On the surface it would be easy to hear today’s story (Luke 5:1-11) as one in which Jesus fulfills the desires of Peter and the others; the desire to catch fish, the desire to be successful, the desire to make a living. I don’t think that’s a correct reading of this story. I don’t think that’s what happened. I think there is more to this than fish, success, and making a living. Here’s why I say that. What did they do with the fish, their success, the money they would have made at the market, once they got back to shore? “They left everything and followed [Jesus].” They walked away. Those were not the end of the story but the beginning of the story. Their initial desires took them to the lake but it was a “desire beyond desire” that called them beyond the lake. Continue reading Desire Beyond Desire – A Sermon On Luke 5:1-11
The people in the synagogue were looking forward to some hometown privilege. They see themselves as special and they are ticked off when they realize that Jesus won’t play to their presumed privilege and that they are being passed over. That’s what enrages them. They are raging mad about being passed over.
And I can’t help but wonder if we might not be the hometown crowd, if we somehow see ourselves as Jesus’ favorites. I can’t help but wonder if we don’t also assume some privileged status when it comes to Jesus, as if he always chooses (or should choose) our side, our church, our party, our country. And I can’t help but wonder if we’re not also in danger of being passed over. Continue reading The One Thing We All Have In Common – A Sermon On Luke 4:21-30
How far will I go for this gospel I claim to love and follow? What am I willing to do and what am I not? I struggle and wrestle with these questions every day.
Because here’s what I see in the world and read in the life of Jesus. Sometimes, perhaps more often than not, the gospel asks us to make a choice, to take a stand, that will inconvenience us, be contrary to our self-interest, or put us in conflict and even opposition with others, ourselves, our family, our country, our religion. Continue reading Where And With Whom Will You Stand? – A Sermon On Luke 4:14-21
The question is never, “Do I get a yes? Am I the son or daughter of God, the Beloved, with whom God is well pleased?” That’s a given, the gift of God. It’s the insistence of God in each of our lives. The only question is whether we can discern that gift in the conditions and circumstances of our lives.
We are always discerning God’s insistence in our lives, to hear God’s call and claim on us. We are always listening for the yes to which we can answer yes. Continue reading With You I Am Well Pleased – A Sermon On Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Romans 2:29. “Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart— it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.” One of the things I am learning about myself is that when I literalize the scriptures, theology, or my own life experiences I am (more often than … Continue reading Inside Out Living
Romans 2:13. “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” There is more to doing the law than simply following the rules. When I think of following the rules, I think about being compliant, meeting the minimum requirements established by an authority. I don’t think that is what … Continue reading Doing the Law
Luke 9:51-62, Proper 8C “He set his face to go to Jerusalem.” We all have a Jerusalem. We all set our faces to go in a particular direction. What is your Jerusalem? In what direction is your face set? And how does your Jerusalem compare with Jesus’ Jerusalem? Most of you have probably heard enough of my preaching and teaching to know that I am … Continue reading Setting Our Faces To Go To Jerusalem – A Sermon on Luke 9:51-62
A priest was visiting with a new parishioner and asked, “How’s your relationship with God?” The parishioner says, “There’s not much to tell. I like sinning. God likes forgiving. We get along just fine.” That story is an adaptation of some lines from W. H. Auden’s poem, For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio. In the poem King Herod’s responds to the magi’s news of … Continue reading No More Admirably Arranged Lives – A Sermon on Romans 6:12-23
“He said to them, ‘Come and see.’” Those are probably familiar words for most of us. I don’t just mean in the context of today’s gospel (John 1:29-42, the Second Sunday after Epiphany, Year A). Even if you’ve never read or heard today’s gospel you’ve probably both heard and spoken those words. How many times have you heard your child or grandchild say, “Come and … Continue reading The Antidote to a Secondhand Life – A Sermon on John 1:29-42
So who wants to be a disciple of Jesus? He certainly doesn’t pull any punches about what it takes. First, “Hate your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself.” Second, “Carry the cross and follow [him].” Lastly, “Give up all your possessions.” (See Luke 14:25-33, Proper 18C) It’s that simple and it’s that difficult. Jesus’ words don’t just sound … Continue reading How Many Priorities Can a Disciple Have? A Sermon on Luke 14:25-33