Unless a grain of wheat, Lent, Lent 5B, Sermon, John 12:20-33, Sermon, Detachment, Letting Go

The Secret To Life – A Sermon On John 12:20-33

Seeing Jesus isn’t a spectator sport. It is a way to be followed, a truth to be embodied, a life to be lived. It’s being a grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies so that it might bear much fruit. That’s where we see him. It’s the letting go, the emptying, the leaving behind, and the dying that makes space for new life to arise. Continue reading The Secret To Life – A Sermon On John 12:20-33

Lent, Lent 4B, Healing, Crucifixion, Snake, Numbers 21:4-9, John 3:14-21,

The Snaky Places of Life – A Sermon On Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:14-21

The serpent that bites and kills and is also the serpent that heals and give life. That doesn’t make sense but what if that’s really how it is?  What if the snaky places are not so much places to escape but places from which soul-medicine arises? Can opposites really coincide in that way? Continue reading The Snaky Places of Life – A Sermon On Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:14-21

Cleansing of the Temple, Jerusalem Temple, John 2:13-22, Temple, Lent, Lent 3B, Business As Usual

Interrupting Business As Usual – A Sermon On John 2:13-22

I don’t think this story is simply about Jesus getting angry. Jesus got angry. I get angry. It’s ok to get angry. That misses the point. There’s more to this story than that. And I don’t think it’s about the animals or the moneychangers being in the temple. Jesus surely had to have known they were there. He grew up as a faithful Jew going to the temple. He didn’t show up this day and say, “Wow! There are animals and moneychangers here. I didn’t know this. This is wrong.” The animals and moneychangers had always been there. That’s how the system worked. It was business as usual for them to be there. Continue reading Interrupting Business As Usual – A Sermon On John 2:13-22

Featured, Lent, Lent 2b, Mark 8:31-38, Rebuke, Repentance, Hope, Resurrection

The Conflicting Snapshots Of Our Lives – A Sermon On Mark 8:31-38

We’ve known times in our lives when we felt unprepared for what we were facing. We looked down the road at what was coming and we didn’t like what we saw. We wanted to cry out, “No. This isn’t happening. This cannot be. This must not be.” Haven’t there been times when you felt scared, unprepared for, or overwhelmed by life? Haven’t there been times when you just didn’t want to face what life was bringing you? Haven’t there been times when you just didn’t know whether your faith was up to the demands of life? Love my enemy? Forgive not once, not seven times, but seventy times seven? Turn the other cheek when the first one is still red and stinging? Continue reading The Conflicting Snapshots Of Our Lives – A Sermon On Mark 8:31-38

Sermon, Lent, Lent 1B, Wilderness, Repentance, Florida Shooting, Mark 1:9-15, Heschel

The Wilderness Of Gun Violence – A Sermon On Mark 1:9-15

The First Sunday in Lent – Mark 1:9-15 I don’t know how I can stand before you today with any sense of integrity and faithfulness and not say something about the Florida shooting. Something has to be said. I’m just not sure what to say or what can be said. I’m struggling with that. And I have been since my Ash Wednesday sermon. We’ve been … Continue reading The Wilderness Of Gun Violence – A Sermon On Mark 1:9-15

Resurrection, Funeral, Sermon, John 6:37-40, Lost, Difference

The One For Whom Difference Makes No Difference – A Funeral Sermon On John 6:37-40

I wondered what difference his being different made to others. Because you know as well as I that the world can be a difficult place when you are different. The world can be way to quick to see and name difference as a deficiency and way to slow to create a place and space for one who is different. And too often that one lives at the extremes of either being avoided or taken advantage of. Continue reading The One For Whom Difference Makes No Difference – A Funeral Sermon On John 6:37-40

Mortality And The Fragility Of Life – An Ash Wednesday Sermon On Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

We live in a tension between the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death. And we work pretty hard at denying, ignoring, forgetting, outrunning, and overcoming those twin realities. But they are always there. They are always present to us in the same way the ashes with which we will be marked were already a part of and present in the palms we carried last year on Palm Sunday.

What’s that like for you? In what ways have those two realities, the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death, made themselves known in your life? Maybe that’s what you are facing today. Continue reading Mortality And The Fragility Of Life – An Ash Wednesday Sermon On Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Mark 1:21-28, Stranger, Epiphany 4B, Estrangement, Alienation, Sermon, True Self, Unclean Spirit

Recognizing The Stranger Within – A Sermon On Mark 1:21-28

What are your stories of being alienated from yourself? What’s your first memory of that? What is your most recent memory of that? When have you felt like a stranger in your own skin?

I think we all live as women and men with unclean spirits. They are those times when we betray our own integrity, when we are confused and lost about who we are or who we want to be, when we look at our life and don’t recognize ourselves or like what we see. Or maybe we want our life to be different. We want to stop causing trouble and difficulty for ourselves. We want to be more or different than what we have become. I think that’s what it’s like to live with an unclean spirit. Continue reading Recognizing The Stranger Within – A Sermon On Mark 1:21-28

Mark 1:14-20, Sermon, Epiphany 3B, Vocation, Calling, Letting Go, Follow Me,

“Follow Me” Moments – A Sermon On Mark 1:14-20

What if “Follow me” is Jesus’ invitation to every one of us to step into the fullness of our life? What if it is the call to become fully alive? What if it’s about becoming more authentically ourselves, living with integrity, and discovering our truest self? Maybe every time we act in such a way that our life seems to fit and our words and decisions reflect who we really are we are answering Jesus’ call to follow him. Have you ever had the feeling that you just had to do something even though you didn’t exactly know where it would take you or what would happen? It didn’t just feel right. It felt necessary. And to do otherwise would be a betrayal of life and yourself? Maybe that’s what how Simon and Andrew, and James and John felt. Maybe that’s what it feels like to answer Jesus’ call, “Follow me.”  Continue reading “Follow Me” Moments – A Sermon On Mark 1:14-20

Judgment, Epiphany, Epiphany 2B, Sermon, Nathanael, Nazareth, Prejudice, John 1:43-51, Fig Tree

Nazareth: A Condition Of The Heart – A Sermon On John 1:43-51

Over the last few days I thought a lot about my Nazareths; the people, places, and situations that I had no right to judge, question, or label but I did, and sometimes still do. I’ve wondered about the ways I’ve belittled, demeaned, and rejected the Nazareths in my life. I am sure I lost more by their absence from my life than they would have gained by my presence in theirs. And I wonder how many times I have missed the Messiah’s presence because I refused to look toward Nazareth. Continue reading Nazareth: A Condition Of The Heart – A Sermon On John 1:43-51