Showing posts from August, 2015

Sermon on Mark 7:14-23, for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, "What's in your heart?"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Some of us are the types who dread an unexpected visit to our homes, where someone drops in unexpectedly, and discovers the mess or the chaos you live in. For some, that’s an embarrassment we’d do everything to avoid. Others just don’t mind whether their home is cleaner or messier, and if anyone sees it. What do we do when Jesus pays an unexpected visit to our hearts? When He opens up all the closets and checks out the garage and our storage areas, and sees what we’ve been keeping in our hearts? What do we think or feel when Jesus lays our hearts bare, with everything to see in His plain sight? Vulnerable? Exposed? Ashamed? Or defensive? Defiant? Or we act as if we simply don’t care? Think of another context—in relationships. Whether it’s a very close friendship, or in your marriage, between you and your spouse. In the best of marriages, a husband and wife can have true transp

Sermon on Mark 7:1-13, for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, "Lip Service"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Today in our Gospel, in a dispute about handwashing, Jesus takes an unlikely position. He defends His disciples who had not washed their hands before eating. Neither Jesus nor the Pharisees were arguing about good hygiene—but the discussion was about ritual purity or cleanness instead. A question of religious observances. The Pharisees and scribes paid passionate attention to detail, and strictly obeyed the traditions passed down by the elders. Among their many traditions were a long list of ritual washings. This included special washings of hands, utensils, cookware, and dining couches.   Seeing Jesus’ disciples eating with unclean hands, they cried foul, because obviously Jesus hadn’t taught the their religious practices well. Jesus replies and shows that the heart of their whole “worship” was wrong. In fact, He shows that their heart wasn’t in it at all. They were more concerned ab

Sermon on John 6:51-69, for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost, "Eat My Flesh"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Today we come to the 3 rd and last part of Jesus’ Bread of Life sermon, that began with a challenge from Jesus to stop working for the bread that perishes—i.e. our everyday food, but to seek the food that endures to eternal life. He is that Bread of Life, He says, and eating Him do not leave us hungry and thirsty, but we find full satisfaction and eternal life in Him. Last week He pushed the point further, to unsettle or disturb the crowds who did not grasp His meaning. He drives them to see that He is the Bread of Life come down from heaven. He is from God. The bread that He gives for the life of the world is His flesh. We, on the other hand, find these words deeply marvelous, that God has come down from heaven in Jesus to feed us, to save us, and give us eternal life. Jesus was clearly driving the crowds to crave more than just physical bread, that would leave them empty the n