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
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
I think most of us hear about the Word becoming flesh and living among us and we immediately assume it’s about Jesus. I don’t disagree with that. We see him enfleshing the Word of God throughout his life; enfleshing forgiveness, love, mercy, peace, gentleness, nonviolence, wisdom, compassion, generosity. That was his way of being and living.
But what about you and me? What about the Word becoming flesh in us? Continue reading “The Work Of Christmas” – A Sermon On John 1:1-18
It’s so quiet this morning, so calm, so empty. Christmas Day is one of my favorite services every year. It’s just us and the baby.
Most years I come to Christmas morning with two questions: Now what? So what? I never seem to have a final and lasting answer. So, once again, I come to Christmas morning with the same two questions. Continue reading Now What? So What? – A Christmas Day Sermon On Luke 2:8-20
It began about nine months ago. Life was interrupted when the unexpected and unimaginable happened. And I wondered, “How can this be?” Life was changing and things were getting too real too quick. The government made travel decrees. Some family, friends, and businesses closed to us and said, “No, you can’t come in.” Things just aren’t like they used to be. They probably never will be. So much has changed. It feels like it’s been one interruption after another.
You know what I’m talking about, right? I’m sure you do. It’s not too hard to figure it out. It’s in the air. It’s all around us.
You know, don’t you, that I’m talking about Mary and what she might have thought about the past nine months of her life? I’m talking about the first Christmas. That is what you thought I was talking about, right?
Continue reading By Way Of The Interruptions – A Christmas Sermon On Luke 2:1-20
As important as this evening is, it is only the evening of your ordination. And while what we do this evening matters and makes a difference, what will matter most and make the biggest difference is what you do with your priesthood tomorrow, the next day, the one after that, and, God willing, the one ten or fifteen years from now.
I don’t know what those days will be like for you. And neither do you. You don’t know what your priesthood will ask of you or give you. None of us do. So I’m going to give you some words from Isaiah 6:1-8 that might help. Continue reading Hold The Tension – An Ordination Sermon On Isaiah 6:1-8
When was the last time you could not help but tell about something you saw, heard, or experienced? It was simply more than you could hold or contain and you just couldn’t keep it to yourself. You had to tell about it.
Before you answer, let me clarify what I am talking about and what I am not talking about. I’m not talking about a juicy scandal, scoop, or gossip. I’m not talking about what you heard or saw someone else say or do. And I’m not talking about simply recounting the events of your day. Continue reading Can I Get A Witness? – A Sermon On John 1:6-8, 19-28
Today’s gospel, like all apocalyptic literature, takes us to those threshold moments that leave us wondering whether things are falling apart or falling into place. By now most of you know me well enough to know that my answer to that is, “Yes. Yes, they are.”
I’m betting every one of you could tell a story about a threshold time in your life. I wonder what that threshold is for you today. Continue reading New Life Emerges From The Dark – A Sermon On Mark 13:24-37
So what do you make of today’s gospel (Matthew 25: 31-46)? Is Jesus separating the good from the bad? Is Jesus saying some are welcome and included in the kingdom but others are rejected and excluded? Is Jesus keeping score of what we’ve done and left undone and then handing out rewards and punishment? And if he is, are you in or out, a sheep or a goat?
I wonder if we’ve misunderstood what’s happening when Jesus separates. Maybe the separation Jesus makes doesn’t look a thing like the separations we usually make. Maybe the purpose of the separation Jesus makes is the exact opposite of the purpose for which we often make separations. Continue reading Sheep Or Goat? Yes We Are – A Sermon On Matthew 25:31-46