Sermon for the 4th Sunday in Lent - John 6:1-15
The work of Christ in you is one to release you from everything that binds you. All the things that hold you prisoner. For Isaiah this is a picture of those who have so much, and spend all their life on that which wastes away. “Come everyone who is thirsty, come to the water, come buy and eat without cost. Why do you spend silver on that which is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy?” How much of our lives are filled with things that feed us for a moment? Even life itself. You woke up hungry this morning, more than likely. Isaiah here paving the way for you to be fed by that which is more than this life itself. Something more than bread or water or wine or milk.
Sermon for the third Sunday of Lent - Luke 11:14-28
To most of us demons and devils are excuses or punchlines. “Could it be Satan?!” and “The devil made me do it.” We, in our science and study, no longer link demonic possession with sickness. No longer link demons with evil. The worst we get is at Halloween with our scary movies. Maybe. We have even turned the devil into a costume in order to add humor which adds to the absurdity, right? Red tights. Pitchfork. Goatee. Horns. Unfortunately, then, we spend the rest of our lives trying to explain away evil. To try and explain away the murder of a child by thinking there had to be mental illness or something. But we never get an answer that satisfies. Or what is the response we hear from so many when someone you know commits some violent atrocity? We just had one here a month ago, and most of us have forgotten already. What do we usually say? “I never would have thought he was capable of this.” “He was such a nice boy.” “I never saw that coming.” We wonder, “Why?” Because we can’t imagine that there could be evil that can come upon us. Demons. Devils. That there could be this unexplainable, unscientific, other-worldly struggle between God and Satan, between good and bad.
Sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Lent - Matthew 15:21-28
I want to talk to you about dogs. Two dogs. Two kinds. I’m a cat person so I will try to be impartial. One dog is the Jewish-Canaanite view of dogs. Scavengers. Eaters of the dead. Bringers of disease. Unclean. Equal to dung. Getting only the leftovers or scraps. The trash of what the people will not eat.
The other dog, the dog depicted by this Greek word in our text, is like my sister’s dogs. Treated better than most anyone else. High quality food. Given laps to sleep on. Coddled and loved. Fed from the table. Protected from all harm. A pet that my sister would give her life for.
Two dogs. One is that Palestinian understanding, the other the meaning of the Greek. Two understandings which are vital this morning because we read here of what many say is Jesus the racist. Jesus the bigot. More on that in a second.
Sermon for the First Sunday of Lent - Matthew 4:1-11
I want you to go back in time with me for a minute. Remembering what it was like when you were a young parent, if you were. Maybe when you had little cousins or nieces or nephews. Toddlers or younger. Now, think of your life then as a parent or a babysitter. How would it go if you left them unattended in a room with cords plugged into the wall, or a fire going in the fireplace? More than likely the cords would be tugged on, knocking over a lamp and shattering it. Or the child could be mesmerized by the fire and shove their hand in it. Basically, most of us have been there before though, right? Left the room for a minute and we come back to find World War III. The cat suffocating under a pillow, the phone has dialed 911 just on its own, and grandma’s ashes thrown around the room like the dust of a thousand winters. “Honey, I only left the room for a minute.” Left to our own devices, that is us, just on a different scale. We might be adults, but sin, temptation, are real. We are that baby in the living room with nothing better to do then put our finger in the light socket.
Sermon for Ash Wednesday - Matthew 6:16-21
Ash Wednesday is this weird day. It is a holiday, by which I mean “holy-day”, which is what the word comes from. Days designated by the church with sacred significance. Somewhere along the line these days got coopted for representation as vacation or trips. “Going on holiday” as our cousins across the pond say. But Ash Wednesday is a holy day, a holiday dedicated to something rather morbid. Something we don’t want to think about. Nothing too horrible though. Just the realization that you will die. That’s fun, right? A day the church has, in order to remind us that one day, whether sooner or later, you will die. You will fall asleep in Jesus and await the resurrection from the dead. Await the heavenly alarm clock as it blares in your ears. Being reminded of this is not the first thing to come to mind when you think of a holiday, but so it is for you tonight.
Sermon for Quinquagesima Sunday - Luke 18:31-43
Humanity is not, by nature, merciful. Love we can handle, but not mercy. Love gives us the warm fuzzies. Love we can attach all sorts of emotions to. Love being something also, though, that ebbs and flows. Finicky. Fickle. Falling in and out of love. This wave that comes over us of feelings of euphoria. Or love of things. Food. TV shows. I used to love to watch the original Incredible Hulk as a kid. Starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. Loved it. My dad would watch it with me. I didn’t learn until about 5 years ago that he hated it. The actual show, not watching it with me. I watched it once on my own as an adult. I understood why he hated it. Not my favorite anymore. Things we love as a kid, toys, foods, places, people, things. We loved them, but now we’re educated, or more mature. Enlightened. Cultured. Adults. Some of us anyways. Emotions cast aside for these particular things. New things have come along. New people. New stuff. Love them now. Not so much love for those things of yesteryear.