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Tag Archives: Sermon

History Repeats!

As I shared last week, we have a re-occuring sacred history as we understand it:

God makes a covenant, a promise, an agreement with God’s people.

We, the people, break the covenant.

God gets angry and punishes the people.

We, the people, repent and return to God.

God welcomes us home and creates another covenant with us.

Repeat.

 

God, through the incarnation, slipped into our human skin and broke this pattern (as we know it).

 

Our Gospel text this morning, it begins with Jesus addressing a question that has plagued all of our human history; it is the question about the cause and purpose of suffering.   Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2016 in Sermons

 

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The Journey Continues

Jesus’ journey continues!

 

Jesus is on a literal journey to Jerusalem, where he will be executed on the cross.

 

The Pharisees that are often depicted in conflict with Jesus the Christ actively warn him not to continue his journey to Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, has a harsh yet deserved reputation of rejection, violence, and the murder of prophets.

 

Jesus opposes their warning. He knows that the journey, his work, must continue. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2016 in Sermons

 

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Expectations Meeting the Counter-Cultural Jesus

I made a mistake last Sunday. I mentioned that the disciples had been arguing about who was the favorite and asking Christ to favor them, but last week the disciples seemed to “get it”. Well, I thought we had already had this text. The asking Christ to place them in positions of favor is our text today. But, that is ok. It reminds us that discipleship is not always a linear progression or growth… sometimes we take a few steps back.

We are in the year of (the gospel of) Mark. Mark is the “simple” gospel, there is not much added detail. In (the gospels of) Matthew and Luke, the added details theologize, or add a theological significance to, the narrative. But, Mark is extremely intentional in structure and loves to “sandwich” narratives in order to pound the desired message into our heads. We are in such a sandwich.   Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2015 in Sermons

 

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Boundaries Destroyed by Divine Love

We are continually surrounded by the news and the media of our world and our country in violent unrest.

I am not a political person, especially as a pastor and a preacher. However, my heart breaks at the violence that we are bearing witness. My heart breaks with the polarization of our world and our country, whether it is between:

Democrats and Republicans, or

liberal Christianity and conservative Christianity, or

Christians and non-Christians and the Spiritual but not Religious, or

ethnic and racial heritages, or

gender identities and sexual preferences.

It breaks my heart that as a society we have sought to label and to box people in for the purpose of division rather than seeking understanding and unity.   Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Sermons

 

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Good Friday: A Few of Jesus’ Words on the Cross

Our congregation participated in a joint Good Friday service. We, the clergy, shared the responsibility of brief meditations on the last 7 “words” of Jesus. I was responsible for the 1st, 4th, and final “word”

The First Word: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” – Luke 23: 34a 

As I pondered these words from Jesus, a much less pious Country Song begun to play in the back of my mind. The song is “Pray for You” by Jaron and the Long Road to Love. The lyrics begin:  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Sermons

 

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The Invitation: Pondering Mark’s Resurrection Account

Our narrative (Mark 16: 1 – 8) this morning is built upon and continues from that of last Sunday.

On Palm/Passion Sunday, we recalled the final week of Jesus’ life from his triumphant entry into Jerusalem to his arrest, passion, crucifixion, death, and him placed within the tomb. Yet, this morning we joyfully proclaim another mystery of faith: the resurrection, for “He is Risen! (He has Risen Indeed!)”

The resurrection account in Mark, however, is often misunderstood as lacking. Let’s review Mark’s account:

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Sermons

 

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Passion Sunday: Why did Jesus “Have” to Die?

This morning mirrors the over-whelming emotional & liturgical roller-coaster awaiting us, which cannot be fully embraced or experienced in one worship service.

This morning we experience the best of humanity, processing in worship with palm branches remembering the triumphant shouts of joy welcoming our Messiah-King into the holy city of Jerusalem. Yet, we also experience the worst of humanity bearing witness to that same Messiah-King crucified and placed within a tomb.

These ‘high’ Sundays in the liturgical/church year often bear witness to those seeking answers to the difficult questions of faith. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in Sermons

 

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Lent: A Pious Christian Display?

(This is what I plan to preach tonight, 18 Feb. 2015; but I don’t use a manuscript.)

I have spent the last week or so, setting up and organizing my scrapbook or craft room. The concept is that the room itself would be decorated with mementos from High School, College, my travels, and general adventures that are unable to fit within the pages of an actual scrapbook. As I finished this task the other day, I pondered how much the room seemed to be an “I Love Myself” room.

Let me explain. Most people, especially in high school, have a section of their bedroom or an entire wall dedicated to certificates, awards, and various achievements earned. In my family, this is called the “I Love Myself” wall… and now, I seem to have a whole room.

This caused me to ponder Ash Wednesday and Lent in general.

Last year, Ash Wednesday “trended” on social media. People (and congregations) encouraged others to attend worship with the clever catch-phrase “Get your Ash in Church”. And after getting the ashes, people were encouraged to take a selfie and share with the clever #AshTag. This year it has expanded with Christian companies offering individuals a chance at free items, if they do so and include the company’s hashtag as well.

Have we turned Lent, and especially Ash Wednesday, not into a “I Love Myself” wall but into a “Pious Christian” display? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Sermons

 

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“Foolishly” Throwing the Seeds: the Parable of the Sower

Text: Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23

We are shifting our focus to Jesus’ teaching moments. He seemed to enjoy teaching in parables. As I pondered on the gospel this week, I realized that I have never preached on a parable. Also, I am always learning new things about myself, for example I am not a fan of preaching on the parables.

Let me clarify. It is not the parable, but the parable is ALWAYS paired with an explanation. This explanation can, and often does, feel restrictive for the potential messages to be preached. As a preacher, I have been called to interpret the texts, to breath new life into them, and to share that with all of you. These parable interpretations, however, seem to offer the end product of that process on a silver platter. So, I must tackle the challenge and offer new life into our text. Although I do not make promises, I will try to do just that.

This morning we have the “Parable of the Sower”. This farmer, or sower, is foolishly throwing the seed without caution to where they may fall. Some of these seeds fall in good, prepared soil. Some seeds fall upon a path where the birds eat them. Some seeds fall on rocky ground and was unable to root, so unfavorable weather killed them. Some seeds fall among other plants, which choke them.

I am a farmer’s daughter, although due to unfortunate circumstances my parents lost the farm before I was born. I was, however, raised with the mind-set and agricultural appreciation of a “farmer’s daughter”. I must confess though, I am glad that the family focused more on hogs than corn. My mother and I have black thumbs. My sister, who has degrees in Agribusiness, says if it doesn’t make noise she forgets to water (or feed) it.

But, even I know that a seed requires good soil, good weather, and water to grow. You don’t throw the seed out onto unprepared ground and expect it to grow, right?

We often focus our attention on the soil. This focus on the soil is restrictive. It is not only restrictive, but also self-centered and sinful. Yes, sinful. Martin Luther defined sin as being curved in on the self, or self-centeredness. We have made this parable become about us and our readiness or preparation to receive the seed of God’s word, which is grace. It also becomes about the readiness of others to receive the seed of God’s word (grace).   Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Sermons

 

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The Shared Burden of Discipleship

Text: Matthew 11: 16-19, 25-30

A final recap of this discipleship “mini-series”:
Discipleship is our participation in the Triune God’s dance.
Discipleship has the unpleasant reality of risks, including opposition, isolation, and conflict.
Discipleship demands that we feed, tend, and love the entire creation, including all people.

This picture of discipleship is not glamorous and has not been shown in the best light. However, I want each of us to pause and take a deep breath. I want you to breath in the gospel and hear Christ’s words again:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2014 in Sermons

 

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