Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March, 2015

Lectionary Notes for Good Friday, Year B

Readings for Good Friday, 4/3/15:
Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1-19:42
Isaiah 52:13-53:12: Here Isaiah describes the suffering servant, and no surprise, we easily see Jesus reflected in this image. Isaiah seems to focus on the theme of how this servant will be what no one is looking for, but what everyone will give attention to when revealed."by a perversion of justice he was taken away." This sentence particularly strikes - if we apply this to Jesus, we read that it is an act of injustice that takes Jesus away to death. Do we remember to think of it that way? We get so caught up in his sacrifice, in God's plan laid out, that I think we forget that what happened to Jesus, even if it worked for our good,was wrong!"It was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain." Eek! I hope not. I'm not sure that this is ever God's will, exactly, or that way that God would hope and desire for t…

Lectionary Notes for Maundy Thursday, Year B

Readings for Maundy Thursday, 4/2/15:
Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10), 11-14, Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10), 11-14 God describes to Moses and Aaron the Passover, which is the festival that centers Jesus' meal with his disciples as we celebrate Maundy Thursday."this is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly" Ready to go. Ready to move. Prepared. Imagine if this was always the way we were, in terms of readiness to respond to God's call.The Passover is a hard one to stomach (no pun intended.) It is hard to imagine a plague of killing firstborns all through the land, isn't it? But it is a festival, a "remembrance" that becomes so crucial in the identity of Judaism, and even in the events that shape Christ's last days. Death, blood, lamb, sacrifice. The ways the symboli…

Lectionary Notes for Palm/Passion Sunday, Year B

Readings for Palm/Passion Sunday, 3/29/15:
Mark 11:1-11 (Palms), Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (Palms), Isaiah 50:4-9a (Passion), Psalm 31:9-16 (Passion), Philippians 2:5-11 (Passion), Mark 14:1-15:47 (Passion)
Mark 11:1-11 This is a passage that aches to be visually depicted in our congregations. That's why, I think, we wave the palms, or have processions on Palm Sunday. We need to see it, experience it, and be part of it. In our church, the choir and the children process in the opening hymn, waving branches. Do you have some visual marking of this text?"Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there . . . " Not necessarily Jesus prophesying, as some have interpreted. Just Jesus telling them of the plans he has made ahead of time. We never seem satisfied with things just happening in the realm of the natural - we always seem to want to add a supernatural element to scripture, as if it is not powerful …

Sermon, "Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Seventy-Seven," Matthew 18:21-35

Sermon 3/22/15 Matthew 18:21-35
Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Seventy-Seven

            I’ve mentioned to you before that I’m part of a clergy Bible Study group, where I meet weekly with some of my colleagues for study and reflection. Right now, we’re reading a book together called Questions God Asks Us by Trevor Hudson. In the book, each week, we examine together a question God asks of someone in the scriptures. This week, we talked about the question God asks of Cain, just after he has murdered his brother Abel. God asks, “Where is your brother?” We talked about how this question implies that we have responsibility for one another – not just our friends and loved ones, but our society as a whole, and in particular, those who are our enemies.             As we were discussing this, a few in the group shared that they don’t really feel that they have anyone that they’d call an enemy. Now, this is great for them, but I found myself a little skeptical. Here’s the challenge I raised: Jesu…

Lectionary Notes for Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B

Readings for Fifth Sunday in Lent, 3/22/15:
Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:1-12, Hebrews 5:5-10, John 12:20-33
Jeremiah 31:31-34 "new covenant" - I wonder how many times in the scriptures God tries to renew a covenant with God's people. How many times would you try again with someone who had betrayed, neglected, hurt, or forgotten you?"I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." This is God wanting a real relationship with people, for God to be the one to whom the people belong. Imagine, if God's law is on our hearts, within us, perhaps we can learn better to live by its spirit and not by its letter. God is trying a different approach in this new covenant - a law of love we carry inside of us."they shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest" - God is for all - not just for the knowledgeable and educated, w…

Lectionary Notes for Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B

Readings for Fourth Sunday in Lent, 3/15/15:
Numbers 21:4-9, Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:14-21
Numbers 21:4-9: I think this is one of the strangest passages in the Bible. Making a serpent of bronze to fend off poisonous snakes seems strangely idol-like to me, but God commands Moses to do this. And the snakes that are biting people were sent by God to begin with! I really don't get it.The people are again complaining to Moses - why did you take us from Egypt? They do this literally countless times. How do you think Moses keeps the faith? Their complaining no doubt wears on him.How do we act like the people? Complaining about what is new and reminiscing for the 'good old days'?Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22: Steadfast, according to dictionary.com is "Firmly fixed or established; fast fixed; firm. 2. Not fickle or wavering; constant; firm; resolute; unswerving; steady. God's love for us is constant and unwavering. Tak…

Sermon, "Forgiveness: Sibling Rivalry," Luke 15:11-32

Sermon 3/8/15 Luke 15:11-32
Forgiveness: Sibling Rivalry

            We’ve been talking this Lent about forgiveness and reconciliation, and sometimes, when you start thinking about a certain issue or topic, you start to notice every time it is mentioned, every time it comes up in conversation, and suddenly, it feels like everyone is talking about what you’ve been thinking about. I read a couple of interesting articles recently. One of them talked about the issue of shame, and in particular the practice of public shaming that we engage in in our social media-focused culture. The article talked about weighing the benefit we have through social media to draw attention to abuses that otherwise stay covered up, with the way we can destroy a person’s life over one mistake that used to be just something someone could recover from. For example, a young woman recently complained about the new job she was about to start on twitter. Her boss found out, and fired her, also on twitter. But since this…

Lectionary Notes for Third Sunday in Lent, Year B

Readings for Third Sunday in Lent, 3/8/15:
Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, John 2:13-22


Exodus 20:1-17:

The Ten Commandments - all the rage in the last couple years with courtroom battles. People have spent a lot of energy defending these commandments. Are they worth defending? Do we follow as well as defend? While I don't feel they need to be posted in our courtrooms, I think they are still pretty important for us.The ones I am most drawn to are the first commandments. God is God and our only God. We might not worship other deities, but sometimes we're in danger of worshipping our possessions, our work, our culture, or our country. We may not make golden calf idols, but we idolize plenty of things, don't we?"Remember the Sabbath." This is so hard for me. We're recently started a twice-weekly prayer chapel at our church - 30 minutes to be still and be with God. I find even that hard. My mind is always racing over my to-do list. How do you keep S…