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Showing posts from June, 2013

Lectionary Notes for Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 9, Ordinary 14, Year C)

Readings for 7th Sunday after Pentecost, 7/6/13:
2 Kings 5:1-14, Psalm 30, Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16, Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

2 Kings 5:1-14:
Naaman wants the benefits of a connection with God - he wants God's healing, and wants it from Elisha now. But he doesn't want to do what is required to get what he wants. Are we like that? Do we connect what we want from our relationship with God with what we give to our relationship with God? Of course, God blesses us in spite of ourselves, as God heals Naaman, but what could we do to make it easier?Also, Naaman wants to see magic done, not healing, in his life. He wants a quick fix - to be better. He doesn't want to go through the healing/wholeness process - it's timely, it takes effort. I feel that we are the same with our own health sometimes - we want to be thin and perfect - just don't ask us to change our lifestyles to see the results! On a deeper note, we want to end hunger - we'll give a can at Thanksgiving time. Don'…

Sermon, "How to Pack for Summer Vacation: On the Road," Mark 10:17-31

Sermon 6/30/13 Mark 10:17-31
How to Pack for Summer Vacation: On the Road

            Last Sunday, we went with Jesus to the beach, as he called disciples to follow him. We talked about the immediate nature of Jesus’ call, and how we listen, and respond, and hear his voice. Today, we’re on the road with Jesus, and we encounter another of Jesus’ more challenging teachings: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for some­one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Of course, this verse comes in the context of a whole story, but this one sentence is so dramatic that it is hard for us to focus on anything else. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for some­one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Some months ago I talked to you about that fancy biblical term “hermeneutics,” which means the lens through which we look at and interpret scripture. I told you that it was ok to have different lenses from each other, as long as we were co…

Lectionary Notes for Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 8, Ordinary 13, Year C)

Readings for 6th Sunday After Pentecost, 6/30/13:
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14, Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20, Galatians 5:1, 13-25, Luke 9:51-62

2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14:
Aside from the tongue-twisting of an Elisha/Elijah-packed reading, I like this selection - it is a transitioning of leadership - one who is leaving literally passing on the mantle to one who is stepping up afterward. In part, this was the theme of Rev. Safiya Fosua of the General Board of Discipleship as she preached at the ordination service at Annual Conference for the former North Central New York AC in 2007. She talked about how we need to step up in support when we have those in our midst who are called, even though they need to own their own calls as well. Who can you support who is being called? Especially look out for young people who are hearing God's voice, who may not have many avenues of affirmation coming their way. I had several folks in ministry who could have discouraged me greatly from following my call - but instead they…

Sermon, "How to Pack for Summer Vacation: At the Beach," Mark 1:14-20, 2:13-14

Sermon 6/23/13 Mark 1:41-20, 2:13-14
How to Pack for Summer Vacation: At the Beach

            This spring several of us have been reading the Gospel of Mark together in our Saturday morning Bible Study. One of the things we’ve talked a lot about is Mark’s sense of urgency. His gospel is the shortest – 16 chapters – and he never seems to spend more verses or words on something when he can say it more succinctly. He seems to want to get straight to the point and communicate only the facts that seem absolutely necessary. In line with this, Mark uses the word immediately with great frequency in his gospel – almost 30 times, and more than all of the other gospels combined. When things happen in Mark’s account, they happen immediately. Today’s scripture lesson is a perfect example. We get some seaside stories, where Jesus, seeming to just be out for a stroll on the beach, encounters first some fishermen, and then a tax collector, all of whom he calls to follow him. We read in Mark that Jesus …

Lectionary Notes for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

Readings for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, 6/23/13: 
1 Kings 19:1-15a, Psalm 42, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 8:26-39

1 Kings 19:1-15a:
Elijah sitting under the tree - How many people in the scriptures end up sitting forlornly under trees? Thankfully, God always find them there! "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you." There's multiple layers to this sentence, no? "What are you doing here?" Another multi-layered question, and I wonder how often God wants to demand that same answer from us. What are we doing here? This time, God is in the sheer silence. But God is in the fire and the earthquake too sometimes. Where do you look for God? Where do you find God? Where has God found you? I think Elijah's repetition of his situation is interesting. Why does he have to repeat himself? In a different setting, he and God are now able to have a real conversation. Elijah, so intent on his woes, can now listen to God. Psalm 42:
"As a deer longs for …

Sermon, "How to Pack for Summer Vacation: Travelling Abroad," Mark 7:24-37

Sermon 6/16/13 Mark 7:24-37
How to Pack for Summer Vacation: Travelling Abroad

            This Sunday we’re continuing with our theme that Pastor Aaron started us out on last Sunday, our series titled, “How to Pack for Summer Vacation.” I don’t know about you, but I have a list of places that I’d eventually like to get to see. This summer, I’ll be driving through some states I haven’t been to yet. Ireland is on my list of places I’d just love to visit, along with New Zealand and the Holy Land. What’s on your list? Most of us, I suspect, imagine going places where we suspect we’ll have a good time, right? We imagine travelling to places that we will find relaxing or exciting. We might want to accomplish some particular task – hiking up a certain mountain, or sailing a certain body of water, something that is challenging.             But I wonder, how often do you intentionally visit places where you plan on feeling uncomfortable and out of place? How often do your travels take you out of…

Lectionary Notes for Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

Readings for Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, 6/16/13: 
1 Kings 21:1-21a, Psalm 5:1-8, Galatians 2:15-21, Luke 7:36-8:3

1 Kings 21:1-21a:
Kings. Here's a book that doesn't show up too often on people's favorites list, nor even too often in our lectionary. I have to remind myself not to overlook it when it does turn up!I like this text because it sort of ends with a 'to be continued' sense - the set up is all there, but the conclusion is not in today's reading. You have to come back (to church, to the Bible) to find out what happens.Jezebel: What a bad wrap she gets in the Bible, eh? Here she arranges someone's (Naboth) death in order that her husband, Ahab, may take possession of something (land) that belonged to this person. Compare this to King David arranging someone's (Uriah) death in order that he may take possession of something (Bathsheba) that belonged to this person. Now, how do we remember David, and how do we remember Bathsheba? Granted, we have m…

Lectionary Notes for Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

Readings for Third Sunday after Pentecost, 6/9/13:
1 Kings 17:8-24, Psalm 146, Galatians 1:11-24, Luke 7:11-17

1 Kings 17:8-24:
What were the reasonable expectations of hospitality for the widow towards Elijah? I'm trying to picture my grandmother, a widow, and how she would have to respond to a strange man showing up at her door. The text has God telling Elijah that God has already commanded the widow to feed Elijah. What was this call/command like for the widow? Was she afraid? Confused? Excited to be called on?"She went and did as Elijah said." She shows great faith and trust. Of course, what were her other options? She, too, was on the verge of death from the famine, like everyone else. She had nothing to lose from trusting, or at least trying to trust Elijah's words. Perhaps it is easier to trust and have faith when we have nothing left to lose. But I wish we were better at being faithful when we have everything to lose!v. 18 - Ah, finally. The hesitation, fear, an…

My Unpreached Sermon(!) for 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, "Pentecost Aftermath: Paul," Acts 9:1-20

Sunday I was sick, sick, sick. Thankfully, my co-pastor was able to lead worship for me. But here's the sermon that was all ready to go...

Sermon 6/2/13 Acts 9:1-20
Pentecost Aftermath: Paul

            “I want to do it myself!” Any of you that have experience with young children probably know that small children reach a point in their development where they are experimenting with and pushing the boundaries of their independence. My nephew Sam just turned six – he’s a big boy now. But when he was about three or four, he went through this period when no matter what the task was, Sam would refuse help of any kind. If he was trying to get dressed, he didn’t want your help, even though it took him forever to get his clothing on the right direction the right side out. Particularly frustrating was his desire to get in and out of his car seat in the car on his own – it would take him several minutes, when you, the parent or aunt or grandma knew that you could just pick him up and put him in …