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Showing posts from March, 2018

Meditation on Mark 14:27-31, 37-38, 66-72, for Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion (1 Yr lectionary), "Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh"

Out of the flood of images that pour out of the Passion reading, seize on the person of Peter for a moment. At the Last Supper, Jesus says “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Jesus is quoting from the prophet Zechariah, explaining how all His disciples would abandon Him in His hour of greatest need. But also, that Jesus would rise up from death, and rendezvous with them in Galilee (this of course they forgot until after the resurrection). But Peter is eager to proclaim his undying loyalty to Jesus: “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” Probably many of us at one time or another have imagined ourselves doing something heroic in the midst of danger. Or showing our loyalty to the extreme, or standing up bravely when others failed. But how will we be tested? And would we stand the test? Jesus soberly answered Peter’s boast: “Truly, I tell you, this very…

Sermon on Hebrews 9:11-15, for the 5th Sunday in Lent 2018 (1 Yr Lectionary), "The Blood of Jesus"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Our reading today from Hebrews gives us more than enough to chew on, that could keep us occupied for hours, with the many connecting lines between the Old Covenant and New Covenant in Jesus Christ. The Biblical concept of “covenant” is very important in Hebrews. A “covenant” is like a contract or binding agreement between two parties. So our reading is a contrast between the Old and New Covenants. What are those? The Old Covenant is what God made with Moses and Israel on Mt. Sinai. Including the 10 Commandments, but also the whole system of sacrifices and worship. This involved the blood of goats and calves, the ashes of the heifer, the high priest and the tent, all mentioned in the reading. These are all elements of the Old Covenant. God ransomed Israel from slavery in Egypt, and was in the process of establishing them as a new, free nation, set apart to serve and obey Him. And this w…

Sermon on John 6:1-15, for the 4th Sunday in Lent 2018 (1 YR), "God can work with that"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. It’s worth noting that the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded by all four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—outside of Jesus’ death and resurrection, which are the main focus of all four. In all four retellings of the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus turns to His disciples to provide for the food, and they are in disbelief. How can we possibly feed this multitude? Only John’s Gospel records Jesus’ specific question to Philip: “Where are we to buy bread that these people may eat?” and explains that Jesus was testing him, because He already knew what He was going to do. We don’t often appreciate being tested—especially if we’re caught by surprise. Pop quizzes are sure to make any student groan and panic. In work and personal relationships, if we find someone is testing us, we’re often suspicious of their hidden motives. In our faith life, we of…

Sermon on Ephesians 5:1-9, for the 3rd Sunday in Lent (1 Yr Lectionary), "Imitators of God"

Sermon Note Outline: ·Imitation—natural to those we admire; but also even unwittingly copy bad examples. Copy what we see and experience—not what we don’t know. (Good case for not knowing evil! And keeping the example of Christ ever before us!) ·Imitate? What is God like? Known in Christ. 1:3—every spiritual blessing, 1:5—adoption as sons through Christ, 1:7—redemption, forgiveness; 1:18—glorious inheritance. God is lavish in blessing us, profound in generosity and mercy. Can’t imitate what is uniquely God’s—salvation, source of every blessing, giver of eternal life. Never “match” His goodness, yet Jesus calls us “be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Will never exceed His example, but His grace, His love and Spirit poured into us is the resource to imitate—to begin to act like Him. Can forgive, walk in love, reflect God’s generosity, live out His compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, etc. ·And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragra…