Sermon for Reformation Sunday, October, 29, 2017 - The 500th Anniversary (John 8:31-36)
Jesus is the contract God has with you, written in blood. Jesus is the covenant, unbreakable between the Lord and you. He is the deed you have to the promised land of God’s grace, and the seat of mercy God has given to you as security to tell you, here and now, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to your sins, your account, your goodness or wickedness. The bill has been paid, the checkbook balanced, the debt squared. Only what is left is this work of the Lord within you, day after day after day, to scream in your ears – YOU ARE FREE!
Sermon for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost - Matthew 22:15-22
Jesus doesn’t have a need to be Caesar. He isn’t living and dying to be an emperor, he’s not running for political office, he doesn’t have the best public relations team. He’s not tweeting at 3 o’clock in the morning about Puerto Rico, dead soldiers, or Russia. Nor is he hoping to rile you up by what those rich people over there are doing, what the racists over here are doing, or what we are told is the truth. Getting soundbites in the news to wrangle you. To harm you. What Jesus does do, though, is upset our moments. He sees through our own hypocrisy to get to the root cause of our fear, our failure. He hijacks the moments we try to make him our Messiah in the way we want him to be, rather than the Redeemer that God has given to us in him.
Sermon for Matthew 22:1-14 - The Parable of the Wedding Feast
Jesus is what you get the person who has everything. He is the gift given to the one who thinks anything has a price. Anything can be bought. If not, then it’s too good to be true, or not worth my time. Invited to a feast to beat all feasts, to a place of fatted beef and fine wines, Jesus is the one whom the feast is meant to celebrate. An invitation is given broadly, throughout the highways and byways, as a stronghold and refuge for the greatest of sinners. A day of celebration, because that is what the Father wants to do. He’s a party animal at heart.
Sermon for the 18th Sunday after the feast of Pentecost - Matthew 21:33-46
Jesus loves vineyards. We’ve heard it three Sundays in a row. The parable of the workers in the vineyard, and some work many hours and others one. All paid the same in that vineyard. Last week we had the 2 children and the vineyard. Go and work, the father says. One says no but goes, the other yes but stays. A question of repentance and turning to the Father and hearing the word and call of faith that is the vineyard. Here we have a vineyard, built, established, lent to tenants. A lord of that vineyard seeks fruit. It ends badly. Dead messengers. Dead son. Dead tenants. Yet, Jesus loves vineyards. Loves grapes. Loves wine. I wonder if it has something to do with a cup, a new testament, blood for the forgiveness of sins. Poured out for you. More on that later.
Sermon on 17th Sunday after Pentecost - Mathew 21:23-32
Jesus is done with the blame game. He is done with us finding excuses for our own denial of what it is God has done for us, what God does for us daily. He is done with the desires of human hearts to look for every possible explanation for evil and ugliness in the world besides sin itself. He is done with the thinking that one’s circumstances are the fault of culture, skin-tone, ancestral morality, or religiosity, rather than trusting in someone or something other than God. He is done with our attempts to justify ourselves and to prop ourselves up as authorities on the goodness of one or another.