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Showing posts from April, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Second Sunday of Easter, Year A

Readings for 2nd Easter, 4/27/14 Acts 2:14a, 22-32, Psalm 16, 1 Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31 Acts 2:14a, 22-32 : This text gives Peter's speech to the crowds on the Day of Pentecost. "the definite plan and foreknowledge of God." I like Peter's word, here, "foreknowledge." To me, it says that God can know what's going on, and still not make our choices for us. I'm not sure that's what Peter meant. But that's how I think of things, sometimes. I believe that God has a purpose for me, but I can't believe God won't let me make choices, otherwise my life has very little meaning. Peter is interested in showing Jesus as in the line of David, carrying on the Davidic throne. Perhaps he felt this would be a good way to appeal to his audience, something that would make them believe in the power of this 'Jesus.' Psalm 16: "I have no good apart from you." No good apart from God. We might think we can have what is good out

Sermon for Easter Sunday, "Resurrection Story," John 20:1-18

Sermon 4/20/2014 John 20:1-18 Resurrection Stories – Easter             Have any of you tried watching the new ABC series called Resurrection? As a pastor, I felt like it was my duty to at least check the show out – how could I not watch, at least once, a show called Resurrection ? I don’t want to spoil it for you, if you plan on watching eventually, but the basic concept of the series is this. Starting with a little boy who drowned over thirty years ago, people who died start returning to a small town, very much alive. For everyone else, years have passed, but for the people who died, they return having not aged a day. It’s like someone pressed “pause” on their lives, and then suddenly hit “play” again.             You would think, wouldn’t you, that these people, returned from the dead, would be a cause of joy, right? But it turns out that their return causes a lot of trouble. People have moved on, grown older, remarried. People have grieved already, and find themselves

A Sung Communion Liturgy for Maundy Thursday/The Season of Lent

A Sung Communion Liturgy for Maundy Thursday/The Season of Lent (Tune: RESTORATION) Lift your hearts to God your maker. Lift your hearts unto the Lord! Let us thank God! Let us praise God: God of mercy, love and power! Let us gather at the table Hearts uplifted, hands outstretched This, the table of thanksgiving Cup of blessing, bread of life From the dust we were created God gave us the breath of life But we wandered from God’s Presence Bound for pain and grief and strife Let us gather at the table Hearts uplifted, hands outstretched This, the table of thanksgiving Cup of blessing, bread of life God sought us through law and prophet Called to us throughout the years We rejected, lost in wilderness God called us but we would not hear. Holy, Holy, God Almighty, Holy God we sing your praise! All creation’s filled with glory!   Glory in the highest! In good time God sent a Savior God’s own son, a gift for all. For

Lectionary Notes for Palm/Passion Sunday, Year A

Readings for Palm/Passion Sunday, 4/13/14: Matthew 21:1-11 (Palms), Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (Palms), Isaiah 50:4-9a (Passion), Psalm 31:9-16 (Passion), Philippians 2:5-11 (Passion), Matthew 26:14-27:66 (Passion) ** A Special Note: Some churches choose to focus on one or other set of texts on this Sunday that begins Holy Week: either Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday texts. Personally, I combine both passages into one service: Palm/Passion Sunday. My homiletics professor at  Drew , Charles Rice, suggested reading the Palm Sunday gospel text very early in the service, and placing the (brief) sermon very early as well. Then, toward the very end of the service, the Passion gospel is read, without comment/preaching, dramatically or otherwise. I have found this very moving and effective. ** Matthew 21:1-11 : Matthew, ever trying to show Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy, has Jesus riding in both on a donkey and on a colt, since that's what the text says. Never mind Matthew understan

Lectionary Notes for Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A

Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent, 4/6/14: Psalm 130, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45 Ezekiel 37:1-14: The Valley of the Bones. This passage is so rich with possible meanings for us. "Mortal, can these bones live?" Even what seems beyond life can be made alive by God's holy breath. We are reminded again that, as Ezekiel says, it is  God , not  us , who knows the extent of the grace that God can extend to us. "our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost." Do you ever feel like this? Dried up? Without hope? How has God acted to breath new life into you? Psalm 130: A favorite Psalm. My favorite musical setting of this Psalm is the John Rutter  Requiem , which I think gives a real sense of the Psalm - performed occasionally by my  childhood-church . Out of the depths - what are the depths from which you call to God? Do you remember to call to God from your lowest low? This psalm shows a great faith and hope in God's grace and forgiving me

Sermon, "24 Hours that Changed the World: Jesus, Barabbas, and Pilate," Mark 15:1-15

Sermon 3/30/14 Mark 15:1-15 24 Hours that Changed the World: Jesus, Barabbas, and Pilate I’ve always found Pontius Pilate to be a fascinating biblical figure. It’s strange, isn’t it, that while the twelve disciples spent three years of their lives with Jesus, we know so very little about them. Sure, we know a lot about Peter. But what about Bartholomew or Thaddeus? The Bible says almost nothing about them. Meanwhile, Pontius Pilate spent just a short time with Jesus on one day, and yet we hear more from Pilate than we do half the disciples. We don’t know a lot about Pilate’s background – there are some conflicting stories over where he was born and what family he was part of – and we don’t know much about his life before he appears in the gospels. He’s mentioned in only a couple other historical sources from the time, and just briefly. But we know that he was a prefect in Judea, and that prefects had certain duties – mostly military oversight and collecting taxes, but also j