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Father Cobb's Weekly Written Sermons

SUNDAY, MAY 3, 2020
The Fourth Sunday of Easter

      The Lord Is My Shepherd
                                                                  Psalm 23 and The Gospel of John 10:1-10
This Sunday is often called The Sunday of The Good Shepherd. The role of the shepherd is much different in Scripture than it is viewed by our society.  In our past and present history the shepherd is seen as a position of the least in our society.  Look at how that parallels the times we are going through today in the midst of this Coronavirus Pandemic. The people that labor in the poultry and meat processing plants are now called essential workers. Many are getting sick because their working conditions place them in hazardous environments. The shepherd was not necessarily seen as a highly esteemed job and yet Moses was called to set God's people free from bondage in Egypt while being a shepherd of his father in law's sheep. David, the youngest of Jesse's sons was called to deliver Israel by defeating Goliath and the Philistines while tending his father's sheep.  I find it interesting that Jesus calls people who are really shepherding the sheep that belong to another. I as a priest am an under shepherd, because it is God who is The Shepherd. One last shepherd illustration and there are so many, it was the shepherds who the angels first told of the birth of Jesus.  The shepherds guarding their flocks by night were first to visit the newborn King of Kings, Jesus Christ.
There are two points I want to highlight from the reading. In John, Jesus ends the passage by saying that the point of his coming is that his followers might have and live a more abundant life. Jesus wants us to be different.  We are God's chosen people, set a part, consecrated for his service, therefore Jesus is Our Lord. This is an important part because it is not enough to say that you believe in Jesus. Other religions will acknowledge, even respectfully the Historical Jesus, his existence is not the question. The devil believes in Jesus. It is when you invite Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior that makes the difference, because you not only acknowledge Jesus, but you worship and obey Jesus.  It is when you have made Jesus Lord that you can claim all the promises of Psalm 23!
Psalm 23 has an often overlooked and misunderstood verse. Psalm 23:5b says: "You anointed my head with oil.  It is true that David as King was anointed with oil, blessed by God, but sheep have oil applied to their heads so they don't get stuck in weeds and briars.  If you think about that, it is dirty work to put oil on sheep.
I wanted to start with this verse first because it is often overlooked. God does not want us, God's children to get stuck in bad places or situations, which is why God leads us.
Lets look at all the promises of Psalm 23
1. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not be in want.  I do not care what situation or circumstance I am in, God has my back. God will bring me through. God will fix it.
God is my source, God is my answer, God is my provision, God is my abundance.
2-3.  He makes me lie down in green pasture; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.    He leads me in right paths for his namesake.
When I follow God's lead, it is going to be in nutritious, life sustaining places that are calming, not chaotic.  I will sometimes be shaken to the core, but God will do a reset, a restoration, even on my soul. We sometimes  get in trouble because are in the wrong place, with the wrong folk, because we were not following God.
4.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.  There are going to be times, even when we are following God that we find ourselves in places that are dark, notice
that it says: I am not afraid because God is with me. There is a magnificent stained glass window in the rear of Grace Episcopal Church, Norfolk, Virginia that I am privileged to view as I preach the word and celebrate
the sacraments. It is Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, holding a little lamb in one arm and holding his shepherds crook in the other. We do not talk enough about courage.  A shepherd has to be courageous, often having to defend
the sheep from all sorts of peril and danger. Courage and cowardice cannot coexist. God's protection is my comfort.
5.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.  You need to know that everybody is not your friend. There are some bad folk in the world that do not call Jesus Lord
and Savior, yet even when you find yourself surrounded by the wrong kind of folk, God is going to feed you, anoint you and God will fill your cup to overflowing.  I had to learn not to let little children hold a cup while I poured, because more than once they would pull it away and the milk or juice would hit the floor. How often have we pulled the cup of blessing away, before we let God fill it all the way up?  God is  MORE THAN ENOUGH!
6.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord    my whole life long. We need to be reminded of God's hand on our lives and God's plan for our lives. God is pour Shepherd and God is going to care for us now and throughout all eternity. God is willing and able to see us through.
I want to thank all of you that are calling one person everyday. To  see how they are doing, give a word of hope, share a word of encouragement, it is working. This will not only help them, it will help you as you share your faith, it makes your faith grow even more.  If you know someone that does not have internet or social media would you consider reading them this sermon or copy, paste and print this sermon and mail it to them? The Prayer Book Catechism: Who are the Ministers of the Church? Laypersons, Bishops, Priests and Deacons!
Thank you again for continuing your tithes and offerings during this Coronavirus Pandemic, you may continue to mail them to the church or visit the church website: for a secure giving site
(Grace Church Online Giving) for your debit, credit cards or bank accounts. This is the new normal. I am glad to be serving Grace Church at this time as we
lead by God together re-imagine, re-define, re-engineer, re-develop and yes most of all recommit ourselves to the service of God. Please continue your prayers for Father Cobb and all of Grace Episcopal Church. We are praying that God will keep you and your family safe from disease, harm and danger. We are monitoring the
phones: 757-625-2868 and the email: Please let us know of your needs or the needs of other members. Follow us on Facebook: Grace Episcopal Church Norfolk.  God Bless you and YourLoved Ones. Be Safe and Stay Well. We love you and God loves You.

SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2020
The Third Sunday of Easter

                                                            John 24:13-35
 This is the Third Sunday of Easter and we see again that Jesus continues to appear to his disciples. This time he makes himself unrecognizable to the disciples as they were walking seven miles to Emmaus from Jerusalem. I want
to share a story about walking. In the Church of my youth there was a member who walked everywhere. He was always impeccably dressed and he wore good shoes, not soft soles. He was always on time and was very involved. People would always ask him why he did not drive and he would say, he never learned to drive. He lived into his nineties and when he passed away they found him on his knees, he had died while praying to God. Do you know God is with you always, he promised never to leave us or forsake us.  The disciples were talking about all of the events of the past few days. Jesus walks up on them and asks what they are talking about. Do you know how important your conversation is? Scripture says, death and life are even in the power of the tongue. I believe as someone else has
said that you have right now what you have said. Scripture says God has given us the power to speak things into existence. When Jesus asks these two disciples, one of them named Cleopas, what they were talking about? He answered: " Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" Jesus replies: "What things?"  I find it fascinating that they call Jesus a stranger after being in His presence on numerous other occasions.  Scripture even says we entertain angels unawares. They begin the long details of telling Jesus what it is that has happened. In reality Jesus wanted to hear their testimony and faith.
There was and is something about being in the presence of Jesus. When they got near to where they were going, Jesus walked ahead as if he was going on. The two disciples invited Jesus to stay with them as night was nearing. This is an important part of the story: they invited Jesus. God is never an intruder, God goes where God is invited. You can tell a person who has invited Jesus into their heart, soul and life as Savior and Lord. Notice, they invite and Jesus accepts. They also display Christian Hospitality, they invite Jesus to eat with them and he does. There is much anticipation and speculation about what the transitioned body of believers is like. Jesus is able to eat and fellowship. What must a heavenly banquet be like! Jesus takes bread, blesses it, broke it and immediately they recognize him.  Jesus vanishes from their sight. They said to each other: "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?"
The two disciples were so moved, they immediately got up and that night walked the seven miles back to the other disciples in Jerusalem.  Your faith grows when you tell your story. We are living in a time of testimony. Let me share the testimony of our community of faith at Grace Episcopal Church. Grace was originally  founded before the American Civil War as The Colored congregation of Christ Church. We are both a striving people and a surviving people. We have always had great leadership in both Clergy and Laity rivaling that of any parish in the Episcopal Church. We are a proud people.  We will survive and thrive. We have already survived: World War One, Plague of 1917-18, The Great Depression, World War Two, Korean War, Vietnam War, The Continuing Civil Rights Struggle, Death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., September 11, 2001, The Recession of 2008, and this to name a few. Grace Church was in existence to help initiate and support many causes that have blessed a whole lot of people. We will be here after this pandemic, to keep on proclaiming, inspiring, transforming and liberating as an instrument of Almighty God!
I want to ask you to do one thing during this time: I want you to call one person a day and see how they are doing, give a word of encouragement, and tell them that God will bring them through. If you know of someone that does not have access to the internet, would you consider printing this sermon and mailing it to them? The Prayer Book says we are all Minsters of the Church, Lay Persons, Bishops, Priests and Deacons!
Thank you for you prayers: Pray for Grace Church daily, for Father Cobb and our family, for all members of Grace Church. I am praying daily for you and your family, that God will protect you from harm, disease and disaster, that God will bless you and meet the needs of your family.
Thank you for your tithes and offerings. Grace Church has always been a generous people and we live on the legacy of past generations who gave and we give so that future generations will have a Grace Church.
Please go to our website at to give your tithes and offerings on a secure site (Grace Online Giving).  You can also mail your offering to Grace Church. I was talking to a friend in Tennessee who said that their Church's giving has continued through this coronavirus pandemic since most of their giving was already online, this was an African American Church as well.
We are monitoring the phone messages: 757-625-2868, email:  Let us know of your needs or any parishioner in need. Please visit our website: for sermons and resources on our Facebook page:
Grace Episcopal Church Norfolk.
Coming Soon our You-Tube page with sermons and other content. Keep the Faith, Be Safe, God Loves You and We love you! God Bless You and Your family.
Remember to call one person a day!

SUNDAY, APRIL 19, 2020
The Second Sunday of Easter

  Resurrection: The New Normal
                                                                John 20: 19-29
In the Movie and Theatrical production: The Lion King it is all about survival. It turns out that the portrait and characteristics of each species is really true, lions, jackals, hyenas and elephants do behave in that manner.  The animal kingdom is about adaptability in order to survive.  This Coronavirus Pandemic requires that we adapt to new ways of behavior, in order to survive. Adaptation is about change and change is difficult for all of us.  We like things just the way that they are and yet learning is really about changing the way we see, function,
understand,and grow
 I love sharing with confirmation classes that Easter is a season. This second week of Easter has powerful readings.  The readings for Friday actually have John 21, where Jesus appears to the disciples on the beach after they have fished all night and caught nothing. Seeing their failure Jesus tells the disciples to cast their net on the right side and they have the greatest catch of fish of their lives, because they not only caught fish, they caught FAITH.  Faith the very basis of Christianity is caught more than taught.
John's Gospel for today finds the disciple living in fear, behind locked doors, afraid to go outside. Sound familiar?  They were justifiably afraid of the persecution they would receive from the Jews, as we are justifiably cautious and careful about this dangerous disease.  Jesus has already appeared to Mary Magdalen and no one believed her. Jesus appeared in a form to the two walking and when these two told that they had seen Him, no one believed.  Jesus comes through the walls to where the disciples are gathered and says to them the words that we all need
to hear, especially in times like these: Peace be with you! The Peace that God offers through Jesus is the kind of Peace that only Jesus has, the Peace that passes all understanding. The Old Gospel Hymn says "This joy that I have, the world can't give it and the world can't take it away." The peace that God gives cannot be taken away!
Jesus invites the disciples to come and physically examine the prints in his body of the nails and the spear marks, a literal and visible testimony of the love He shared by Jesus' tortuous death on the cross for your sins and mine.
Thomas was unfortunately not there when Jesus came. I wonder where he was. He felt left out and knew he hadmissed out, so he says what he feels:" unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."  He says it, straight up: I have to see it to believe it.  This is walking by sight, not by faith. Faith is essential. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
A week later, and I believe this is important to note that Jesus showed his resurrected self: body, mind and spirit to his followers multiple times. Jesus again finds the disciples gathered, again he says: Peace be with you.  Immediately he says to Thomas who is present this time: "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."  This is where Thomas received the nickname he has come to be universally known: Doubting Thomas. We all are like Thomas, when faced with giant challenges:
How am I going get through these times? How am I going to find a new Job? How am I going to pay my bills? How am I going to feed my family? What if I or someone I love gets sick?
I recently noticed that the word and letters if are contained in the word FAITH.
God will bring you through every challenge, every difficulty, every hurt, every loss, every pain, every time!
Thomas immediately says to Jesus: "My Lord and MY God!" Jesus said to Thomas: "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."  Keep the faith, God will honor it. God will bring you through, even if right now you say I don't have that much faith, remember if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, God can move any mountain!
Thanks for your faithful support during these times. We are in the process of setting up You-Tube and the dedicated Grace Episcopal Church App that will let you see and hear sermons, get sermon notes,  music, announcements, birthdays, events and so many wonderful methods of keeping us connected.  Please visit our website:
our Facebook page: Grace Episcopal Church Norfolk
You Give your tithes and offerings on a safe secure link on our website by bank account, debit or credit card:   Grace Online Giving. We also did a recent mailing and will do this on a periodic regular basis. We are all ministers of the Church, so please reach out to those persons that do not use the internet or social media.  We are monitoring
the phones: (757) 625-2868 and email: Let us know of members that are in need so that we can help. God Bless You, Keep The Faith, God Loves You and We Love You, Be Safe!

SUNDAY, APRIL 12, 2020

            LOOKING FOR SIGNS OF LIFE          
                                                               Gospels of John and Matthew
The Gospel of John and the Gospel of Matthew offer an assigned reading for Easter Sunday.  John"s Gospel gives a little more depth.  I want to go back a few days before the Last Supper, which instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  How did Jesus prepare for all this turmoil and what can we learn about preparation for the trials that we go through?  In Military Academies they study famous wars and conflicts, even wars on land, sea and air that happened decades ago. The greatest learning is often in studying the conflicts and engagement of those forces that lost.  In business schools,  the best use the case method where they look at what certain businesses did in certain situations and the outcomes that certain decisions created. There was no one that had ever experienced what Jesus was about to encounter.  Jesus carried certain disciples with him to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. All Jesus wanted the disciples to do was stay awake, this is what educators call a teachable moment. The disciples would go to sleep and Jesus would come and remind them that all he asked them to do was stay awake. Jesus prayed so hard that sweat rolled off him like blood.
Jesus got ready for the moment by praying to God for strength, direction, peace and anything he needed to accomplish His assignment. We all have an assignment, custom made for us to do our part for the Kingdom of God.
When we get to Easter Sunday, Jesus has finished the greatest assignment  and challenge ever known to any human, death on the cross at Calvary for the sins of the entire world, past, present and future, a one perfect sufficient oblation
for all people, for all time. Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus of born again fame had collected the body of Jesus. Jesus' followers then as now had forgotten his promise: "I will rise again on the third day." At daybreak his followers race
to the tomb, it is empty, the body of Jesus is not there. This is a great parallel to today, the Body of Christ is not in the Church Building. I have to say this again, you and I make up today's body of Christ, we meet in the Church Sanctuary,
but we are the Church. This is important because the risen Christ has given us, the body of Christ the power to do God's work and will on earth, as it is in heaven. So even when we do not gather at our regular place of meeting for worship,we are still the body of Christ, risen in power.
In John's Gospel when the followers reach the tomb, the stone has been rolled away, when they look in side they do not see the body of Christ, but they see two angels.The Angels ask them a powerful question, "why seek you the living among
the dead?"  We are experiencing a massive loss of human life during this coronavirus pandemic. It goes up everyday, throughout the day. While we grieve and mourn any loss of human life as believers we know that followers of Jesus Christ shall never taste of death, as the Apostle Paul said: "O death were is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory."
Mary after seeing that the  body of Jesus is gone goes across from the tomb and is weeping. Weeping is intensive crying. A figure comes up to her that she does not recognize. Imagine what the power of resurrection does to a person,
the entire countenance, appearance and recognition is changed. Mary assuming that this person is the gardener asks him where she might find the body of Jesus. It is then when Jesus says her name that Mary recognizes Our Lord. Jesus tells her not touch him, but to go and tell the other followers what she has seen.This is where faith kicks in. The disciples don't believe Mary Magdalen. They say what many of us would say, like Thomas, I need to see Jesus for myself. How do you recognize Jesus? In that hurting and hungry little child? In that homeless person no one wants to be bothered with? Jesus says:" as we have done to the least among us we have also done unto him."
Alleluia Christ is Risen, the Lord is Risen indeed Alleluia!!! Happy Easter! I pray that you and all your love ones will experience thetrue joy of the Resurrected Savior Jesus Christ.
We are monitoring the telephones and emails, this is why each year we gather the vital information on your pledge cards, so in times such as these we can maintain communication. We are all ministers of the church, please reach out to those persons that may not have access or capability with the internet or social media. If you know of any parishioner in need please let us know . You can now contribute securely at our website and  designate your offering to a variety of ministries at and Grace Online Giving.
We need your tithes and offerings as never before. You can also  mail them to Grace Episcopal Church at
1400 E. Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23504 or Grace Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 1003, Norfolk, Virginia 23501.
Follow and like us on Facebook at Grace Episcopal Church, Norfolk.
May God continue to richly bless you and all your loved ones!
Happy Easter!


                                                                                           Matthew 21: 1-11
Whenever President Barack Obama flew on an Airplane, whether it was the huge Boeing 747, a Boeing 737, a Gulfstream 6, or even a Cessna 152, which  Secret Service would never let a President of the United States fly in for a variety of reasons, it was called Air Force One, because the  President was on board, and because of who he is.
The Readings for Palm Sunday are long, intentionally so, because they tell the story that needs to heard. The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. The New is revealed in the Old. The life and ministry of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of centuries of prophesy.
When we drive to North Carolina down Highway 58, there is a large pasture filled with a herd of sheep. In the pasture with the sheep is a donkey. I learned that a donkey will protect the sheep from predators, better than any other animal, a dog may help to move them, but a donkey will fight to protect them. A Bishops's Crozier or Staff has a hook to pull sheep back that have strayed
away or gotten lost.  From Psalm 23: ."Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." 
Bethpage, at the Mount of Olives is the last village on the road from Jericho and Jerusalem, it is where Old Testament prophesy says that the Messiah will assert His Kingship. When Jesus says to his disciples: "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her, untie them and bring them to me.   if anyone says anything to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.'" This is exactly the sort of thing that a King would say. Jesus is fulfilling scripture and asserting His Kingship, his Messiahship, Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When Jesus rides the donkey into the city it is exactly what the prophets had said:Zechariah 14:4-9. It is also important to note that  when Jesus rides on the donkey, it is on a donkey that no one has ever sat, this is specified in Numbers 19:2, Deuteronomy 21:3 and 1Samuel 6:7. Even though Jesus is asserting His Kingship, Jesus is the King of Peace and Humility.
The spreading of palms branches and cloaks is a reference to the enthronement of the line of King David in 2 Kings 9:13 and 1 Maccabees 13:51.
By the way, the ashes of Ash Wednesday are made by burning the palms of previous years. When Jesus enters Jerusalem, on the back of a donkey it remakes clear the divine claim of kingship, Jesus' Hour had come, which was the hour of our salvation, the salvation which God promised His people of old. Jesus Christ is greater than any Presient, King, Monarch or Ruler, Ever. There is no comparison to Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord!
We live in Norfolk, Virginia, often called Navy Town because it is home to the largest Naval Base in the world. Something happened this week that we need to highlight, especially this Holy Week. We see a person that puts others before self. It is especially significant in this time when we are dealing with this worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The Commander of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt got fired, like Nicodemus got fired for becoming a follower of Jesus. This Navy Commander got fired for going public with the fact that he had sailors on board that were sick with the coronavirus and they were endangering the lives of the other 5000 sailors on board. As a Commander of an Aircraft Carrier,  this Captain in all likely hood was going to be eventually promoted to the rank of Admiral, if he played ball, kept his mouth shut. He decided that the lives on his sailors was more important than an Admirals Stars. But he is a superstar with his crew, who cheered him when he was leaving the ship. They cheered him, calling
his name, grateful for his willingness to sacrifice.
We need to be cheering Jesus for his sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice of his life, as our one perfect oblation for our sins. I know that you may be worried about this coronavirus pandemic, your health, your family, your job, your finances, God will bring us through, God is more than able,  more than sufficient, more than enough. God knows your every need and God will meet them, even exceed them. We continue to pray for you and your family. Be safe, be smart, walk with God.
We are monitoring the phones messages and emails to Grace Church. We are in great need of your tithes and offerings as never before. You can go to the website to donate your tithes and offerings on a secure sight (Grace Church Online Giving),  by bank account, debit or credit card. If you want to designate your offering to a particular category email us and we will designate to your area of choice.
You can mail your tithes and offerings to:
Grace Episcopal Church, 1400 E. Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23504 or
Grace Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 1003, Norfolk, Virginia 23501.
Keep the faith, God Loves You, We Love You and With God All Things Are Possible.

                                             SUNDAY MARCH 29, 2020                                                         
 This is the Fifth Sunday of Lent and never would I have I believed that a week from Palm Sunday that I would not be in Church
I want you to be encouraged and know that even, perhaps especially in times like this you can grow spiritually. You can even grow exponentially in your spiritual life as you begin to focus on the Eternal, God. In the Gospel for today Jesus has received word that his friend Lazarus is terminally ill.
Jesus is urged to come quickly because, the end is near. How often, especially in this time of the coronavirus is it easy to get anxious, panic, afraid, uptight? God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. I want you in these times to be more open to the Holy Spirit, listen to God's leading voice deep inside. Notice that Jesus does not rush to Lazarus, but intentionally lingers. Lazarus not only dies, but was embalmed and buried for four days, when Jesus Christ finally arrived.
Listen to what the voices of Lazarus' sisters both say to Jesus: Lord if only you had been here, our brother would not have died. They almost imply that it was Jesus' fault. They also show that they underestimate the power of God. When Jesus goes to the grave of Lazarus they have no idea what he is going to do. People are standing around crying, Jesus wept. Jesus tells them to roll away the stone and they say, Lazarus' body is already smelling as it decomposes. Jesus says Lazarus come forth! Lazarus comes forth in those burial bandages and Jesus says lose him and let him go. There is nothing too hard for God. You may be wondering in these times, how am I going to make it? Has God forgotten me? Am I going to have enough? Yes, God will bring you through. God is your provision. God is your healer. God is your strength.
We are checking emails and phone messages at Grace Church. We hope in the coming days to have a dedicated App available. You can give to Grace Church, as you know the expenses continue. You can go to the Church's website , it works best with a laptop or PC and click on the link at the top right hand side of the page. It will carry you the secure site where you can contribute by
check, debit or credit card: Grace Church Online Giving
You can mail your tithes and offerings to Grace Episcopal Church, 1400 E. Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23504 or
Grace Episcopal church, P.O. Box 1001, Norfolk, Virginia 23501.
Please check out our website:
We are working to keep information current. Please reach out to members that may not do internet or social media. We hope to live stream soon. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Keep the Faith. God Loves You, and we love you. God Bless, be safe.