Showing posts from September, 2016

Sermon on Luke 16:19-31, for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, "The one whom God helps"

·          Jesus the greatest teacher and master storyteller ·          Stories convey deep spiritual truth; designed to get our attention ·          Unique among His stories, character of Lazarus has a name; significant to meaning of the story: “The one whom God helps” ·          Looking at his life—the rich man feasts lavishly, and living in luxury, while poor Lazarus suffers quietly in misery, licked by dogs outside his gate, until he dies—you might think it a cruel joke that his name means “the one whom God helps.” Ironic? Doesn’t his suffering show evidence that God had abandoned him? ·          Natural way of thinking: life is prosperous and well; God must be showing favor—but if life is filled with suffering and evil things, that God must be showing secret displeasure or open punishment. Many of Jesus’ teachings explode that myth, but it’s a widely held idea. We think good times = everything is right between us and God, but bad times = God must have it out for us.

Sermon on Luke 16:1-16, for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, "Stewarding for our True Master"

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The parable of the dishonest manager is one that puzzles many, because the guy who gets fired is praised by his master after making one final dishonest move. If it throws us off that Jesus’ story praises a dishonest   man, a careful reading shows that it’s not actually his dishonesty but his shrewdness or skillfulness that is praised. The manager maneuvered the situation so as to both enhance the master’s generous reputation and “pad his landing” after he got fired, so he would be welcome in people’s homes. But even if the interpretation of this parable raises some difficult questions, ask this one: “What lesson are we to get out of it?” Jesus is pretty clear about the objectives and goals that He’s teaching, which we will unpack. But the overarching point is that we would serve One True Master, our Lord God, and that we demonstrate this service by faithfully stewarding what He has given to us. Managers or st

Sermon on Luke 15:1-10, for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, "God's Joy for Finding the Lost"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today our Gospel reading in Luke 15 contains some of the most beloved parables that Jesus taught. The parable of the lost sheep, of the lost coin, and of the lost son (or sons). Our reading is the first two, but as a set, they convey the love and heart of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus, to seek after the lost. They also speak of the joy God experiences when He finds the lost. Before we dive into the two parables, note a couple of things about the set of three as a whole. First, there is a progression in the joy. First there is joy in heaven. In the second parable there is joy before the angels of God . In the parable of the lost son, the joy is of the Father himself , and by extension, the joy of the whole household. Secondly, there is a progression in how much of what is lost. In the first, one of 100 sheep is lost. In the second, one of ten coins is lost. Finally, the last parable seems to be about one