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Showing posts from October, 2013

Lectionary Notes for Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 26, Ordinary 31, Year C)

Readings for 24th Sunday after Pentecost, 11/3/13:
Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4, Psalm 119:137-44, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12, Luke 19:1-10

Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4:
I can relate to Habakkuk's words here from the oracle: a great sense of frustration at what is going on in the world, and a desire that God would somehow just swoop in and make things right. When I look around at the injustices today, the oppression, the evil, even evil perpetrated in God's name, I can cry, "How long?""Justice never prevails . .. judgment comes forth perverted." Again, I can't help but reflect on the timeliness of this reading. The feeling that everything has somehow been skewed.And God's comforting response: "there is still a vision for the appointed time . . . if it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay." Ok, God, I'll wait.Psalm 119:137-44:
A short little segment from a very long psalm...In this section: righteousness, righteousness, a…

Lectionary Notes for Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 25, Ordinary 30, Year C)

Readings for 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, 10/27/13:
Joel 2:23-32, Psalm 65, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18, Luke 18:9-14

Joel 2:23-32:
What struck me in this passage is the connection between the people and God and their planet. Obviously, this passage connects to the specific devastation of the earth that the people have felt and are now recovering from, but still, I can't help but think that today we have a much different sense - a disconnectedness - from the planet on which we live. Instead of the devastation that does still happen on our earth making us feel separate from God and worried, we seem to have very little interest in the care of our earth, or what it means for our relationship with God..."I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit." A beautiful and inspiring verse, and I'm str…

Sermon, "Kingdom Stories: Woes," Matthew 23:1-15, 23-24

Sermon 10/27/13 Matthew 23:1-15, 23-24
Kingdom Stories: Woes
Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending time with my brother Todd’s girlfriend, who was home visiting from Indiana. Todd and Andrea moved to Indiana this summer so Todd could pursue his Master of Fine Arts in Acting at Purdue. Todd’s first production is coming up in a few weeks – he’s playing Santiago, a Cuban man, in Anna in the Tropics, which means he has to sport this lovely mustache for the next couple of months. I told Andrea at least she doesn’t have to worry about other women flirting with Todd – not with that mustache! Todd and I have long teased each other about our respective career paths. When I was in college, my major was pre-theology, a seminary prep curriculum. Todd always teased me about me majoring in-pre-the-study-of-God, theology’s literal translation. What’s pre-God, Todd would ask? But as an acting major, I told Todd he was just studying pretending and dress-up at the college level. Since Todd specializes …

Sermon, "Kingdom Stories: Laborers in the Vineyard," Matthew 20:1-18

Sermon 10/20/13 Matthew 20:1-18
Kingdom Stories: Laborers in the Vineyard

I’ve been blessed to always have enough of the essentials – food, shelter, clothing: My mother, working as a nurse, always had a job, if not two, and by the time I was say, in high school, my family had a fairly stable middle class financial situation. But it took us a long time to get there. My early years were spent in the small village of Westernville, north of Rome, and my father was out of work off and on from the time I was two until I was in close to junior high age. That is another story to tell, but the point is, we were a poor family. We used food stamps, we received help from my grandparents, and we received one of the food baskets we helped put together at church. Westernville was too small for its own schools – we were bused to Rome for school, and as geography would have it, relatively poor Westernville kids went to school with kids from some of the wealthier parts of Rome.             Somehow, it doe…

Lectionary Notes for Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 24, Ordinary 29, Year C)

Readings for 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, 10/20/13:
Jeremiah 31:27-34, Psalm 119:97-104, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, Luke 18:1-8

Jeremiah 31:27-34:
"I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. And just as I have watched over them to pluck up . . . so I will watch over them to build and to plant . . ." This verse reminds me of one of my favorites, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician's Nephew (book 6 in the good old way of numbering) - In TMN, the children watch as Aslan, the Christ figure, has creatures and plants springing from the ground in the newly created Narnia, even as they had earlier watched a world dying, a world devastated and torn down by human (person-driven) evil. The contrast of life and death, hope and despair."In those days, they shall no longer say: 'The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.'" I remember my Intro to Old Testament professor, (now-r…

Sermon, "Kingdom Stories: The Unforgiving Servant," Matthew 18:21-35

Sermon 10/13/13 Matthew 18:21-35
Kingdom Stories: The Unforgiving Servant

            As I continue to work on my Doctor of Ministry research and project, I have to admit that I’ve been doing a lot of checking on the exact requirements the school has for every step of the project. For example, I recently had to submit my project proposal and portfolio, and before I sent in my work, I read the student handbook carefully to make sure that my work complied to every standard. There was a required length – my proposal had to be a certain number of pages long. There were required sections that the proposal had to have. Each section had to answer certain required questions. I was required to have an annotated bibliography with a certain number of sources. My footnotes had to be formatted in a certain required way. I want my research project to be compelling, interesting, worth my time. I’m not required to complete this degree program – I’m doing it because I want to learn more, not because I’m …

Lectionary Notes for Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 23, Ordinary 28, Year C)

Readings for 21st Sunday after Pentecost, 10/13/13:
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7, Psalm 66:1-12, 2 Timothy 2:8-15, Luke 17:11-19

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7:
Even though the people are in exile, God tells them to live their lives anyway - to get in with building and planting and marrying and giving birth. On the one hand, the passage suggests, this is so the people can remain strong and even increase even though they are in exile. But on the other hand, I see this as God saying - "hey, this is life, right now, and it is still rich and abundant even in the midst of chaos. Get on with it!" Do you ever use your bad situations/circumstances to put God and your spiritual life on hold? God tells the people to pray for the city where they are in exile. Pray for those who have separated them from their homeland. Pray for those probably thought of not-too-fondly..."for in its welfare you will find your welfare." I think this is hands down the best sentence in this passage. We're interrelated…

Sermon, "Kingdom Stories: Wheat and Weeds," Matthew

Sermon 10/6/13 Matthew 13:24-30
Kingdom Stories: Wheat and Weeds

            This month we’re starting a new focus in worship, as we look at some of Jesus’ teachings in the gospel of Matthew that focus on the Kingdom of God. When Jesus teaches in parables, they often begin with him saying, “The kingdom of God” or “the kingdom of heaven is like.” The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. It’s like a woman who lost a coin. It’s like a king who decided to settle accounts. It’s like a pearl of great value. It’s like a field where a someone sowed good wheat, but then someone else sowed weed in that same field. Jesus spends so much time describing what that kingdom is like because announcing the immediate presence of God’s kingdom is the very good news Jesus came to share. “The kingdom of God is at hand” is the short summary of Jesus’ preaching and teaching. Repent, change the direction of your life, because the realm of God is right in our midst, not far off and inaccessible.             If …