When has your soul has been troubled? What troubles your soul today? What’s it like for you to recognize and feel your own weakness? Are you scared, embarrassed, ashamed? Do you feel inadequate, defective, vulnerable? What’s your prayer in those times, “Father save me from this hour?” Continue reading A Weak and Troubled Soul – A Sermon On John 12:20-36 For Tuesday In Holy Week
What really matters to you? What really matters for the life you want to live? What matters so much to you that when it is ignored, forgotten, denied, covered up, it becomes the matter with you? Like when someone asks you, “What’s the matter with you?” not in a negative, critical way but in a caring, concerned way. What really matters to you? Continue reading What Really Matters? – A Sermon On John 12:1-11 For Monday In Holy Week
“The rose has no why; it blossoms because it blossoms. It pays no attention to itself, nor does it ask whether anyone sees it.”
What if we were to live like the rose, without a why? What if we blossomed simply because we blossomed. What if there was no motive or seeking to our blossoming; to be noticed, to be praised, to accomplish? What if we fragranced the world because we couldn’t do anything but fragrance the world? The rose is going to do what it’s going to do regardless of whether anyone sees or smells it. It’s beauty and fragrance are not means to an end. It has no why.
Continue reading Without A Why – A Sermon On John 12:1-8
The burning bush story is one of call and response. Something is being called for in the name of God. And I can’t help but believe that call and response is also the story of our lives. Something is being asked of us in the name of God.
The burning bush experience does not happen apart from or in spite of every day life but in the midst of life, in the keeping of our flocks. That’s what Moses was doing when this happened. He was keeping the flock of his father in law. He was doing the ordinary routine things of his life, the same things he did the day before, the week before, and the month before. Burning bushes show up as we keep our flocks of routine and every day life; marriage, parenting, work, friendships, errands, church, reading the news, household tasks. Continue reading The Burning Bush: What If? – A Sermon On Exodus 3:1-15
The Second Sunday in Lent – Luke 13:31-35 When was the last time you went to bed thankful and amazed by what the day had given you, something you had not planned or foreseen? Maybe it was a conversation, a chance meeting with someone else, a moment of hope or beauty, a truth or insight that changed you, an experience when you felt really alive. … Continue reading Opening To Life – A Sermon On Luke 13:31-35
The promise and risk of life come to us asking for a response. Jesus had decisions to make. And so do we. We make decisions everyday of our life; decisions and choices about what to do, who we want to be, how we want to live. We sometimes call them temptations. We feel torn and pulled between the promise and the risk. Temptations hold before us the illusion of promise without risk. But that’s not the way the wilderness works, and Jesus knows that.
With each decision we’re betting that the future will be better, not because it necessarily is, but because it might be. And that “might,” the possibility of a better future, of more life, is what gives us the strength, the faith, the hope, to risk a decision and remain open to the future, even when we don’t know how it will turn out. Continue reading Life Is Promise And Risk – A Sermon On Luke 4:1-13
Maybe Lent and the gospel of Jesus are not primarily about being good, a program for changing from a bad person to a good person, so we can get a future reward. I’ve got nothing against being a good person (whatever that might mean) but I’ve never read where Jesus said, “I came that you might be good, better, an improved version of yourself.” What I have read is that Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Throughout the gospel he shows himself to be giving life, revealing life, and calling to life. And that’s not about tomorrow, after you die, or some heavenly future. “Now is the day of salvation,” Paul tells us (2 Corinthians 6:2). Now, in this time and in this place. Life is now. Continue reading Life Before Death – An Ash Wednesday Sermon
Those are not demands we make on each other. They are gifts we offer each other. And with a true gift there is no holding back. It’s all or nothing. If there is a measure of your marriage, it is love, and the only measure of love is love without measure (St. Augustine).
So you must always keep your ears and heart open to the urging and wooing of each other. It just might be the urging and wooing of God. Because if “God is love” (1 John 4:8) then the wooing of love is the wooing of God. Continue reading The Beautiful Risk – A Wedding Sermon
On the surface it would be easy to hear today’s story (Luke 5:1-11) as one in which Jesus fulfills the desires of Peter and the others; the desire to catch fish, the desire to be successful, the desire to make a living. I don’t think that’s a correct reading of this story. I don’t think that’s what happened. I think there is more to this than fish, success, and making a living. Here’s why I say that. What did they do with the fish, their success, the money they would have made at the market, once they got back to shore? “They left everything and followed [Jesus].” They walked away. Those were not the end of the story but the beginning of the story. Their initial desires took them to the lake but it was a “desire beyond desire” that called them beyond the lake. Continue reading Desire Beyond Desire – A Sermon On Luke 5:1-11
The people in the synagogue were looking forward to some hometown privilege. They see themselves as special and they are ticked off when they realize that Jesus won’t play to their presumed privilege and that they are being passed over. That’s what enrages them. They are raging mad about being passed over.
And I can’t help but wonder if we might not be the hometown crowd, if we somehow see ourselves as Jesus’ favorites. I can’t help but wonder if we don’t also assume some privileged status when it comes to Jesus, as if he always chooses (or should choose) our side, our church, our party, our country. And I can’t help but wonder if we’re not also in danger of being passed over. Continue reading The One Thing We All Have In Common – A Sermon On Luke 4:21-30