Third Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 6, Year B - Mark 4:26-34, the Parable of the Growing Seed. The Sower by Vincent van Gogh - 1. The Vincent van Gogh Gallery. The Bridgeman Art Library, Object 593575, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons…
About a week and a half ago I was sitting at the kitchen counter with my wife, Cyndy, supper was cooking, and we were talking. Somewhere in our conversation she asked, “Where are you?” She could see that I was…
In today’s gospel Jesus talks about the coming of the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth. What if the Advocate, in whatever ways she or he shows up, comes not to advocate to another on our behalf but to advocate to us on our own behalf? They are truth tellers for us. They call us more deeply into our authentic selves. They are the ones who transform and change our lives. Who are those people for you?
In today’s gospel Jesus is praying. He’s not talking to the disciples and he’s not talking to us. He’s not teaching and he’s not giving instructions. He’s praying, and we’re listening in. And what a prayer it is. What do you hear in his prayer? I’m not just asking about what he prays for. I’m asking about what’s behind his prayer. What’s going on in him? What’s his prayer really about?
Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B - John 15:1-8 Photo by Maja Petric on Unsplash Think about what you do in your daily life that just leaves you exhausted. I am talking about the things that leave you emotionally drained and physically worn…
What if you and I are to be good shepherds too? What if laying down life is really about love and how we are to love? Isn’t that what we heard in today’s epistle (1 John 3:16-24)? “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us - and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” I wonder where that kind of love is in your life today, what it asks of you, what it offers you. Is it in your marriage, parenting, friendships? At work? Is it the lens through which you see the world and the daily struggles of people? Is it at the heart of your conversations, actions, decisions? If it is, what does it look like? How are you experiencing it? And if it’s not, why not? What would your need to change to love that way?
Alleluia. Christ is risen. I wonder what that means for you today and why it matters. I don’t think we can understand what today really means apart from this past week. Without Holy Week we risk coming to this day and asking, “Risen from what?” We risk coming to this day believing it is only about Jesus’ resurrection and not our own. And what good is it to us if Jesus has been raised but we have not?
Here’s my question. What are you waiting for? And what is your hope on this day? The thing that makes Holy Saturday so difficult, that makes this gospel text so unsatisfying, that leaves my sermon lacking is that there is no resolution. There is only waiting. You’ve had days like that, so have I. And sometimes it’s not just a single day of waiting. It’s weeks, months, years. Our life has been changed and it’s no longer like it used to be. We wait and wonder what’s next or if there will be a next. We wait and wonder when it will get better or if it will get better. We wait and wonder how we will ever live again or if we will.
Here’s my question. What is the cross of Jesus asking for in your life today? And what is it showing you? Most of us come to Good Friday believing that the cross gave us something. Most of us come to this day saying that “Jesus died for our sins.” I’m not so sure anymore. I struggle with the torture and execution of Jesus. I suspect most of us do. I can’t make sense of it and I’m not sure Jesus could either. I want to rethink the meaning of Good Friday and the usual ways we interpret it.
Here’s my question. What in you needs to come clean tonight? And what is your fear about that? This is not about whether you will wash someone’s feet or take off your shoes and socks and let your feet be washed. This is about your own sense of worthiness and whether you are enough. I wonder if the question of worthiness is why more people will come to church on Good Friday than tonight. Maybe it’s why more people glory in the cross than the basin. We’re okay with Jesus dying for our sins but not okay with him washing our feet. I think the same reason lies behind both of those things: we don’t feel worthy.