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Showing posts from March, 2019

Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent, "At the Table with Jesus: Table Talk," Luke 14:1, 7-24

Art by Ayseluna Hockenbary Sermon 3/17/19 Luke 14:1, 7-24 At the Table with Jesus: Table Talk We can sometimes get the impression that the lawyers and scribes and Pharisees, the interpreters of the law, the religious leaders and scholars of the day, were enemies of Jesus. Certainly, Jesus saves his most challenging words, his harshest criticisms for these religious elite. And some of them seem to be more actively plotting against Jesus. But Jesus, as we saw last week, also spends time in the home of Pharisees as their invited guest. He directs a lot of his teaching at them, and we might conclude that it is with hope that they will hear and act on his words that he spends a lot of time speaking to them about their behavior. Today he’s again at the home of a Pharisee, and Jesus is spending the sabbath there. Before the part of the text that is our focus for today, a man with edema appears at dinner, and Jesus heals the man, and then tries to engage his guests in conversa

Sermon, "At the Table with Jesus: At Simon's House," Luke 7:36-50

Artwork by Ayseluna Hockenbary Sermon 3/17/19 Luke 7:36-50 At the Table with Jesus: At Simon’s House At our Lenten Study this week, we spent some time thinking about whether or not we had ever been in debt, and had our debt forgiven, or whether or not we’d ever had someone in debt to us, and then forgiven their debt. We talked about parents and children - children are often in debt to their parents, aren’t they? Sometimes this happens in specific ways - a parent steps in to help with bills or help with a surprise expense. But often, parents give a little here, a little there in so many uncounted ways. Thankfully, most parents aren’t keeping track - they are constantly forgiving these debts, constantly making what would be debts into gifts instead. They act out of love, not counting what is owed. I shared with the group that that is not always the case - as I was sorting through my late Aunt Joyce’s papers, I came across a legal contract between her and her parents. She bo

Sermon, "At the Table with Jesus: Levi and the Tax Collectors," Luke 5:27-39

Sermon 3/6/19 Luke 5:27-39 At the Table with Jesus: Levi and the Tax Collectors (artwork by Ayseluna Hockenbary) There’s a genre of movies that are all about life in high school, and although the plotlines might differ, there are often some common elements. One of them: cafeteria scenes, with an emphasis on the angst of who sits where. In many of the movies, great pains are taken to show that students sit with other students who are like them, usually grouped by some broad stereotypes, and that there’s not much social mobility - no moving between tables - until, of course, the hero or heroine of the movie somehow shakes things up. So “nerdy” types sit with each other, and the popular kids, football players and cheerleaders, all sit together, and the band kids sit at another table, and so on. I don’t know what your high school experience was like, but even though the movie-versions of the cafeteria take things to extremes, it wasn’t that far off. I certainly remember that

Sermon for Transfiguration Sunday, Year C, "Transfiguration," Luke 9:28-36

Sermon 3/3/19 Luke 9:28-36 Transfiguration It isn’t often that The United Methodist Church makes front page news in the national mainstream media. But this week, almost every major news organization was running stories about The United Methodist Church in the aftermath of the Special Session of General Conference. From the New York Times: United Methodists Tighten Ban on Same-Sex Marriage and Gay Clergy - NYTimes, ‘We Are Not Going Anywhere’: Progressive Methodists Vow to Fight Ban on Gay Clergy, and Why a Vote on Gay Clergy and Same-Sex Marriage Could Split the United Methodist Church. From the Washington Post: United Methodist Church tightens ban on gay marriage, LGBTQ clergy. From NPR: United Methodists Face Fractured Future. We’re in the news, but I don’t think the headlines are the kind we want. I don’t think, certainly, that folks thinking about exploring their faith, trying out a relationship with a church, are going to be particularly drawn to The United Methodist Chu