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Showing posts from April, 2013

Lectionary Notes for Sixth Sunday after Easter, Year C

Readings for 6th Sunday of Easter, 5/4/13: Acts 16:9-15, Psalm 67, Revelation 21:1-10, 22 - 22:5, John 14:23-29 Acts 16:9-15: I am particularly interested in the description of Lydia in this passage, one often overlooked by those who insist the Bible directs women to submissive, secondary roles. Note the changing voice/narration in this section. Luke becomes first person narrator instead of third. People have speculated on why - poor editing? Was he particularly passionate about passages where he slips into first person? Food for thought. Lydia has her whole household baptized. We don't hear anything of a husband, or his position on all this. Interesting. "If you have judged me to be faithful . . . " How do you judge the faith of another? We are not supposed to 'judge others' in some senses, but when are we called to judge, in what ways and situations? By what criteria? I thought this an interesting criterion she sets for them - if I am faithful, share my

Lectionary Notes for Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C

Readings for 5th Sunday of Easter, 4/28/13: Acts 11:1-18, Psalm 148, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35 Acts 11:1-18 : As a long-time vegetarian, this is one of those passages I often has quoted at me as reason why it's ok, Bible-approved to eat meat. Makes me laugh in frustration. We read, "What God has made clean, you must not call profane." Indeed, I agree with that - but what humans have made unclean? Those things God asks us to be careful in how we use. But basically, I like this passage. It's about Peter getting over himself. For as much as I like to rag on Paul for his constant boasting, I love him for his vision that the Jesus message wasn't just for Jews, but for all. Peter's vision is always limited - he always seems to need to confine the mission, have rules, tests, for who hears it. But here, he gets it: "who was I that I could hinder God?" Hear Peter's epiphany: He comes across believers who share in the baptism of the Holy Sp

Sermon, "Not-So-Secrets of New Life: Generosity," John 21:1-19

Sermon 4/21/13 John 21:1-19 Not-So-Secrets to New Life: Generosity             The last time I asked you all if you had seen a movie – at that time What Dreams May Come – I got a bunch of blank looks from most of you. I gave this a test run at our Christian Ed Leadership Retreat yesterday, and I’ll have better luck so I’m going to try 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 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

Lectionary Notes for Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C

Readings for 4th Sunday of Easter, 4/21/13: Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30 Acts 9:36-43 : note: "a disciple whose name was Tabitha . . . she was devoted to good works and acts of charity." This is a very empowering description of a new testament woman! A disciple: in Greek, a  mathetria , the feminine of the same word used to describe the twelve - a pupil/student, just as they were. This is the only place in the bible this word appears. Compare this to Jesus' raising of Jairus' daughter. Yes, different details. But the point of this passage is that the disciples, like Peter, are truly living now as Jesus lived, doing what he did, working in the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had left them with. It  is  possible for them to imitate and be like Jesus. As it  is  possible for us. Psalm 23: Ah, perhaps the one passage of scripture that most people, regardless of their usual preference of translation, prefer to hear in the poetry

Sermon, "Not-So-Secrets of New Life: Simplicity," John 9:1-41

Sermon 4/14/13 John 9:1-41 Not-So-Secrets of New Life: Simplicity             Many of you know I’ve been trying hard to have a healthier lifestyle – eating better, moving more. I’ve been getting into a rhythm, and it feels good. But, like most people, I admit I sometimes wish there was an easier way, a quick fix, that would still allow me to eat as many slices of pizza as I want at our pizza and games party this afternoon! The easy way out. Aren’t we all looking for that sometimes? I still vividly remember meeting a woman while I was serving as a chaplaincy intern at Crouse Hospital during seminary. She was telling me about her diet plans, because when people are stressed and worried about big things in their life, they will often talk a lot about the less stressful, worrisome things just to have a break. She was frustrated that her dieting didn’t seem successful, and she explained to me in detail what she was doing. On certain days of the week, she’d follow the Atkins p

Lectionary Notes for Third Sunday of Easter, Year C

Readings for 3rd Sunday of Easter, 4/14/13: Acts 9:1-6, (7-20), Psalm 30, Revelation 5:11-14, John 21:1-19 Acts 9:1-6, (7-20) : This is the story of the conversion of Saul, a favorite of many. I prefer using the extended text - the 'whole story'. "any who belonged to The Way" - I like this name for Christianity - perhaps less boggling in some respects. The Greek is  hodos , which means Way as in path or road, a highway. What does that say - our faith is the road we are on?! "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." Think of Matthew 25:31-45 - Jesus is the one who is impacted by our actions, be it positively or negatively. I'm guessing we don't really believe this - if we did, I would hope we would stop doing some of the atrocious things we do to one another, and start doing some of the so basic things we're always overlooking! "He is an instrument I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel

Lectionary Notes for Second Sunday of Easter, Year C

Readings for 2nd Sunday of Easter, 4/7/13: Acts 5:27-32, Psalm 150, Revelation 1:4-8, John 20:19-31 Acts 5:27-32: The compact gospel message given by Peter. It's interesting how quickly the work of the disciples shifts from the teachings of Jesus about how to live and love the neighbor to an almost complete emphasis on Jesus and his resurrection with a seeming lack of talk about what Jesus taught. I think that's still where the church get's stuck today! "We must obey God rather than any human authority." Do we believe this? It gets tricky when different people claim God telling them conflicting things. Just heard about a woman who stoned her sons to death because "The Lord told me to." On the other hand, I think of gay and lesbian folks who have been called by God and have to act against church law in order to claim their place as pastors. How do we judge who is acting on God's authority and who is abusing God's authority? Psalm 150:

Jesus Christ Superstar: From the Other Side

        This year, after twenty-one years of seeing Jesus Christ Superstar performed by Salt City Center for the Performing Arts, Ted Neeley’s various touring incarnations, my alma mater , and the Stratford Festival , and after harassing various church musicians into incorporating Superstar into worship so I could get a small taste of participating in the production, Saturday night I finally got to take the stage as a bona fide member of the cast, in all my miscellaneous-villager glory, instead of singing along quietly(ish) from my seat.             I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the production over the years, reviewing the show, offering my peanut-gallery comments. Now, as a cast member, I can’t exactly give an unbiased review, so instead, I offer some reflections.             First, I had so much fun being in the show. I was a theatre minor in college , and even though theatre was my minor and pre-theology was my major, my life in college revolved around theatr