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Showing posts from August, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 17, Ordinary 22)

Readings for 12th Sunday after Pentecost, 8/31/14: Exodus 3:1-15, Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c, Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 16:21-28 Exodus 3:1-15: "Here I am." These are three of the bravest words in the Bible, don't you think? And yet, so simple, such easy, uncomplicated words. Will we utter them? Dare to say such simple words to God? "the place on which you are standing is holy ground" - What places in life have you come upon holy ground? What makes it holy? How do you act when you are on Holy Ground? "Who am I that I should go out to Pharaoh?" Moses asks God. So much for his initial brave response ;) - who do you think is better equipped to judge your abilities - you or God? Do you question what God has called you to do? What would it take to convince you? "I AM WHO I AM." Maybe the best name for God - the one God claims for God's self. We like to describe God, paint God into corners, but God into boxes with our theological language

Sermon for Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "Messiah," Matthew 16:13-20

Sermon 8/24/2014 Matthew 16:13-20 Messiah             Who do you say Jesus is? Today, we’re continuing on in the gospel of Matthew. Since last week’s text, when Jesus met with the Canaanite woman in the Gentile region of Tyre and Sidon, Jesus healed more people, fed a crowd of 4000, plus women and children, again, with a small amount of food, and spent some time debating with Pharisees and Sadducees, who demand “signs” from heaven. Jesus says to them, in essence, “you’re smart enough to know that when the sky turns a certain color, it’s about to storm. How come you can’t read the signs of the times?” In other words, he’s already showing them all they need to know. Jesus also gets frustrated with the disciples when they still don’t seem to understand what’s he’s been doing either. They don’t seem to be able to connect what they’ve been witnessing with who Jesus is, with the significance of their experiences.             Our text opens today with Jesus and the disciples ar

Lectionary Notes for Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 16, Ordinary 21)

Readings for Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, 8/24/11: Exodus 1:8-2:10, Psalm 124, Romans 12:1-8, Matthew 16:13-20 Exodus 1:8-2:10: "Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph . . ." This is a great opening to explain how people once joined to Egypt under Joseph's protection because slaves of those same people - history was forgotten. We forget history, even today, even with all of our technology and archiving and ways to preserve - we forget what has happened, and act in ignorance. Could you be like the midwives? I admire their bravery. Perhaps we think it would be easy to refuse to kill these newborns, but commanded by the King? They were disobeying orders from the highest level - that takes courage.  Psalm 124: "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side" - whose side is God on? Is God always on our side? Is God always on the winning side? We want God to be on our side, but we'd do better to seek to be on  God's  side of t

Sermon for Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "Case in Point," Matthew 15:10-28

Sermon 8/17/2014 Matthew 15:10-28 Case in Point           In our time together, as I’ve mentioned, you will no doubt hear a lot about my 7 year old nephew Sam (and my on-the-way niece, due next month!). Sam’s one of the great joys of my life, for sure. Sam is getting to be quite grown up. He and I have “fun day” outings together pretty regularly, and we often head to Destiny USA. We see a movie, or go mini-golfing there, or play in the arcade, and eat at Johnny Rockets, but we always hit the Carousel. Sam’s a little guy for his age, so I help him onto the horse of his choice, and then stand next to him while he rides the Carousel. At least, that’s what we did . The last time I took him to the Carousel, he let me ride with him the first time, but for the second time, he said to me, so sweetly, “Aunt Beth, why don’t you go stand down there so you can wave to me when I go by.” Sweet kid was trying to gently say, “Aunt Beth, I don’t need you to stand next to me anymore!” I act

Lectionary Notes for Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 15, Ordinary 20)

Readings for 10th Sunday after Pentecost, 8/17/14:  Genesis 45:1-15, Psalm 133, Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32, Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28 Genesis 45:1-15: This is a great story of forgiveness. Is it a story of redemption too? After all, though Joseph is quite moved to see his brothers, the only word we get about how they feel is "dismayed." OK, he did trick them over Benjamin and stealing, but they sold him into slavery and said he was dead! Overall, Joseph's forgiveness seems quite impressive, and it is never asked for by his brothers. Anyway, I think that forgiving those we love the most, or we had expected the most form, is the hardest kind of forgiveness to give. But the most needed. What enables you to be ready to forgive, even when those you must forgive aren't ready to repent? Psalm 133: Short and sweet?! Check out  Chris Haslam's notes  on this Psalm. The image of Aaron's beard dripping with oil signifies total consecration to God. Haslam also note

Sermon for 14th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "If I Keep My Eyes on Jesus," Matthew 14:22-33

Sermon 8/10/14 Matthew 14:22-33 If I Keep My Eyes on Jesus…             Have you ever heard the expression, “Whatever you do, don’t look down?” This is a picture of my brother Todd and his girlfriend Andrea on the Skydeck of the Willis Tower – once known as the Sears Tower – in Chicago. The view is pretty impressive, isn’t it? But if you’re afraid of heights, it might be a little much. Not long before their visit to the Skydeck, some other folks were visiting this attraction and standing on the Skydeck when they heard a loud cracking noise. Needless to say, they scurried off rather quickly. It turned out the cracking noise was from a crack in the protective plastic over the actual glass – the glass was never in danger of giving way. But I can imagine how unsettling it would be to hear the cracking as you are standing so far above the ground. “Whatever you do, don’t look down.” I hear this phrase often enough in movies, and of course, as soon as those words are uttered, the

Lectionary Notes for Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 14, Ordinary 19)

Readings for 9th Sunday after Pentecost, 8/10/14: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28, Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b, Romans 10:5-15, Matthew 14:22-33 Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28: I have to say, I'm not surprised the brothers resented Joseph. Jacob clearly had favorites, even as he was his mother's favorite. Even in my own family, we tease and joke about all of us being my mother's favorite. But here the favoritism is real - how would you act knowing that your parent loved your sibling more than you? "here comes this dreamer" - what a nickname, eh? They mean it as criticism, but it is actually what makes and saves and guides Joseph, isn't it? What if we had and embraced more dreamers in our church? We get just bits of Joseph's whole story in the next two weeks, but it is a great story. If you've seen the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical,  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat , you've seen how fun it can be brought to life. Can you bring it to life somehow for y