In some ways the past year has felt like a long never ending season of Lent. It has been a time of fasting, self-denial, and giving up; a time when people and things have been lost or taken from us; a time that is continually pointing to our mortality and the fragility of life.
What are you doing with all that? And what is all that doing with you?
Unless we face our own mortality we can never claim the fullness of life. Unless we recognize the fragility of life we will never discover its true value. Continue reading The Most Important Day Of Your Life – A Sermon On Mark 1:9-15
Jesus got up early, while it was still very dark, and left the security of the house to go to this deserted place, this wilderness place.
My guess is that nobody wants to go to that place and yet we’ve all been there.
I wonder what your deserted place is today. What parts of your life are dry, barren, empty, and desolate? Continue reading Life In The Deserted Place – A Sermon On Mark 1:29-39
“Follow me,” isn’t only about going somewhere, it’s also about leaving behind. That’s the hard part for most of us. We’re pretty good at accumulating and clinging but not so good at letting go. More often than not our spiritual growth involves some kind of letting go. We accept Jesus’ invitation to follow, not by packing up, but by letting go.
We can never get to a new place in life unless we are willing to leave where we are. We can never hold anything new or different unless we’re willing to drop what’s already in our hands. That means letting go of our nets, getting out of our boats, and walking away from old man Zebedee. Continue reading What Needs To Be Left Behind? – A Sermon On Mark 1:14-20
Twenty-twenty. When I say those two words I’m not sure if I intend them as a statement or a question. A lot of things could be said about 2020.
It feels like we have been exiled from our homeland, from the way things used to be, from what was familiar and comfortable, and maybe even taken for granted. It feels like we are living in a foreign land, waiting and wanting to go home.
I don’t know when we’ll get to go home. I hope and pray that with the vaccines and continued use of masks and social distancing we can return sooner than later. But I don’t know. So what do we do in the meantime? Continue reading Remembering The Future – A Reflection On 2020
If 2020 showed us anything it revealed how necessary that kind of deep and intentional listening is, and how difficult it is to sort through all the voices we hear, both within and outside ourselves, and discern a truthful way forward. I don’t expect that kind of listening to be any less necessary or difficult in 2021.
Who are you listening to these days? Who are you not listening to? What are you listening for? What do you want to hear and what do you not want to hear?
Continue reading Deep Listening – A Sermon On John 1:43-51
Last week, some of you may remember, I ended my sermon by asking this question: Will we, in 2021, be different from and better than how we were in 2020?
There’s not much about the first ten days of 2021 that suggests we will. I think it’s still an open question and, I hope, still a possibility. But after the events of last Wednesday and the assault on our nation’s capitol I’m just not so sure we will be.
As I reflect on the events of last Wednesday I keep going back to words from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.” Continue reading All Are Responsible – A Sermon On Mark 1:4-11 And Acts 19:1-7
As you know, the Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the magi or wise men visiting Jesus in Bethlehem and bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:1-12). Holy scripture does not tell us their names or how many there were. No one knows for sure. Eastern Orthodoxy says there were twelve but our tradition says there were three, probably because there were three gifts, and names them Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. But what about the fourth wise man? Continue reading Do You Know The Story Of The Fourth Wise Man?
The Church has a custom of blessing homes on the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6) and the weeks following. Family and friends gather to ask God’s blessing on their homes and those who live in or visit the home. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our … Continue reading Epiphany 2021 House Blessing With Chalk
The ancient Church had a practice of announcing the dates of Easter as well as other feasts and fasts that do not have a fixed date. Since the Epiphany is a fixed date feast (January 6) and also the last major fixed date feast before we enter the Easter cycle which is characterized by moveable dates, it was a convenient time to proclaim the date … Continue reading Epiphany Proclamation Of Easter 2021
We’re three days into the new year, a time of change and transition often marked by the calendar more than the circumstances of our lives or world. Regardless, the 2020 year end reviews are well underway with commentaries, assessments, and judgments. For some, maybe most, “Good-bye 2020,” could just as well be “Good riddance, 2020.” And “Hello, 2021,” could just as well be “You could’t get here soon enough, 2021.” We’ve quickly greeted the new year with predictions, wishes, and prayers.
I read this in the news, op eds, and on social media. I hear it in the conversations I have with others and in the silence of my own heart. Will 2021 be different from and better than 2020? I suspect all of us, at some level, are asking and living with that question. Continue reading Will We Be Dreamers Or Searchers In 2021? – A Sermon On Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23