Category Archive for: ‘sermons’

“Love Epidemic”– Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18, Matthew 5:38-48– Feb. 19, 2017

“Turn the other cheek.” “Walk the second mile.” “Love your enemies.” So many “quotes” here, as my brother-in-law refers to commonly heard sayings. And yet, like last week’s passage about not getting angry, never swearing, not even thinking unchaste thoughts, we keep these teachings at a distance. They stand out in front of us to judge us, because who of …

“Extreme Measures”– Deut.30: 15-20, Matthew 5: 21-37– Feb. 12, 2017

You may have heard the story from a Benedictine monastery whose primary rule was hospitality, to treat each guest as though they were Jesus. One day, a brother came to the abbot and confessed, “Father, some days, when I see yet another stranger walking up the path, I say, ‘Jesus Christ, is that you again?’” I have to say that …

“A City on a Hill”- Isaiah 58:1-12, Matthew 5:13-20– Feb. 5, 2017

In our on-going local and national debate about energy resources–from renewable and non-renewable sources–one source that rarely gets mentioned among us is donkey dung. Or camel dung. But in Jesus’ day, and in the Middle East and many third-world countries today, donkey dung is a primary source of heating fuel, much more available and affordable than wood. It was the …

“The Way Less Traveled”- Micah 6:6-8, Matthew 5:1-12– Jan. 29, 2017

The Beatitudes–these 12 verses at the beginning of Matthew 5–have been called by one commentator “Christianity for Dummies.” You may have heard of that series of books–the “Dummies” series–I got “Robert’s Rules for Dummies” when I was moderator of the Southwest Association, and there are an astonishing number of subjects the series deals with–”Facebook for Dummies,” “The Bible for Dummies,” …

“Many Paths to Follow”– Psalm 27:1, 4-9, Matthew 4:12-23 — Jan. 22, 2017

I’ve always found the story of Jesus’ calling his fishermen disciples a little “cult-ish.” You just heard it– As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea–for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you …

“What Time Is It?”- Isaiah 49:1-7, John 1:29-42 — jan. 15, 2017

Joyce Hollyday, writing in Sojourners magazine, tells the story of a boy named Free Spirit [who] was only 4 years old when he was wrenched away from his family and forced into a Canadian residential school. A nun gave him a new pair of shoes, which he plunged into a sink filled with water. He was shocked by the beating …

“Troubled Waters”- Isaiah 42:1-9, Matthew 3:13-17– Jan. 8, 2017

It is said that when the reformer Martin Luther was detained for months in Wartberg Castle, in particularly anxious moments he would remind himself, “I am baptized!” to battle back his despair. “I am baptized!” Just as Jesus himself was baptized, named and claimed by God as beloved and pleasing, so we too, when we take on his baptism, are …

“You may have heard…” Early Christmas Eve 2016

“You may have heard this story before. Maybe not. Maybe it has haunted you from the first time you put on a bathrobe and had a towel strapped around your head to be a shepherd in a pageant years ago. Or maybe it’s a new story for you–you may have heard about Jesus and Mary and Joseph somewhere, but who …

“Sign Posts”– Isaiah 35:1-10, Matthew 11:2-11– Dec. 11, 2016

A woman who was cleaning out boxes and closets found her diary from a year that had been particularly hard, full of depression, shame, anxiety, and confusion. As she flipped through the pages she found one on which she had written in big letters– “I WANT MY JOY BACK!” underline, underline, underline. (Elizabeth Gilbert, Facebook post) “I want my joy …

“Eating from the Jesse Tree”- Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 3:1-12– Dec. 4, 2016

If only the landscape weren’t so familiar–a clear-cut mountain side, a battlefield strewn with bodies and smoldering equipment, whole neighborhoods left in nothing but rubble. Or that all too familiar political landscape–never-ending bickering and name-calling, deadlocked legislative bodies, deals and lining pockets leaving the real issues of communities untouched. Or the devastation of interior landscapes–the house after she’s left, the …

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