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Showing posts from December, 2009

Sermon for Fourth Sunday of Advent, "In the Fullness of Time"

Sermon 12/20/09, Luke 1:39-55 In the Fullness of Time When my older brother was a freshman in college, I had a really hard time adjusting to all the changes happening in his life. I was a 7 th grader at the time, and my brother was a philosophy major, who was suddenly enlightened, and would come home and try to engage me in debate about the meaning of life – or the lack thereof, depending on my perspective or his! He was just too much to take – Jim, and the sudden epiphanies of understanding that he wanted to share with us. Six years later, when I started college myself, I somehow didn’t see the same behavior in myself, when I actually took to photocopying pages of my freshman Christian Ethics textbook and sending them home to my mother and pastor. It was just that I was reading about things I was pretty sure no one else had really thought about before, and my mind was expanding with the fascination of this new knowledge. I still remember vividly one of the first things I learn

Sermon for Third Sunday of Advent, "Time's Up"

Sermon 12/13/09, Luke 3:7-18 Time’s Up Perhaps by now you are wondering if Advent will ever bring a text that sounds like we’re preparing for the baby Jesus. After all, we started out with Jesus talking about the signs of the times, and images of disaster. Last week things sounded a little more advent-y, but really we were talking about a grown-up John the Baptist. And now, this week, we get more John, only this time he’s yelling about broods of vipers, fleeing from the coming wrath, and how Jesus is going to be throwing things into an unquenchable fire. Can John really be preparing people for Jesus, born a sweet babe, prince of peace, tender and mild? Our text picks up where it left of last week, and if our question last week was, “What are we waiting for?” today there is no missing the urgency in John’s tone. Crowds are coming out to him to be baptized. But he’s not exactly warm and welcoming when he sees them: “You brood of vipers!” he hells. “Who wa

Sermon for Second Sunday of Advent, "The Time In-Between"

Sermon 12/6/09, Luke 3:1-6 The Time In-Between As a child, I considered there to be two important seasons in my year. The season of Christmas, of course. And the season for summer camp. I grew up attending Camp Aldersgate every year – the counterpart to Casowasco, located in the foothills of the Adirondacks . I watched my big brother head to camp every summer with acute jealousy, until I was finally old enough to attend myself. I *loved* it, every part of it. I could attend camp for just one short week during each summer, until I was older and finally could afford to pay for a second week on my own, and eventually even work on staff. But as a child, all my longing for camping season was rewarded with one too-short week of camp. So I had to turn my energy, my love of camp, into something that would last me a little longer. Waiting for my week at camp was a period that lasted from sometime in late January all the way until the week itself in July or August. I didn’t wait idly. Fi

Introverts Can Make the Best Leaders

Somewhere in my blog subscriptions I was led to this article by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, "Why Introverts Can Make the Best Leaders." I can't for the life of me remember or find who wrote about it, so my apologies - please let me know if it was you! As a pastor, I'm always fascinated by information about introverted leadership. Sometimes I envy my extroverted clergy colleagues and the ease they seem to have in settings which cause me such internal agony! But this article made me feel pretty good about ways in which I can and do use my introversion to my advantage in ministry. (I'm posting this using Google Sidewiki for the first time - I'm hoping using it might help me actually blog again occasionally. We'll see!) in reference to: ( view on Google Sidewiki )

Sermon for First Sunday of Advent, "The Time is Near"

Sermon 11/29/09, Luke 21:25-36 The Time is Near Lucky Charms used to be my very favorite cereal. All those yummy marshmallows! Tragically, I can’t eat Lucky Charms anymore, because marshmallows are made with gelatin, which I don’t eat. I’m still hopeful that eventually they’ll change their recipe. But until then, I can just reminisce. When I was little, I used to pick out and eat all the marshmallows first, and be left with all the regular old cereal. I just couldn’t help myself. But as I got older and matured as a cereal connoisseur, I reversed my order. I’d eat all the plain cereal first, and leave all the marshmallows for last, finishing with the very best part. And in fact, I even came to really enjoy all that plain cereal in its own right. Sometimes, when I think about the season of Advent, the season of preparing and waiting for Christmas, I feel a bit the same way I used to feel about Lucky Charms. There have been times, especially when I was younger, where I j