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Showing posts from February, 2011

Lectionary Notes for Transfiguration Sunday, Year A

Readings for Transfiguration Sunday, 3/6/11 Exodus 24:12-18, Psalm 99, 2 Peter 1:16-21, Matthew 17:1-9 Exodus 24:12-18: "The Lord was like a devouring fire." How do you see God? How does God appear to you? The people in Ancient Israel saw God in such concrete ways. New Testament folks saw God concretely in a different sense: embodied in Christ. We still see God as incarnated in Christ, but how else do we speak of God, see God concretely in our world? going up the mountain - we talk a lot about mountain-top experiences - places where we feel "high on life" and maybe high on God. What did Moses feel up on the mountain with God? What has been a mountain-top experience for you? Forty days and forty nights! My mountain-top times rarely are so long. We forget being close with God and how God spoke to us so quickly, don't we? I think of  The Chronicles of Narnia , as always,  The Silver Chair  this time (C.S. Lewis) where Jill is hearing The Signs from Aslan on t

Sermon for Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, "Enough for Today"

Sermon 2/27/11 Matthew 6:24-34 Enough for Today             Like our text from a few weeks ago, about being the salt of the earth and light of the world, today’s gospel lesson comes from the Sermon on the Mount. We’ve skipped ahead a bit, but this passage, like that one, comes from a huge chunk of Jesus’ teaching; these three chapters of Matthew that contain the Sermon could alone consume our time as we interpret and are challenged to live in the way that Jesus sets out for us. This passage is probably familiar to you. It’s a passage we characterize as being about “worry,” although there’s certainly a lot packed into this text. In this chapter, Jesus has just talked about giving alms, praying, and fasting, followed up by saying that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” And then Jesus starts with today’s passage. Let me read it to you again from Eugene Peterson’s The Message: 24"You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating

Sermon for Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany, "Face to Face" (non-lectionary)

Sermon 2/20/11 Matthew 25:31-45 Face to Face             We’re in a span of time right now that is the season after the Epiphany. It’s this time between Epiphany Sunday and Transfiguration Sunday and the beginning of Lent that isn’t really anything in particular, liturgically speaking. And it is a time that is shorter or longer each year, because it depends on the date of Easter, which then determines when Lent begins. So sometimes this non-season is as short as three weeks, and sometimes, it is as long as eight week before Transfiguration Sunday, like this year. Lucky for you, that gives me just enough time to spend a week on each one of my goals for the coming year for ministry in our congregation. Last week, you remember, we talked about evangelism and being welcoming. You remember the challenge I gave you? Gave us? Our challenge in the year ahead, besides being God’s welcome wherever we are, is to invite someone, bring someone to worship with you this year and to see if you can


I have been spending these last few days on vacation at the Proskine Cabin at Casowasco . It is gorgeous and lovely and has been really delightful.  I've noticed, though, how bad I am at relaxing.  Now, before I elaborate, let me say that I really dislike the habit we have, that clergy have (maybe this is a problem for everyone else too, but I'm talking particularly about my colleagues here), of trying to "out busy" each other. Busy-ness is not next to godliness, I swear.  What I want to say, though, is that I find it very hard to relax, and that it being so hard to relax is pretty sad, a sad reflection on ministry and culture and perhaps a statement about my need to more faithfully cultivate a practice of Sabbath.  Yesterday, I had nothing on my agenda except having lunch with friends. But all day, I couldn't escape a sense of "should be." I should be doing this, I should be doing that. Was I in town away from the cabin too long? I really should be

Non-lectionary Sermon, "Welcome," John 15:1-12

Sermon 2/13/11 John 15:1-12 Welcome               As I mentioned last week, I want to spend the next few Sundays talking about my goals for our life together in the coming year. This Sunday, I want to focus on the area of evangelism and being a welcoming congregation. One of my goals for us is that we challenge and stretch ourselves to be even more open and welcoming as a congregation. There are many parts of “welcoming” that we do as a congregation. We try to be welcoming when someone visits the congregation. Even if you’ve attended the church for many years, or even all your life, all of us, I’m sure, have had the experience of visiting another congregation for some reason or another. Especially if you’ve gone through the process of looking for a new place of worship, or trying for the first time to try out this thing called church, you know that it can be very intimidating to walk into to a service of worship for the first time. You are entering into a place where, at least in a c

Sermon for Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, "Salty"

Sermon 2/6/11 Isaiah 58:1-12, Matthew 5:13-20 Salty             Today’s lesson from Matthew, like the beatitudes we heard last week, comes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It’s the largest chunk of Jesus’ teaching that is all together in one place – just lesson after lesson from Jesus, preached to crowds of people. Most of the Semron on the Mount you’re probably pretty familiar with, even if you didn’t know it where it was from. Today’s text starts with two images – salt and light. “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” We use a salt a little differently today than in biblical times. Today, although salt is something that might be tasty, we tend to think of sodium and how we get too much of salt! But in Jesus’ day, salt was an additive acting as both a spice and as a preservative. Salt gave things flavor, and made them last. Still, though, the po

Sermon for Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, "Requirements"

Sermon 1/30/11 Micah 6:1-8, Matthew 5:1-12 Requirements             Requirements. When I was in high-school, I knew I had really arrived, I was really becoming grown-up when I got to the time in school where I could start choosing some of my classes. By the time I was a junior, I no longer took math and science – I had taken the required courses for graduation already. And instead, during my senior year, I was taking a full load of five periods of music courses, ranging from choir and orchestra to theory and history. It was great. I loved it. Then, in college, my choices were even more wide-ranging. You got to choose an entire course of study. I got to choose a major and a minor. There were some core requirements of course – Ohio Wesleyan sadly required three sciences, much to my dismay. But I got to choose classes like Ancient Greek, Stage Make-up and Costuming, Shakespeare, and Adolescent Psychology. And then, I went to seminary. Instead of getting more choices, I had less than in c