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.”
The First Sunday in Advent, Year A – Matthew 24:36-44 “But about that day and hour no one knows,” Jesus says. I hear those words and can’t help but remember days and hours about which I did not and could not know: The day and hour I became a dad for the first time; The day and hour a judge decreed that I was a … Continue reading Advent Possibilites – A Sermon On Matthew 24:36-44
“We didn’t do it that way when we were kids.” “This isn’t the America I remember. It’s not like it used to be.” “The world is a different place these days. It’s changed.” “This isn’t the church I grew up in. I don’t know what happened to that church.” “Back in my day….” “This isn’t the life I planned and worked for.” You could add your own version. There’s a thousand variations on this theme. They all seem to me to have a common thread or question running through them. Here’s the question: What is going on in our world today? What’s happening? Continue reading “I just needed to be reminded.” – A Sermon on Mark 13:24-37 for Advent 1B
One day the great buildings and structures of our life will fall. The very things that we often trust and rely upon to give identity, meaning, purpose, and security will crumble. This is not a prediction of the future or a forecast of doom and gloom. It is just a statement of reality. Life changes, loved ones die, institutions fail, people disappoint, relationships break up, bodies get sick. In those moments the great stones of our temples are all thrown down.
Each of us is a temple builder. We build all sorts of temples: personas, families, beliefs and opinions, institutions, roles, reputations, accomplishments, dreams, and hopes. We build temples with the idea that they will contain and support our lives. The problem is not in building temples but in expecting them to do and be more than they can. Too often we confuse the structure for the content, the place of divinity for the Divine. Stone upon stone we build our temples with the expectations, sometimes spoken and sometimes unconscious, that these great structures will provide ultimate meaning, impenetrable security, permanent order, and unchanging direction for our life and world. Continue reading “When Everything Falls Apart”
The collect and readings for the First Sunday in Advent, Year B, may be found here. The following sermon focuses on Mark 13:24-37. “In those days….” So begins our entry into the Season of Advent. It sounds ominous and it is. Advent is not just a liturgical season of the church year. It is a reality of life. It happens in all sorts of ways. … Continue reading “In Those Days….” – A Sermon on Mark 13:24-37, Advent 1B
The collect and readings for yesterday may be found here. The appointed gospel is Mark 13:1-8: As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” 2Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” 3When he … Continue reading Apocalypse – When the Temple Falls