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Showing posts from July, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 13, Ordinary 18)

Readings for 8th Sunday after Pentecost, 8/3/14:
Genesis 32:22-31, Psalm 17:1-7, 15, Romans 9:1-5, Matthew 14:13-21

Genesis 32:22-31:
This is just a fantastic passage. We all wrestle with God, but there are lots of ways to go about it. Jacob's approach is great - Jacob wrestles, holds his own, and demands a blessing. OK, so it is God's messenger - but good enough. How do you wrestle with God?What are your names? What do they mean? Who named you? Are you willing and able to ask God to bless you? Demand it even?"I have seen God face to face." Have you? When? Where? How?Psalm 17:1-7, 15:
This psalm fits well with our passage from Genesis, because the psalmist is bold and demanding. The psalmist declares himself to be free from deceit, able to withstand testing, feet not slipping from God's path.Sometimes we need to be bold with God - not for God's sake, but for our sake. Fear of God's justice has its place, but confidence in our status as God's beloved child…

Sermon for Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "The Kingdom of Heaven is Like...," Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Sermon 7/27/14 Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
The Kingdom is Like…
            If I was to ask you what the “Good News” of the Bible was, I might get a variety of responses, but I think a common one, perhaps the most common response, might be this: The good news is that Jesus Christ died for our sins to save us and give us eternal life. There’s certainly scriptural support for that. And our United Methodist heritage echoes that – in our official communion liturgy, for example, the celebrants says, “Hear the good news. Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. That proves God’s love toward us. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!” And indeed, that is good news.             The interesting thing, though, is that Jesus talked about good news himself. And when he talked about good news, he wasn’t talking about the fact he would die for our sins. Of course, that hadn’t happened yet, for one. And also, Jesus usually only talked about his imminent death with the twelve, his closest disci…

Lectionary Notes for Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 12, Ordinary 17)

Readings for 7th Sunday after Pentecost, 7/27/14:
Genesis 29:15-28, Psalm 105:1-11, 45b, Romans 8:26-39, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Genesis 29:15-28:
Leah's eyes are here described as "lovely" - I like this NRSV translation better than some earlier ones which call her eyes "weak" - I guess over time we've felt a little sorry for second-best Leah!"Jacob loved Rachel." I'd love to do a study of the number of times the Bible says one person loves another - it is not as often as you'd think, which makes me always notice passages like this where it is so matter-of-factly stated.a seven years engagement period seems speedy for Jacob because of his love for Rachel - we tend to like things a little faster in our society. What would you wait seven years for?Typical man? I hate to be cynical and stereotypical, but honestly, how could Jacob not realize he was having sex with wrong woman!I guess all the wedding-night feasting before hand had impaired his fa…

Sermon for Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "Wheat and Weeds," Matthew 13:24-30

Sermon 7/20/14 Matthew 13:24-30
Wheat and Weeds
            This week is enjoyed spending a little time helping out at the Matthew 25 Farm in Tully. The weather this spring and summer has helped to create a plentiful harvest, and the peas are ready to be picked faster than they can manage with their volunteers, so they were enlisting extra, emergency help this week. When I got there, one of the farmers spent a bit of time showing me the difference between peas that were not yet ready to be picked, peas that were a bit past their prime, and peas that were just right, Goldilocks-style. He also showed me that some younger, more eager volunteers weren’t gentle enough with the peas when they were picking them, and would accidentally uproot the whole plant in the process. As tall and winding as the plants are, their roots aren’t very deep or anchored into the ground. So they’re pretty fragile when you go to snap a pod off. Of course, once a plant is uprooted, that’s it for harvesting from that…

Lectionary Notes for Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 11, Ordinary 16)

Readings for 6th Sunday after Pentecost, 7/20/14:
Genesis 28:10-19a, Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24, Romans 8:12-25, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Genesis 28:10-19a:
God continues the promise, the covenant, with Jacob, that has been with his forebears. Do you feel bound into your family's religious heritage? Or your denomination's heritage? How do you feel tied in to God's continuing story?Jacob's ladder - a great Sunday School song, but the vision Jacob has is strange. What do you make of it? I guess I can see it showing how present God is with us today - that God's messengers are constantly showing up on the scene, revealing God and God's work to us."Surely the Lord is in this place - and I did not know it!" When have you realized God's presence in a place or situation only after-the-fact? Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
I love this Psalm - Ok, all except for the last section before verse 23 and 24 where the psalmist declare to "hate who God hates". I do like vers…

Sermon for 7/13/14, John 10:1-10

Sermon 7/13/14 John 10:1-10
Perhaps all of you feel a little bit like I do today. A mixture of things. Excited and anxious. Anticipating and wondering. Ready for change, but thinking about things that have been left behind. Heart full of good-byes and hellos. The time between when you found out Pastor Clair would be leaving here, and when Penny and I found out we would be leaving our last congregations and coming here to you has flown by, and here we are, at the beginning of this new stage in our faith journey. This is an extremely significant time of transition for all of us, and we are all wondering what the future will hold. It’s a lot to take in! I know you all are no strangers to change and transition, and as United Methodist pastors, Penny and I aren’t either. The question is: where do we find God calling to us in the midst of the constant of change?             Pastor Penny and I are so excited to be here with you today, to be joining you, as we seek, together, to hear God’s call…

Lectionary Notes for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 10, Ordinary 15)

Readings for 5th Sunday after Pentecost, 7/13/14:
Genesis 25:19-34, Psalm 119:105-112, Romans 8:1-11, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Genesis 25:19-34:
"Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger." What a pre-natal message for a mother to receive! Rebekah doesn't ultimately see a problem in having a favorite of these children - she chooses the stronger. But for my own mother, I know there is nothing worse for her than when her children are fighting with each other. She can't choose, she just wants everyone to 'get along.' How would you receive this news, personally, and for the people it will affect?I've always thought Jacob and Rebekah were pretty nasty and scheming in this story line - but you have to admit, Esau is not too bright to give up (NRSV reads 'despised') his birthright for some stew. I guess we often are willing to sacrifice something of va…