What do you see when you look at your past?
What are the feelings and thoughts?Regardless of how we view our past, regardless of what did or not happen back then, to the degree we are enmeshed, entangled, or enslaved to our past, “we can expect the future to look like the past” (Caputo, The Weakness of God, 169). We repeat the same patterns, tell ourselves the same old stories, and listen to same old voices. And not much changes. Life becomes static and we are stuck in the past trying to live a life that is no longer.
John’s call for repentance is the call for us to face and deal with our past. Continue reading What Has Laid Claim To Your Life? – An Advent Sermon On Luke 3:1-6
In today’s gospel Jesus speaks of the “‘Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.” I think that’s a metaphor for the future. I’ve recently begun to think of Advent as the coming of our future, and a time when we prepare, as best we can, if we can, for that future.
What comes up for you when you look toward or think about your future? How do you live with a future that is unforeseeable? Continue reading The Unforeseeable Future – An Advent Sermon On Luke 21:25-36
What God creates, God loves; and what God loves, God loves everlastingly. I hope that you will hold on to those words. They are the thread that runs through everything we will do here today. They are the thread that runs through everything I will say to you. They are the thread that ran through Tommy’s life, his dying, and his being raised up to … Continue reading Opening Gates – A Funeral Sermon For A Nonbeliever
All Saints Sunday – John 11:32-44 “Where have you laid him?” Jesus asked them. “Lord, come and see.” The thing that strikes me most about Mary and Martha in today’s gospel (John 11:32-44) is their loneliness. They’re lonely. They’re lonely for their brother. They’re lonely for Jesus. They’re lonely for the life they used to have. They are alone in their loss and they feel … Continue reading Unbinding Abundance – An All Saints’ Sermon On John 11:32-44
We are sixteen days from the midterm elections and one day from the start of early voting. Ads are running, rhetoric is raging, and lines are being drawn. And here’s what I wonder. What if Jesus’ name was on the ballot? Would you and I vote for him?
We tend to back the one who will “do for us whatever we ask” of him or her, the one who supports our beliefs, the one who advances our agenda. Isn’t that what James and John want from Jesus? “Teacher we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you … Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” They are privileging themselves over others, and we often do too. Give us. Do for us. That’s politics as usual. “But it is not [to be] so among you,” Jesus says. Continue reading A Vote That Matters – A Sermon On Mark 10:35-45
Proper 23B – Mark 10:17-31 “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” I wonder what drove the man to Jesus. I wonder what was going on in his life that caused him to run to Jesus, kneel down, and ask his question. What’s the desperation behind his question? What’s his desire? We could speculate about him but chances are there have been … Continue reading A New Day, A New Life – A Sermon On Mark 10:17-31
Proper 22B – Mark 10:2-16 The confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh has been completed. But here’s what I wonder. What have we confirmed? I am not speaking of Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications or character. This is about more than particular individuals. We have confirmed more than a new Supreme Court justice. We have confirmed our divorce from one another. We have confirmed our reliance on procedure over … Continue reading What Have We Confirmed? – A Sermon On Mark 10:2-16
Jesus is once again asking us to look at ourselves, to be self-reflective. It’s as if he saying to John, “Don’t you worry about that other guy. You worry about yourself.” He’s asking us to look within. The greatest stumbling blocks are not outside us but within us: anger and revenge, the judgments we make of others, prejudice, our desire to get ahead and be number one, the need to be right, our unwillingness to listen, the assumption that we know more and better than another, living as if our way is the only and right way, pride, fear, being exclusionary, our busyness, lies, gossip, our desire for power and control. These, and a thousand other things like them, are what cause others and us to fall. Continue reading First, Do No Harm – A Sermon On Mark 9:38-50
For most of us, I suspect, Monday greatness is about being number one, a winner, a success. It’s about power, control, wealth, fame, reputation, status, and position. Have you ever seen the losing super bowl team dancing around with two fingers in the air shouting, “We’re number two, we’re number two?” Probably not and you probably never will. Can you imagine a political slogan about making America last or a servant of other countries? Besides, who wants to be the servant of all? That’s for the uneducated, minorities or foreigners, and those we can get away with paying less than a living wage. At least that’s often how it works today. Being last and servant of all is not what we usually strive for. That’s not the greatness to which we aspire. Continue reading I Want To Be Great, Don’t You? – A Sermon On Mark 9:30-37
I’ve recently begun wondering if one of the primary things that unites us as country today might not be disillusionment. It seems to be everywhere, and on all sides. Now we may not agree on what we are disillusioned about but I think it’s a common disease from which we are all suffering. There is disillusionment with our leaders and the political system, with economic opportunities, with endless wars and violence, with prejudice and oppression, with religion and the church. Continue reading Medicine For Our Disillusionment – A Sermon On Mark 8:27-38