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
Where is there light in your life and the world today? And where is there darkness in your life and the world today?
I wouldn’t be surprised if for many or even most of us our first answer is based on how we feel and what we think about the results of our presidential election. But that is not what I am asking about and I hope that’s not the basis for any of our answers. I am asking about something more important than that. I am asking us to look deeper than that. Continue reading Pushing Back The Darkness – A Sermon On Matthew 25:1-13
Emmitt, though you are only four and a half months old you are never too young to hear the Beatitudes for the first time, and neither are the rest of us too old to hear them again for the first time. Today you are being immersed in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) as a way of being, a path to be followed, principles by which to guide your life. They describe the divine life, the life of Jesus. And whether that life exists in this world depends on you and the rest of us. We never accomplish the beatitudes as a task completed. Instead we strive, day by day, to live into them. Continue reading Here We Are – A Baptismal Sermon On the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
These, Jesus says, are the two commandments on which everything else hangs. They are two sides of the same thing. You can’t truly have one without the other. This is about more than our feelings or affection for God and one another. It’s about our commitment to the life and well-being of the other. It’s a choice we make every day – to love or not to love.
I wonder what that love looks like. I wonder what your life and my life would be like if we held those two commandments as the guiding principles for what we do. I wonder what we might create and achieve if we embodied and lived those commandments. Continue reading Love’s Only Hope In This World – A Sermon On Matthew 22:34-46
If what we hear in today’s gospel (Matthew 22:1-14) is really what the kingdom of heaven is like, then I’m not interested.
Who needs God’s kingdom – at least as Jesus describes it today – when we already have more than enough leaders throughout the world who are abusing their power, when violence is perpetrated on a daily basis, when people’s lives are being destroyed, when cities are burning, when some are excluded and told they don’t belong? We don’t need God’s help to bring that about, we’re pretty good at it by ourselves. Continue reading There’s Got To Be More Than This – A Sermon On Matthew 22:1-14
Isaiah describes how God dug a vineyard, cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines. Then God built a watchtower in the midst of the vineyard and hewed out a wine vat in it. And now God want to know, “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?” God “expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.” (Isaiah 5:1-7)
How can that be? That God wouldn’t or couldn’t get what God expects or wants doesn’t fit with many of the images and concepts we have of who God is and how God is. Continue reading Between What Is And What Could Be – A Sermon On Isaiah 5:1-7
Jonah has finally arrived at Nineveh. It’s a city so large it will take him three days to walk across it. Going a day’s walk into the city he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
What do you hear in his words? What do you imagine Jonah might be thinking and feeling? Let me tell you some of the things I wonder about as I hear his words. Continue reading We Are Nineveh – A Sermon On Jonah 3:10-4:11
What would you say if I told you that every day is the third day? What would you think if I told you that resurrection is happening every day everywhere? What if I told you that resurrection is happening even in the current political, economic, and racial struggles of today; even in the midst of the pandemic; and even in our divisions and disagreements about who we are and the values we hold?
Can you see it? Are you experiencing it? Is it real for you? If so, what does it look like? Where are you seeing life and more life? What difference is resurrection making in your life today?
And if you can’t see it and aren’t experiencing it, if it’s not real for you, why not? Are you standing with Peter in the “God forbid it” place? Continue reading Every Day Is The Third Day – A Sermon On Matthew 16:21-28
I thought I knew or had some idea of what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah. The events of the last six months, however, have caused me to rethink what it means. It used to be mostly a Sunday morning kind of question, but now it’s an every day kind of question. It used to be about the future, but now it’s about the present moment. It’s no longer only or even primarily about saving souls, it’s about changing hearts. And if Jesus is not changing your heart and my heart then he is not the Messiah of our lives. And if he is our Messiah then he necessarily changes how we live. Continue reading “Show Me Your Work” – A Sermon On Matthew 16:13-20
The miracle, the good news, the hope for every one of us, is that sometimes Jesus comes to us disguised as a ghost. The ghost the disciples see and the Jesus they can’t see are two sides of the same thing, a holy ghost, a life giving ghost. The ghost that frightened them also carried the divine presence. The ghost they were convinced would take their life also carried the power to give life. There is always more to the ghosts of our life than we see or believe. Continue reading Facing Our Ghosts – A Sermon On Matthew 14:22-33