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A Fantastic Truth not a Comfortable Notion
The salvation story we just encountered is implausible, weird, wonderful and stunning. Despite how Easter will be celebrated culturally tomorrow morning with Easter egg hunts and new spring outfits, tonight we encounter a fantastic truth that rattles us to the core with awe and joy.
God has Died
In my college dorm room I had some paper on the wall for people to write on. One day a clever friend of mine wrote, “Nietzsche is dead” (signed) God.
I had no idea who Nietzsche was. My friend told me that Nietzsche was the philosopher who had said, “God is dead.” Coming from...
Do you Believe in the Son of Man?
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” And of course, Jesus answers, “Neither…he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” Jesus wastes no time in disposing of the very ancient idea that illness, or any misfortune, is punishment for misdeeds, our own or our ancestors...
Just Give us the Water
Jesus is thirsty and tired. He sits down at the well to rest. He could have just gotten himself some water. Instead he enters into a long conversation with a Samaritan woman. Why not just get the water and move on? Why string out this encounter?
Likewise in the story from the Exodus: Why does God lead the people out of slavery only to...
You have to be Perfect to be Loved
Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18, 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23, Matthew 5:38-48
Over the past few weeks our Gospel readings have been taken from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is interpreting the Law given to Moses on another Mount. Today Jesus sums it up this way: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” For some of us this will be easy since we are...
Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ
“But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.’” Matthew 3:15.
We have a very short Gospel reading today, that even in its brevity includes themes that could take a long time to unpack. But I promise to be brief (since we have a long...
Numbers 6:22-27; Luke 2:15-21
Years ago I was haunted. I was serving in a parish where I discovered that a former rector had been dabbling in voodoo and exhibiting inappropriate behavior. Some kind of nastiness started following me around. I incensed the building and prayed. It followed me home. I hired a Spiritual Director to be told...
Isaiah 9:2-17; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-18
For the past several years my typical Christmas Eve sermon has been about putting religion back into this Holy Day that has become ambiguous winter Holiday. Typically I would point out how Santa and Rudolph have superseded the importance of Our Savior. I also enjoy pointing out that only two...
Dreams Come True
Isaiah 7:10-16; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25
The nativity stories have been so sentimentalized I wonder if we can still hear them? Even Crèches with Shepherds and Wise men have conflated the stories from Luke and Matthew into sort of a Fairy Tale for children.
Of the four Gospels only Matthew and Luke give...
What if it's All True?
Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12
What if this it’s all true? What if everything in human history has been leading up to this point? What if God really does have a plan and we are a vital part of it? What if the collect is true: God sent his messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our...