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Showing posts from February, 2016

Sermon for Third Sunday in Lent, "Lent: Satisfied," Isaiah 55:1-13

Sermon 2/28/16 Isaiah 55:1-13
Lent: Satisfied
My appetite is my shepherd, I always want. It maketh me sit down and stuff myself. It leadeth me to my refrigerator repeatedly, Sometimes during the night. It leadeth me in the path of Burger King for a Whopper. It destroyeth my shape. Yea, though I knoweth I gaineth, I will not stop eating,                                                        For the food tasteth so good.                          The ice cream and the cookies, they comfort me. When the table is spread before me, it exciteth me. For I knoweth that I sooneth shall dig in. As I filleth my plate continuously, My clothes runneth smaller. Surely bulges and pudgies shall follow me All the days of my life. And I shall be "pleasingly plump" forever. (1)

            In the midst of the season of Lent, season of fasting and penitence and somber reflection, today we turn from the gospel lesson to a text from the prophet Isaiah that seems a bit exuberant and rich for our setting. Today’s go…

Sermon for Second Sunday in Lent, Year C, "Lent: Gathered," Luke 13:31-35

Sermon 2/21/16 Luke 13:31-35
Lent: Gathered

            There’s just something about this scripture passage that’s tugging at me this time around. I’ve preached on this text before, read and studied it. This image – Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem where he compares himself to a mother hen wanting to gather in her chicks, her people, to protect them – is a unique one, a vivid one, certainly. But it hasn’t always tugged at me the way it is this time around.             Maybe it’s because we, I, just need this image. Need to be gathered in by Jesus, by God who loves us. This past week we hosted our friends in the community at our ecumenical Lenten service, and we engaged in prayer stations for a time of worship. I set up different stations around the sanctuary that were all focused on one of our scripture texts for the season of Lent. For the station that corresponded to this passage of scripture – Jesus gathering the people like a mother hen gathers her chicks – I invited people to wrap themse…

Sermon for First Sunday in Lent, "Lent: Tempted," Luke 4:1-13

Sermon 2/14/16 Luke 4:1-13
Lent: Tempted

Every Lent, the readings in the lectionary for the First Sunday are about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness, an event that happens immediately after his baptism and before the beginning of his preaching, teaching, and healing ministry. It makes some sense. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, the desert. Forty is a number in the scriptures that signifies a significant passage of time. The flood lasted for forty days. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days. And we observe a 40-day season of preparation at Lent, a season of repentance and introspection as we journey with Jesus a road that leads to Jerusalem, to death, to the cross. But why this text in particular? Is it more than a match in numbers? I’ll admit, at first read, this passage isn’t one that particularly moves me. Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by the devil, and he seems to so effortlessly knock down anything that the devil p…

Sermon, "Invitational: Redemption Stories," Luke 5:27-32

Sermon 2/7/16 Luke 5:27-32
Invitational: Redemption Stories
            Over the last few years, I’ll confess that I’ve become a big fan of reading fanfiction. Anybody know what that is? Fanfiction is stories that fans of original works write in order to prolong or reimagine or recreate the original story. Sometimes authors imagine what a contemporary story would be like if it took place in some other time period, or vice versa – like if Pride and Prejudice took place in 2015, instead of the 1800s. Sometimes fanfiction writers imagine a character who has an untimely end in a story as surviving instead, imagining what it might be like, for example, if Darth Vader lived longer, for better or worse. Other fanfiction stories are about what would happen if your favorite character fell in love with the character you always wanted them too, instead of the one they ended up with. And another big chunk of fanfiction are stories about what would happen if the bad guy was somehow redeemed, and the …

Sermon, "Invitational: Deep Waters," Luke 5:1-11

Sermon 1/31/16 Luke 5:1-11
Invitational: Deep Waters             I’m fascinated by the fact that for all that we know, as much as we have discovered, for all of the world we humans feel like we have conquered, there are still so many that things that we don’t know and can’t control, so much that we are learning yet, every day. Even today, every year, scientists discover entirely new species of plants and animals. And one part of our world that is rich in things yet-to-be-discovered is in the mysterious fathoms below – the deep, deepest waters of the ocean. In 2015, for example, scientists discovered this Ceratioid anglerfish that lives in the nicknamed “midnight zone” of the ocean. It doesn’t look like other anglerfish – one news article described it as looking like a “rotting old shoe with spikes, a scraggly mustache and a big mouth with bad teeth. And it has a long, angular fishing pole-looking thing growing out of its head.”[1] Or there’s Greedo, named after the Star Wars Bounty Hunte…