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Showing posts from September, 2012

Lectionary Notes for Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

Readings for 18th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/30/12: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22, Psalm 124, James 5:13-20, Mark 9:38-50 Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22 : Fun fact: did you know God is not mentioned anywhere in the book of Esther? Even so, it is one of my favorite books. When I went to  Exploration  ten years ago, a verse from Esther, where Moredecai tells her that she may be where she is when she is "for such a time as this," was the theme of the weekend. Don't be misled. Though Esther was Queen, she didn't have any real power. If you read the whole book, you'll know that the previous queen was quickly ditched when she and the king clashed. So Esther's actions in this passage and elsewhere are extremely brave. In this passage, Haman, who is the "bad guy" gets brought to justice. Of course, biblical justice for Haman was being hanged. Ugh.   Psalm 124: "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side" - whose side is God on? Is God al

Sermon for 9/23/12, "Room at the Table: RSVP," Luke 14:12-24

Sermon 9/23/12 Luke 14:12-24 Room at the Table: RSVP             This past week I got a text from my younger brother Tim. “Are you going to Elise and Kevin’s wedding?” Elise is a family friend, who went to school with my younger brothers. I responded that Yes, I was. We’ve all been planning to attend this wedding for practically a year. I’ve had it on my calendar for a long time. “Are Todd and Andrea going?” he asked. My brother and his girlfriend. “Yes, I think so,” I said. “Did you send in your RSVP?” “Yes.” “Did Todd send in his?” “I think yes.” “Well, Elise hasn’t received them yet, and she’s freaking out.” Apparently, the RSVP deadline for the wedding was approaching, and the bride was getting a bit anxious. She was anxious because although she had sent invitations months before the event, many people had not yet responded. If you’ve ever been part of planning a wedding, you know that having a pretty accurate idea of the number of guests is important, because you nee

Lectionary Notes for Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

Readings for 17th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/23/12: Proverbs 31:10-31, Psalm 1, James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a, Mark 9:30-37 Proverbs 31:10-31: This passage, given it’s time/context of writing, is actually pretty woman-friendly, even if it does require a ‘capable wife’ to be a jack-of-all-trades. After all, the passage describes a person who is strong, giving, fearless, a salesperson, successful, etc. Changing the gender of the pronouns doesn’t change much about the passage either. Notice not a lot is said about the woman being a woman of faith. Perhaps these attributes are seen as ‘interwoven’ into the behaviors she is to live out – her actions. How would you describe your ideal partner in life? Do you practice those behaviors yourself that you wish to find in someone else? “Many woman have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” That would be a nice compliment to hear from one’s spouse!   Psalm 1: A typical psalm in its dualistic good/bad, righteous/enemies set up, but psalm i

Lectionary Notes for Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

Readings for 16th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/16/12: Proverbs 1:20-33, Psalm 19, James 3:1-12, Mark 8:27-38 Proverbs 1:20-33: Wisdom, from the Greek  sophia , is virtually always depicted as a woman or in feminine imagery, as the word itself is feminine in both Greek and Hebrew. This  sophia , of course, is the basis of the imagery of the Re-Imaging conference that caused such controversy over referring to God as Sophia. What the difference is between using Sophia and using Logos to refer to Christ sometimes is unclear to me, except that sticky issue of gender! But I digress... "How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?" This verse (22) puts a smile on our faces, but unfortunately, I think it's a serious question! I think we actually like to pretend we don't know what's going on a lot of the time. If we don't know what's going on, we can't be held accountable for action. God doesn't want to let us off the hook so easily, however!

Sermon for September 9th, 2012, "Room at the Table: Enough Room," John 6:1-15

Sermon 9/9/12 John 6:1-15 Room at the Table:             Friday night, the adult leaders of LIFE, our youth program, met at Eric and Jen Holmes’s house to talk about our kickoff this Friday night. As we were making our plans for Friday, one of the things we talked about was what food we would have available at the LIFE CafĂ©. This wasn’t just a detail to discuss and check off our list. We actually think a lot about it, because some of our youth, with their busy schedules, will come and spend so much of their evening with us after a full day at school and after-school activities that they won’t have had a chance to eat. So we want to be able to provide a little more than chips and soda. Plus, honestly, people are always more likely to attend an event when there’s good food than when there’s not, right? I shared with Jen that during seminary, if we wanted to have people attend a meeting for this group or that group, we would always make sure to offer free lunch, because rega

Lectionary Notes for Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

Readings for Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 9/9/12:  Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23, Psalm 125, James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17, Mark 7:24-37 Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23: "a good name" - What does it mean these days to have a 'good name,' when perhaps there is less emphasis on family of origin=prestige than there once was? Do you have a good name? Who would you say has a good name? "Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity" Can you think of times when you have been responsible for sowing injustice? I hope never to do so, but sometimes I'm afraid I don't sow anything at all instead. "for the Lord pleads their cause" - Imagine God as your attorney, God as your advocate in a dispute or argument where you felt you were treated unfairly. Psalm 125: "so the Lord surrounds his people" - great imagery. What image would you use to describe God's protection of you? Do you feel protected? "the scepter of wickedness shall

Sermon for Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, "Inside Out"

Sermon 9/2/12 Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 Inside Out Many of you know that my youngest brother Todd is a professional actor. Near Christmas, you’ll probably have the opportunity to see him do a bit of acting during worship, as I usually recruit him to help bring to life some of the nativity story. But you might not know that I have a passion for theatre myself. I actually used to have an incredible fear of public speaking as a child. I would hyperventilate if I had to give an oral report in school. But I always wanted to be in plays, and I auditioned for a part in Cinderella when I was in fourth grade. I got cast – everybody got cast. But I got cast as a mouse, which was one of the parts that went to, well, the less talented performers. And I watched with envy as the bolder kids got to play more interesting roles with more interesting songs to sing. After that, I had an epiphany: If I wanted a more interesting part, I would at least have to talk loud enough for people to hea