I wonder if we have become so accustomed to the way things are that we can no longer see the needs of others, the injustices done to them, or their pain. I wonder if that’s why in the last several weeks so many of us are in shock over what is happening in our country today. We look on in disbelief and ask, “Why? How could this happen? I don’t understand. I can’t imagine.” Maybe it because complacency has blinded us.
I’m going to ask you to do a couple of things and I hope you will indulge me for a bit. I want you to think of one thing that is going on in the world today that is important and matters to you. Something that you keep up with in the news, that you have opinions and beliefs about, and that maybe you even post about in social media or talk about with those who are like minded. Continue reading Stop Doing The Religious Thing – A Sermon On Isaiah 58:1-12
Read the headline news, listen to the stories behind the names and circumstances on our prayer list, observe life and you will quickly be reminded of what you already knew. Siloam’s was not the last tower to fall and Pilate was not the last to hurt or kill another person. Tyrants and towers are a reality of this world and our lives. They come in all sorts of events, ways, and circumstances. Sometimes it’s intentional, other times it’s accidental. Sometimes it’s of human origin, other times it’s the way of nature. Accidents, disease, crime, divorce, famine, poverty, war, earthquakes, tornados, and tsunamis. Those are but a few of the tyrants and towers in this world.
Whenever and wherever tyrants act and towers fall we are faced with the reality that life is fragile, unpredictable, and often tragic. In those moments we are often quick, too quick, to seek and offer easy explanations. “They got what they deserved.” “God has a plan.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “He’s in a better place.” “There’s a lesson to be learned here.” “This was God’s will.” “Someday when we get to heaven we’ll know why.”
Jesus has heard something like these explanations from the people who tell him about the Galileans whose blood pilate mingled with their sacrifices. It sounds a lot like they are saying that something bad happened because they were bad people. To this kind of thinking and all the other simplistic, trite, and unhelpful responses in the face of tragedy Jesus says, “No, I tell you.” Continue reading “Tyrants Act and Towers Fall, Choose Life (Luke 13:1-9)”
“What’s your plan for the day?” It’s a question I often ask my wife; usually on the weekend. But sometimes in the evenings after work I’ll say, “What’s your plan for this evening?” They seem like innocent enough questions and often they are. I’m really interested in what she wants to do and what’s going on in her life. Then there are those other times. I ask the question because I already have my own plans, my own agenda, and I’m just trying to figure out when and how what I want to do will be accomplished. Will she participate in and support my agenda? That’s the question behind my question.
When agendas come together amazing things can happen. Relationships deepen. Love flourishes. Energy and creativity flow. Life is abundant and rich. All is well. When, however, agendas collide conflict arises.
Whether spoken or unspoken we all have our agendas. We have that list of expectations, desires, things we want to do, and ways we want to be. At some level our agendas describe who we are and what we are about. The question is not whether we have agendas, we do. The question is whose agenda guides our life? Continue reading “Agendas in Nazareth, A Sermon on Luke 4:21-30”