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Showing posts from March, 2012

Sermon for Fourth Sunday in Lent, non-lectionary - Point of View: Mary, Mary, Mary

Sermon 3/18/12 Luke 7:36-50, 8:1-3, Luke 10:38-42, John 12:1-7, Matthew 27:45-50, 55-61, 28:1
Mary, Mary, Mary

What do we really know about Mary Magdalene? As usual, not much. But in Mary's case, we probably think we know more than we do. We assume an awful lot about poor, misunderstood Mary Magdalene. She is mentioned only rarely in the gospels; in fact, mentioned only one time outside of accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In one passage in Luke, there is mention of the fact that Mary Magdalene had been cured from possession by demons by Jesus, and that she was traveling with him along with some other women and the Twelve as he was teaching and preaching. Other than that, Mary Magdalene is only mentioned in the context of being at the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion, helping the women with burial rites, and then, of course, most significantly, at Jesus’ resurrection, as the first witness, the first teller of the news. She’s mentioned nowhere else, despite popular beliefs. Even n…

Sermon for Third Sunday in Lent (non-lectionary) - Point of View: Pontius Pilate

Sermon 3/11/12
Point of View: Pontius Pilate
I think it’s strange that while the twelve disciples spent three years of their lives with Jesus, we know so very little about them, while Pontius Pilate, our point-of-view focus this morning, spent just a short time with Jesus on one day, and yet we hear more from Pilate than we do half the disciples. As seems usual for these biblical figures, we don’t know a lot about Pilate’s background – there are some conflicting stories over where he was born and what family he was part of – and we don’t know much about his life before he appears in the gospels. But we know that he was a prefect in Judea, and that prefects had certain duties – mostly military oversight and collecting taxes, but also judicial responsibility in some local affairs. During big religious festivals like the Passover, Pilate would be expected to be in Jerusalem, to make sure things were kept under control. And we know that he served as prefect in Judea from 26-36 AD, recalled …

Sermon for Second Sunday in Lent (non-lectionary) - Point of View: Judas

Sermon 3/4/12 Matthew 26:6-50, 27:3-10
Point of View: Judas
            Can we see things from Judas's point of view? Or maybe, we are worried we can see from his point of view too easily? I remember, once in college, we were at a meeting of one of the faith groups I was part of on campus, and the chaplain noted that there were twelve of us, and he mentioned that we were like the twelve disciples. And I couldn’t help but wonder: then which one of us gets to be Judas? Who would want to claim to be Judas? Which disciple would you be willing to claim? Maybe one of the ones that barely gets a mention beyond their original call by Jesus?             I told you last year a bit about my fascination with Judas. Of course, it started with Jesus Christ Superstar, and the actor I had a crush on, but it went beyond that, as I started to wonder about Judas and his role in the Passion story. I shared with you the nagging questions I had.  As we heard in our gospel reading today, Judas committed su…