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Showing posts from June, 2011

Sermon for Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

Sermon 6/26/11 Matthew 10:40-42

As some of you know I have another set of Doctor of Ministry classes coming up in July. This semester, one of my two classes is on Ecclesiology. Ecclesiology is the study of what makes church church. Now, you might think that all my classes are probably a little about that – church – and you are right. But ecclesiology is the formal word for the study of what truly constitutes church. Think about it – we have probably hundreds of denominations, some large, and some quite small, that are made up of places that say they are churches. And yet, these places do very different things – we worship in different styles. We believe different things about the sacraments. We have different understandings of who can be pastors. We have different ways of organizing. Are we all church? Well, if one of you starts meeting with a group of Christians in your home, and you sing a hymn and read a scripture passage, are you church? Why or why not? What makes church church? Las…

Sermon for Trinity Sunday, Year A

Sermon 6/19/11, Matthew 28:16-20
How many of you have read Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code? The book is now 8 years old, which is hard to believe. You probably remember all the controversy around the book when it was published – it suggested a lot of religious conspiracies – like thate Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had children. The book certainly wasn’t the first to propose such ideas, but it seemed to catch global attention, and after its publication, many similar books    followed from other authors. I certainly enjoyed the book – a page turner – but the book was fiction, not fact, and some scenes were just blatantly rewrites of history. I was thinking about it again though because today is Trinity Sunday, another one of those usually skimmed over special Sundays. It is the day when we celebrate our unique Christian belief in this three-in-one God – Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Creator, Sustain, Redeemer. You see, one of the characters in The DaVinci Code claims that Jesus was…

Sermon for Pentecost Sunday, Year A

Sermon 6/12/11 Acts 2:1-21, 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
Pentecost

Pentecost can be so hard for us to understand. At least I find it difficult sometimes. Trying to describe a day centered on the Holy Spirit – something sometimes referred to as the Holy Ghost – well, it is bound to be a bit confusing. You have heard me call this day the birthday of the Christian church. And here is why. Remember last Sunday we celebrated the Ascension – Jesus returned to God – and God's messengers told the disciples to stop standing around staring at the sky. So what's next? That’s the big question, isn’t it? So the disciples are in Jerusalem, celebrating a holy day remembering the giving of the law by God to Moses. And while they are there, as Jesus has promised would soon happen, a sound comes like the rush of a violent wind, and it fills the whole place where the disciples were. And Luke, our author, describes to us these “divided tongues,” like flames, resting on each apostle. And all of them are fi…

Sermon for Ascension Sunday, Year A

Sermon 6/5/11 Luke 24:44-53, Acts 1:1-11
Ascension


Last night I had the pleasure of attending my Uncles farewell celebration at his church. As most of you know, he is leaving Boonville after 20 years there to become a District Superintendent. It was really a joy and honor to hear him praised and honored – obviously, I am biased, but I find him to be inspiring as a pastor, uncle, and colleague. When all was said and done, plaques presented, presents given and received, speeches made, my uncle was invited to say a few words. And in his comments, and in his closing prayer, what he said was this: this church has been a place where my dreams and God's dreams for me have come true because of how you helped that to happen. So please make sure that you also partner with the new pastor to help make his dream and God's dreams come true in the future, in the years ahead as well. Because if this twenty year ministry has been all about me, I’ve been doing something very wrong. This ministry i…

Non-lectionary Sermon, "Near and Far," Ephesians 2:11-22, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

Sermon 5/29/11 Ephesians 2:11-22, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Near and Far
I had a hard time figuring out where to go this week in my sermon. When I sent the bulletin in to Linda this week, I told her to leave the scriptures and sermon title blank – I would figure it out by Sunday. Usually I preach right from the lectionary, but this week, I just couldn’t make my mind work with the scheduled passages. So I went in a different direction, and chose a passage that perhaps reflects the dynamics we find at work all around us. I have been thinking about what a tumultuous busy year this has been. I decided to look for a timeline of 2011 online to confirm my feeling that a lot has happened already, and here is what I found. In January, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot, along with several others, at a public meeting, by a young man who was just declared incompetent to stand trial. Protesting in Egypt began, and Southern Sudanese people voted in droves to become a separate nation from Sudan. By February, …