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Showing posts from April, 2016

Sermon for Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C, "Finding Easter: Shepherd and Sheep," Psalm 23

Sermon 4/17/16 Psalm 23
Finding Easter: Shepherd and Sheep
Last week, we heard Jesus tell Peter the task he had set for him: Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep. Today, we’re taking a deeper look at this biblical imagery of shepherds and sheep as we look at a most beloved passage of scripture. We’re not very good at memorizing scripture anymore. Not us at Apple Valley in particular, but rather in the larger church. Most mainline Protestant churches don’t emphasize memorizing scripture the way that we might have experienced even a few decades ago. When I was a child, we’d get a nickel in my Sunday School class for every verse we could memorize, and that was pretty much enough motivation for me!
Do you know any verse of the Bible by heart? If you do, among them, one that many people still know by heart, and many people know at least in part, even if they can’t remember where it is from or why they know it, is the 23rd Psalm. Most people know it, in fact, in the Kings James Version,…

Sermon for Third Sunday of Easter, Year C, "Finding Easter: Called (Again)," John 21:1-19

Sermon 4/10/16
John 21:1-19
Finding Easter: Called (Again)
How many of you have seen the Bill Murray 1993 movie Groundhog Day – gosh, did that really come out 20 years ago? The premise is this: Bill Murray’s character, Phil, isn’t really enjoying life. He’s a news reporter, and he has to report on Punxutawney Phil, and whether or not he sees his shadow on Groundhog Day. The day doesn’t go very well as a whole. He’s kind of a jerk all day long. He finally goes to sleep, wakes up in the morning – and instead of being the next day, it’s the same day all over again. He finds, for some reason, he has to keep living the same day over and over. And at first, he doesn’t really try to do anything differently. Presented with the same day, Phil does basically the same thing. Eventually, eventually, dissatisfied with the life he is experiencing, dissatisfied with the way he’s spent this day, again, and again, he starts to make changes. Finally, when he’s changed his life, inside and outside, he wake…

Sermon for Second Sunday of Easter, Year C, "Finding Easter: Doubt," John 20:19-31

Sermon 4/3/16 John 20:19-31

Finding Easter: Doubt
I know some people have been brought up, one way or another, in a spirituality that discourages asking questions, that looks on doubts and questions as disrespectful sometimes, or dangerous, or at least discouraged. I’ve told you before about the weekly Faith Chats I lead in Rochester where I work at the retirement community. This week, we were talking about the different accounts of the resurrection in each of the gospels, and one of the woman, a woman in her late eighties, raised in the Catholic tradition, said that she had never asked some of the questions we were asking together before. She found it both compelling and unsettling, asking questions, studying the text, sometimes encountering no easy, clear cut answer, but only, instead, uncovering more questions. I don’t want to push her or the others too hard – but I do I hope that they all experience the freedom that comes from being able to, encouraged to, even, ask questions about o…