Here’s my question. What is the cross of Jesus asking for in your life today? And what is it showing you? Most of us come to Good Friday believing that the cross gave us something. Most of us come to this day saying that “Jesus died for our sins.” I’m not so sure anymore. I struggle with the torture and execution of Jesus. I suspect most of us do. I can’t make sense of it and I’m not sure Jesus could either. I want to rethink the meaning of Good Friday and the usual ways we interpret it.
Last week, some of you may remember, I ended my sermon by asking this question: Will we, in 2021, be different from and better than how we were in 2020? There’s not much about the first ten days of 2021 that suggests we will. I think it’s still an open question and, I hope, still a possibility. But after the events of last Wednesday and the assault on our nation’s capitol I’m just not so sure we will be. As I reflect on the events of last Wednesday I keep going back to words from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.”
If what we hear in today’s gospel (Matthew 22:1-14) is really what the kingdom of heaven is like, then I’m not interested. Who needs God’s kingdom - at least as Jesus describes it today - when we already have more than enough leaders throughout the world who are abusing their power, when violence is perpetrated on a daily basis, when people’s lives are being destroyed, when cities are burning, when some are excluded and told they don’t belong? We don’t need God’s help to bring that about, we’re pretty good at it by ourselves.
America is in a hard place these days, and we have been for quite a while. Over the last few months of the coronavirus many have said that we’re all in this together. Yes, but we’re not all together in this. We are not “all together in one place” on this day of Pentecost. Our country is divided, fragmented, and wounded. And so is my heart. Maybe yours is too. It’s not easy to talk about our wounds; whether it’s our individual wounds or our national wounds, whether it’s the wounds we’ve received or the ones we’ve inflicted. To talk about our wounds requires us to look at what we’ve done and left undone. It means we each have to look within ourselves. It means taking responsibility for our lives. It means valuing the life and wounds of another as much as our own.
Feast of the Holy Innocents - Matthew 2:13-18 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old…
O Lord of life, the God of our salvation, who bears our burdens: Our hearts have once again been broken by violence and gunfire; this time in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. Our eyes waste away with grief. Our spirit shakes with terror. How long, O Lord, how long?
Each year October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.…
We all face giants, Philistines, in our lives. Sometimes it’s personal and unique to our particular situation. Goliath might be an illness, loneliness, the loss of a loved one. Maybe a rift in a relationship is standing tall. Or maybe it feels as if your life is moving out of control and you’re powerless to do anything. Other times Goliath might be more systemic. It’s mass shootings in our country, violence throughout the world, war in the middle east, racism, immigration. Goliath shows up in lots of ways.
Every time Goliath shows up the battle lines are drawn. The battle is not, however, what we often think it is.
There’s a part of me that just wants to scream, “Enough is enough! Make it stop. How much more can we take?” I am talking about Las Vegas, Maria, Irma, Harvey, Charlottesville, the ongoing wars and violence in the Middle…
O Lord of life, the God of our salvation, who bears our burdens: Our lives and world have once again been shaken by violence and gunfire; this time in Las Vegas. We are weary because of our groaning. Every night we flood our bed with tears and drench our couch with weeping. Our eyes waste away with grief. Our spirit shakes with terror. How long, O Lord, how long?