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Showing posts from 2022

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, "The Hard Way," 2 Kings 5:1-14 (Proper 9C, Ordinary 14C)

Sermon 7/3/22 2 Kings 5:1-14 The Hard Way I’ve been thinking about the way we talk about whether the situations we experience in life are hard or easy and what kind of value we place on those words. For example, sometimes we talk with disdain about someone trying to “take the easy way out.” Or we might say, “Oh, that person had it so easy.” Right now, for example, I’m preparing for some exams in my schoolwork, and I feel like it has been a lot of work. But there are some students (including my roommate)  in a different area of my program,  - the people who are in Biblical Studies - and their exam structure is much different than my area’s exams. And I will admit I’ve said something along the lines of “you have it so easy” to my roommate. On the other hand, we might say, “hey, take it easy!” if someone is getting too angry about something, or giving someone else a hard time. We might say, “go easy on them!” if we fear someone will give another person too severe of a reprimand or punishm

Sermon for the Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, "Set," Luke 9:51-62 (Proper 8C, Ordinary 13C)

Sermon 6/26/22 Luke 9:51-62 Set I have to confess that my working title for this sermon was “Oof.” “Oof,” because that’s what I thought when I read this text from Luke’s gospel. Oof - Jesus has some hard words for us. Not hard to understand, exactly, although I never want to assume I know exactly what Jesus means. But hard as in demanding, full of expectation. Jesus lays out some challenges for “would-be disciples,” - that’s what my bible titles this section of scripture - and he doesn’t really mince words here. In our closing verse, Jesus says, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Oof. Am I fit for God’s reign? I’m not sure. Oof - my first response. Eventually, I had some more to say and to think about, but if your first response to hearing Jesus’ words today is “Oof” or something similar - I’m with you! The start of our text today, the first line, actually represents a shift in the whole of the gospel of Luke. “When the days drew near for

Sermon, "Don't Boast!," Romans 5:1-5 (Trinity Sunday, Year C)

  Sermon 6/12/22 Romans 5:1-5 Don’t Boast! What kind of pet peeves do you have? When you think about the little mannerisms and characteristics that really irk you , what comes to mind? For me: it’s boasting. When people want to tell me how awesome they are at something, when they just can’t help but toot their own horn, it really irritates me. I’m not quite sure why it bothers me so much. I guess if I traced it back it was probably something my mom instilled in me when I was little - teaching me good manners, and teaching me to be kind and thoughtful and to not boast about anything that I thought I was good at, not boast about any advantage I thought I had over others. And apparently it stuck. Boasting - I really dislike it.  In these internet days, there is even a special category of boasting - which, to be clear, I also dislike - called the “humble brag.” The humble brag” is when you “try to get away with bragging about yourself by couching it in a [false] show of humility.” (1) So y

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, Year C, "True Love," 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

  Sermon 1/25/22 1 Corinthians 13 True Love “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” Even people who aren’t very familiar with the Bible often know this passage of scripture – 1 Corinthians 13 – the “love” chapter – even if they can’t identify exactly where in the Bible it’s from. You’ve probably heard this passage of scripture read at many, many weddings. I would guess, that out of all of the weddings I’ve officiated in my years of pastoral ministry, probably close to fifty percent of the ceremonies included this passage as the couples’ scripture of choice, and I will admit, sometimes, on realizing I would have to give another reflection on 1 Corinthians 13 at a wedding, I felt a little less than 100% enthusias

Sermon for Baptism of the Lord Sunday (Year A/Year W), "Much Obliged," Matthew 3:1-6, 11-17

Sermon 1/9/22 Matthew 3:1-6, 11-17 Much Obliged “Much obliged.” Do you use that phrase? “Much obliged.” It isn’t a common response for me personally, but it is a way we might say thank you, although it might sound a little old-fashioned or formal to our ears. It used to be a more common way of saying thank you. What does it mean exactly? “Much obliged” is a kind of shortening of a fuller sentiment: “I’m much obliged to you for what you did for me.” And to spell it out even more clearly, to be obliged is to be in someone’s debt - to be obligated to another person. To be obligated (according to Google) is to be bound to someone, legally or morally. If we’re obligated to someone, it can be with thanks and gratitude and appreciation because of what someone’s done for us, or it can be a weight, a burden, something that makes us feel trapped, what we owe to someone. If we think about our obligations, there are probably some that make us feel thankful and stir our sense of commitment, and