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Showing posts from March, 2018

Sermon for Maundy Thursday, Mark 14:22-25, 32-42, John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Sermon 3/29/18 Maundy Thursday Mark 14:22-25, 32-42, John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Earlier in Lent we talked about silence, and how difficult silence can be. As I was writing my sermon that week, thinking about God speaking to Elijah from the silence, I was remembering a moving performance I attended while I was in college. Actors Roscoe Lee Browne and Anthony Zerbe shared a performance called “Behind the Broken Words.” They shared poems and readings and conversation with the audience. It was profound and moving. At one point, they spoke about silence, and our discomfort with it, and then, sitting in their arm chairs on the stage, they proceeded to be silent for what seemed like perhaps three or four minutes. Three or four minutes of total silence on a stage felt incredibly long. It was uncomfortable. And an audience member in the front clearly couldn’t take it, loudly shuffling in their seat and unwrapping some crinkly candy. The actors were visibly amused at the patron who just could not handle…

Sermon, "Elijah in the Wilderness," 1 Kings 19:1-16

Sermon 3/16/18 1 Kings 19:1-16
Elijah in the Wilderness

Today, in our last Sunday of Lent before we begin our Holy Week journey, we turn our attention to the prophet Elijah and his time in the wilderness. Elijah is kind of an enigmatic figure in the Bible. We don’t know very much about him. He just sort of starts appearing in the story in the midst of 1 Kings, ready to take on Ahab, King of Israel. Ahab is leading Israel astray. In fact, in Chapter 16 of 1 Kings we read that “Ahab … did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before him,” which is saying something, since the books of Kings recount a long line of kings who didn’t follow God. Ahab marries Jezebel, a daughter of a neighboring king and a priestess of Baal. And Ahab, too, begins to serve Baal, the idol-god of area Canaanite religion. He worships Baal and builds an altar for Baal and all of this, we read, kindles God’s anger at Ahab more than God had ever been angry at all the kings before him. And then, Elijah ap…

A Sung Communion Liturgy for Easter Sunday

Sung Communion Liturgy for Easter Sunday (Tune: REGENT SQUARE (Suggested: “Easter People, Raise Your Voices,” UMH 304))

At the table, Easter people Gather now, let voices ring Lift your hearts to God, Creator Lift your hearts, and praises bring. Alleluia! Alleluia! Resurrection people, sing!
In God’s image, we’re created Called to life from breath and dust. Yet we turn from God, who loves us, Building walls and breaking trust God, forgive us! God forgive us! Holy God, deliver us!
Through the ages, God pursued us, Calling us through prophets bold Yet we would not heed the message Or believe the truth they told God, Hosanna! We, your people, in your mercy now enfold!
In the right time God sent Jesus God-made-flesh, God face-to-face Showing us the ways of justice Healing, preaching, teaching faith Sing Hosanna! Sing Hosanna! Jesus, Savior, Gift of Grace!
With disciples he shared supper Cup of life and living bread Symbols of his body, broken Signs of his redeeming love We remember! We remember! Grace and me…

Book Review: Unafraid by Adam Hamilton

I received an advance copy of Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in the Wilderness in Uncertain Times to review, the latest book by Adam Hamilton, which comes out later this week. Hamilton is pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, the largest United Methodist Church in the United States. This book is published by Penguin Random House. Not positive this is a first, but I think it is, and probably marks an effort to draw a wider audience for his work. 

If you are familiar with Hamilton's other books, you will find Unafraid to have a similar accessible feel. Chapters are short, they contain many personal stories and illustrations, and the book emerges from a sermon series Hamilton preached at his church. It is longer and more in depth than many of his other works, and in terms of style and depth of research, I'd compare it with his earlier Making Sense of the Bible. Paired with his new publisher, Hamilton also makes a clear attempt to reach a wider audience with this work. …

Sermon for Third Sunday in Lent, "Israel in the Wilderness," Exodus 16:1-30

Sermon 3/4/18 Exodus 16:1-30
Israel in the Wilderness

We’ve talked about how Jesus’ time in the wilderness, where he confronts temptations that would take him away from God’s vision for the redemption of the world, where he goes having just been reminded of his identity as God beloved’s child, Jesus’s time in the wilderness is our model for wilderness time, and a major model for the season of Lent. We seek to go to the wilderness because Jesus does. But the other primary wilderness story in the scriptures is the story of Israel in the wilderness. God’s whole people, the Israelites, spent forty years in the wilderness as they journeyed between Egypt and the Promised Land. Through a strange series of events, the Israelites had become slaves of the Pharaoh in Egypt. They were the workforce in Egypt, and the Pharaoh was cruel to them – demanding more and more work, and eventually instructing that male Israelite babies should be killed at birth, because he was frightened they would take over…