Covenant Presbyterian Church – Athens, GA


An Ear to the Ground

An Ear to the Ground: A Sermon Based on Luke 21:25-37                                                                  Preached by Mark Harper at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Athens, Georgia                              December 2, 2018 – The First Sunday of Advent

The Presbyterian Planning calendar got it wrong this week. When I was looking up the suggested Bible readings for this Sunday, the gospel selection was listed as Luke 21:35-36. That had us starting the reading in the middle of a verse with the words “… like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once” — which didn’t seem like the best place to begin. I knew the passage was about the return of Jesus to this world – his second Advent, his second coming into our lives. It just seemed like our reading should have at least started with  verse 34: “But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping.” Now there’s a text for our times! Or at least for the day after the moveable feast that is Covenant’s annual progressive dinner, not to mention the stress-generating addiction of late-afternoon football watching.  Read more

“The Ruler of Kings” (Isaiah 32:1-8 and John 18:33-38) 11-25-18

Of all the political commentaries and editorials or personal memoirs from Capitol Hill – or Sunday sermons too – that you’ve heard through the years about speaking truth to power, surely the best is encapsulated in this slice of life we read today from the Gospel of John, this moment in time when the power of Rome came face to face with the power of Love.  It’s such a brief encounter, yet it is an everlasting portrayal each generation can identify with, as we learn about life in this world of “might makes right,” while we faithfully try to change it. Read more

Jesus Has Left the Building

Jesus Has Left the Building: A Sermon Based on Mark 13:1-8                                                            Preached by Mark Harper at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Athens, Georgia                            November 18, 2018

One of my neighbors is single-handedly building a new garage, or maybe it’s an in-law suite, or a shop, or something on his property. I’m not exactly sure what it is yet but I’m categorically impressed as I walk by with my dogs every day and note his progress. I’m especially impressed after days like I had this past week when I went home wondering what all my words and listening and thinking had accomplished. I knew I had not been able to do much for the fiercely addicted homeless vet who stopped by soaking wet. Hank found him a blanket and a bag of personal care items. It was one of those days when I wished that I could measure my day’s work in ceiling joists installed instead of prayers offered. Read more

From the Least to the Greatest” (James 3:13 – 4:1, 10 & Mark 9:33-37)

This is one of those sermons you’ve heard 100 times before – a “what would Jesus do” sermon, a “search your heart” sermon, a “love one another” sermon, saying “I come to serve, not to be served.”  I know it will sound familiar, so I’ll keep it short – but with a quick look at the year’s headlines, with a quick look at all the insiders & outsiders in our society today, I think you’ll agree that it’s probably a word we need to hear again, to be reminded of over & over, as we see the same challenges rise up in our society, time after time, century after century.  When will we ever learn?  Read more