus instructed them about himself and God’s kingdom, using “many convincing […]

Beyond Our Wants

Beyond Our Wants  Robert Hoch Psalm 23 Acts 2:42-27 First & Franklin Presbyterian Church Baltimore, MD May 7, 2017 In contrast to the way our psalm begins – “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (1) – our sung refrain turns the noun, “shepherd”, into a verb: “Shepherd – prod me, […]

Monday Morning

Monday Morning Questions for Reflection With Brief Excerpts from the Sermon: Talking With Strangers April 30, 2017 Luke 24:13-35 13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While […]

Talking to Strangers

Talking With Strangers Robert Hoch Psalm 116 Luke 24:13-35 First & Franklin Presbyterian Church May 30, 2017             The two disciples were leaving Jerusalem. Leaving it with downcast hearts. It was the third day, the tomb was empty; there were rumors; but most suspected the worst. Jesus of Nazareth, their […]

Do Not Cling to Me

John 20:1-18 Robert Hoch Easter Sunday April 16, 2017 First & Franklin Presbyterian Church Baltimore MD Iris, our four-year-old daughter, thinks I’m clingy. She doesn’t use that word, but she thinks it all the same. She does not want to hold my hand when we cross the street or walk through a parking lot. Actually, […]

All the Right Notes, Wrong Music

Matthew 21:1-11 Robert Hoch First & Franklin Presbyterian Church Baltimore MD Palm Sunday Do you know that you can sing Amazing Grace to the theme song of Gilligan’s Island? Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. . . . Fun, right? I sing it to my kids all the time. They’ve never seen Gilligan’s Island, never […]

A Sermon on Fire

A Sermon on Fire Ezekiel 37:1-14 About a week ago I decided it was cold enough to justify building a fire – I went looking for an old newspaper, but there wasn’t any to be found. As I was pondering my situation, I noticed an old sermon, paper-clipped together and still inside its bulletin, sitting […]

Pick of the Litter

1 Samuel 16:1-13 First & Franklin Presbyterian Church Baltimore MD March 26, 2017 It may not be obvious to us, but Samuel’s state of mind in chapter sixteen represents something in life that most of us will experience: that is, the failure of our best made plans. Saul was the name of Samuel’s best made […]

Rest Area Ahead

Rest Area Ahead John 4:5-42 First & Franklin Presbyterian Church Baltimore MD March 19, 2017 Jesus thirsts. So, he pulls off the biblical interstate to a rest area –Jacob’s Well — it’s a bit dodgy perhaps. Or it’s just a typical rest area. Named after some worthy, dead now for at least fifty years. Wi-fi […]

Stirrings in the Night

Stirrings in the Night John 3:1-16 First & Franklin Presbyterian Church Baltimore MD March 12, 2017 John gives us no indication of the specific reason for Nicodemus’ midnight visit with Jesus. Maybe Nicodemus was protecting his street reputation – he’s a chief rabbi, a senior spokesperson for the religious establishment – he’s watching his back. […]

Finding Water

Finding Water  Robert Hoch Matthew 4:1-11 First & Franklin Presbyterian Church Baltimore, MD First Sunday of Lent March 5, 2017   When Jesus meets the tempter, the devil, the diablo, or Satan – he goes by a lot of names but we recognize him all the same — Jesus has been forty days and forty […]

Very Embarrassing

Very Embarrassing   Robert Hoch Ash Wednesday February 14, 2018   Psalm 51:1-17   Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is […]

Seeing with New Eyes

Seeing with New Eyes Isaiah 61:10-11; 62:1-4, 11-12 Luke 2:22-40 Lately, I’ve noticed that my eyesight isn’t as good as it used to be – I try to read at night, and it’s a matter of adjusting my arm and the book, to get to the distance where I can actually read the print. It […]

Eat Your Veg!

Eat Your Veg! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22   “Eat your veg.”   “Say please and thank you.”   “Look both ways before you cross the street.”   “Don’t hit your sister.”   “Always tell the truth.”   Or my favorite: “Sit up straight — like a Christian!”[i]   That’s what Rebecca’s grandfather said to her when […]

Ready for Christmas?

Luke 2:1-20 by Robert Hoch Are you ready for Christmas? Are we ready for Christmas, America? I’m not sure we are. When Donald Trump promised to make America great again, we put him in the White House. But when Jesus came proclaiming good news to the poor, freedom to the captive, light for those who […]

Bricks and Mortar

One afternoon, not long ago, I stood outside our church, on Madison Avenue, watching as workers in a lift assessed the integrity of the spires. They had gathered quite a pile of rubble. It did not bring me great joy, as you can probably imagine. Quite the opposite. Something in me, surprising almost, felt grief. […]

Pledging Allegiance

Pledging Allegiance  Robert Hoch Exodus 20 1 Peter 2:9 Do you think our scripture from the book of Exodus, the Ten Commandments (which is sometimes called the Decalogue) is a “pledge-of-allegiance” sort of text? A place your right hand over your heart kind of text? It might be. It doesn’t seem to countenance much in […]