Ash Wednesday – Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” That’s the last line of Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day.” I had never thought of my life as wild and precious until I read her question. I love the invitation, freedom, and curiosity it expresses. It’s expansive. It opens my heart. It … Continue reading The Perfect Question For Ash Wednesday – An Ash Wednesday Sermon
“The rose has no why; it blossoms because it blossoms. It pays no attention to itself, nor does it ask whether anyone sees it.”
What if we were to live like the rose, without a why? What if we blossomed simply because we blossomed. What if there was no motive or seeking to our blossoming; to be noticed, to be praised, to accomplish? What if we fragranced the world because we couldn’t do anything but fragrance the world? The rose is going to do what it’s going to do regardless of whether anyone sees or smells it. It’s beauty and fragrance are not means to an end. It has no why.
Continue reading Without A Why – A Sermon On John 12:1-8
Maybe Lent and the gospel of Jesus are not primarily about being good, a program for changing from a bad person to a good person, so we can get a future reward. I’ve got nothing against being a good person (whatever that might mean) but I’ve never read where Jesus said, “I came that you might be good, better, an improved version of yourself.” What I have read is that Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Throughout the gospel he shows himself to be giving life, revealing life, and calling to life. And that’s not about tomorrow, after you die, or some heavenly future. “Now is the day of salvation,” Paul tells us (2 Corinthians 6:2). Now, in this time and in this place. Life is now. Continue reading Life Before Death – An Ash Wednesday Sermon
Seeing Jesus isn’t a spectator sport. It is a way to be followed, a truth to be embodied, a life to be lived. It’s being a grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies so that it might bear much fruit. That’s where we see him. It’s the letting go, the emptying, the leaving behind, and the dying that makes space for new life to arise. Continue reading The Secret To Life – A Sermon On John 12:20-33
The serpent that bites and kills and is also the serpent that heals and give life. That doesn’t make sense but what if that’s really how it is? What if the snaky places are not so much places to escape but places from which soul-medicine arises? Can opposites really coincide in that way? Continue reading The Snaky Places of Life – A Sermon On Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:14-21
I don’t think this story is simply about Jesus getting angry. Jesus got angry. I get angry. It’s ok to get angry. That misses the point. There’s more to this story than that. And I don’t think it’s about the animals or the moneychangers being in the temple. Jesus surely had to have known they were there. He grew up as a faithful Jew going to the temple. He didn’t show up this day and say, “Wow! There are animals and moneychangers here. I didn’t know this. This is wrong.” The animals and moneychangers had always been there. That’s how the system worked. It was business as usual for them to be there. Continue reading Interrupting Business As Usual – A Sermon On John 2:13-22
We’ve known times in our lives when we felt unprepared for what we were facing. We looked down the road at what was coming and we didn’t like what we saw. We wanted to cry out, “No. This isn’t happening. This cannot be. This must not be.” Haven’t there been times when you felt scared, unprepared for, or overwhelmed by life? Haven’t there been times when you just didn’t want to face what life was bringing you? Haven’t there been times when you just didn’t know whether your faith was up to the demands of life? Love my enemy? Forgive not once, not seven times, but seventy times seven? Turn the other cheek when the first one is still red and stinging? Continue reading The Conflicting Snapshots Of Our Lives – A Sermon On Mark 8:31-38
The First Sunday in Lent – Mark 1:9-15 I don’t know how I can stand before you today with any sense of integrity and faithfulness and not say something about the Florida shooting. Something has to be said. I’m just not sure what to say or what can be said. I’m struggling with that. And I have been since my Ash Wednesday sermon. We’ve been … Continue reading The Wilderness Of Gun Violence – A Sermon On Mark 1:9-15
Lent 1A: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11 Over the last several years I’ve begun to see and understand Lent and temptations, the struggles in my life, in a different way. It used to be that I thought about those things in terms of self-denial: just say no, don’t do this, don’t do that; and everything will be fine. But then life got complicated. It … Continue reading Two Questions for Lent – A Sermon on Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11
What if temptation is necessary? What if temptation can be our teacher or a diagnosis? What tempts you? What tempts you into living less than who you really are? Continue reading What If Temptation is Necessary?