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Showing posts from May, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A

Readings for 6th Sunday of Easter, 5/25/14: Acts 17:22-31, Psalm 66:8-20, 1 Peter 3:13-22, John 14:15-21 Acts 17:22-31: This is a great passage - Paul's technique for pulling in the Athenians is marvelous, strategic, effective. He reaches them on their terms, where they are. He doesn't condemn them for their beliefs, though he certainly believes he has something else to offer. But he uses what they believe to lead to the good news he wants to share. Smoothly done. "they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us." Hmm - I like this verse - Paul sees us all on the same ground - all humans essentially the same - searching for God. I think he's right on target - we're all searching for meaning. God is just waiting to be found by us. "we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals." Yes - God is much mo

Lectionary Notes for Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A

Readings for 5th Sunday of Easter, 5/18/14: Acts 7:55-60, Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16, 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14 Acts 7:55-60: The martyrdom of Stephen - for what would you be willing to be put to death? Some kinds of martyrdom miss the mark, I think. Sometimes our lives are gifts not to be given in this way. But still, most of us, I think, would not be easily moved, even by our faith, to give our lives. Perhaps for our loved ones - that seems the most likely to inspire giving our own lives. The "greater love" of which Jesus speaks. "they covered their ears" - do you sometimes cover your ears, literally or figuratively, to God's voice? God's messengers? Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16: Rescue, refuge, fortress, save, rock, strong. This is a plea for God's protection. Make sure to read the un-included verses of this Psalm, at least for yourself. "My times are in your hand." Giving God our times. That simply, that completely. "Let your face shin

Sermon for Fourth Sunday of Easter, "Resurrection Stories: Bless You," 2 Kings 4:20-35

Sermon 5/11/14 2 Kings 4:20-35 Resurrection Stories: Bless You             If you’re thinking that today’s scripture lesson sounds a lot like last week’s scripture lesson, that’s good. It means you’ve been paying attention. Last week, we read about Elijah, who stayed in the home of a woman who had a son, who died, who Elijah then raised from the dead. Today, we’re reading about Elisha, who is staying at the home of a woman who has a son, and he dies, and Elisha raises him from the dead. A little confusing, right?             Last week, remember, we talked about how Elijah’s prophetic words and actions weren’t very popular, since he criticized King Ahab and Queen Jezebel for their idolatrous practices. Eventually, Elijah is overwhelmed, exhausted from his prophetic work that keeps putting his life in jeopardy, and he turns to God for help. God tells Elijah that he’ll have someone to hand his work over to – a man named Elisha. For several years, Elisha journeys with Elijah a

Lectionary Notes for Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A

Readings for 4th Sunday of Easter, 5/11/14: Acts 2:42-47, Psalm 23, 1 Peter 2:19-25, John 10:1-10 Acts 2:42-47: This is one of my favorite passages of Acts, where this early Christian community is depicted. When you look at this, and think of the church communities we have today, I wonder how far we've strayed from this model of community life. "all things in common." We don't have much of anything held "in common" with people we are not related to these days. Maybe we'd (rightly) write it off as communism, but with our pejorative meaning added. How might we gain some of this "in common" life back? I have some friends in Tucson who've been fairly involved with a group of social-justice-minded people living in "intentional community." Hard work. But valuable. breaking bread - sharing a meal together. Even if we can't live with all in common, we do still share together around the table in churches. To me, this time can be

Sermon, "Resurrection Stories: Widow's Son," 1 Kings 17:17-24

Sermon 5/4/2014 1 Kings 17:17-24 Resurrection Stories – Widow’s Son             We’re continuing to look at Resurrection Stories in the scriptures as we move through the Great Fifty Days of Easter – did you know that’s one of the titles of this season? Not just the fifty days of Easter – but the Great Fifty Days of Easter. What greater thing can we celebrate than the power of resurrection? So we’re looking at Resurrection Stories in the Bible, and we’re hoping that they will stir up in us reminders of or motivation for or anticipation of the resurrection stories that take place in our own lives. In fact I spoke to someone just this week who is about to make some major changes in her life that will give her new life, that will resurrect her in amazing ways. I could feel the sense of hope and possibility in our midst just from listening to her talk about her plans. Resurrection, the new life God wants to give us, is so powerful.             Today we find ourselves in 1 King

Lectionary Notes for Third Sunday of Easter, Year A

Readings for Third Sunday of Easter, 5/4/14: Acts 2:14a, 36-41, Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19, 1 Peter 1:17-23, Luke 24:13-35 Acts 2:14a, 36-41: This, like last week's reading from Acts, continues as an account of the reaction of the crowds to Peter's speaking at the festival of Pentecost. "God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified." This is interesting phrasing by Peter - does he believe that Jesus was not innately the Messiah, but only chosen to take on that identity? Hmm... "cut to the heart" from the Greek,  katenugĂȘsan tĂȘn kardian , literally means "to be sorely pricked" - as far as I can see, this is the only place this words occurs in the Bible, and occurs rarely in other classical Greek texts.  Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19: This text was just in our lectionary cycle for Maundy Thursday - hopefully it looks a little familiar to you! What makes it different to read this Psalm during Holy Week, and then during the days of

Sermon for Second Sunday of Easter, "Resurrection Stories: Dry Bones," Ezekiel 37:1-14

Sermon 4/27/2014 Ezekiel 37:1-14 Resurrection Stories – Dry Bones             Last week, as we gathered on Easter Morning, we heard The Resurrection Story – as we lingered with Mary at the tomb long enough to experience the resurrected Christ, as we pondered the difference between resuscitated lives and resurrected lives. But the celebration of Easter isn’t a one day event. As we sang last week, we are indeed Easter people, and every day to us is Easter because we always live in the promise of the victory of life over death. And so we always celebrate Easter, but we also have a liturgical season of Easter that is fifty days long – lasting from Easter Sunday to the day of Pentecost. These days represent the forty days that Jesus remained on earth after the resurrection, and the days leading up to the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit, which we’ll celebrate in June. Fifty days of Easter. During these fifty days, we’ll be lingering, so to speak, sticking with this Resurrecti