Lost & Found

A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

I am the younger of two brothers, and whenever a story begins, “There were two sons,” I know it’s going to be good. In the Bible especially, stories with two siblings typically involve an older, more dutiful one and a younger, more free-spirited one—think Mary and Martha or Jacob and Esau.

As his audience might expect, Jesus sticks to this trope.

“There was a man who had two sons,” he says. The younger one is eager to make it on his own and knows he can live large with his inheritance, so he asks his dad for that and goes on his way. Of course, this is probably devastating to his father, but he goes along with it knowing that he may never see his son again.

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Bushes Burning and Hearts on Fire

The Third Sunday in Lent

My parents exposed me to a whole lot of church as soon as I was born, and for eighteen years we were in those folding chairs, and later wooden pews, every single Sunday.

I was an acolyte (that’s right acolytes, this could be your future too). Continue reading “Bushes Burning and Hearts on Fire”

Wondrous Love

The Second Sunday in Lent

Not only is there no evidence of a snake infestation in Ireland during the fifth century, there is evidence that strongly affirms that there were absolutely no snakes at all for Patrick to drive out during the time he was helping to establish Christianity on the island.

Don’t worry, you can still eat your corned beef and cabbage.

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Who is Jesus?

The Last Sunday after the Epiphany

We do not have the privilege of the disciples, walking with Jesus, praying with Jesus, seeing him heal and teach. We are lucky if we manage to have one of those life-changing, neck hair-raising experiences of the Holy Spirit—and even luckier if we realize that one of those experiences has happened.

When Peter, James, and John climb up on a mountain to pray with Jesus, they do so after a weeks-long discipleship orientation. They were there when Jesus calmed the storm, fed the thousands, and healed the widow’s son at Nain; they were there when Jesus told parable after parable and when he preached a sermon on the plain.

In a quiet moment, Jesus asks his friends who the crowds say that he is. Some think John the Baptist, some Elijah, others think one of the prophets of old.

“But who do you say that I am,” Jesus presses further.

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Location, location, location

The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

Pick up the Bible in your pew. Open it up about three quarters of the way through. Find the Gospel According to Matthew and turn it to chapter five. If you hit Mark, Luke, or John, you’ve gone too far. Matthew’s fifth chapter, along with the sixth and seventh are what is known as the “Sermon on the Mount.”

In the Sermon on the Mount we find great Jesus hits like:

  • “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.”
  • “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’
  • “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

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THAT kind of repentance

The Third Sunday of Advent

Good morning St. Paul’s, and a joyful Gaudete Sunday to you all! This is one of two Sundays when wearing pink is liturgically appropriate, and for that we say, “Hallelujah!” We rejoice because after two weeks of Advent, a few weeks of cold weather, and a season of apocalyptic visions, we know that Christ is nigh.

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Showing Up

The Second Sunday of Advent

Over Thanksgiving I had the privilege of being with my family in Flagstaff, Arizona, where my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew live. We spent a few days in a warmer area of the state, where we found ourselves on a hike to and through a slot canyon—this is a canyon of red rock made by ancient streams of water. Think the Grand Canyon but skinny. It’s the kind of formation one does not find too easily (especially in New England), and when you see one, you cannot help but climb through it to explore.

As you may know by now, those in my bloodline seem to have a sort of fascination with rock formations—mountains, crags, and caves, we love them all. And after numerous car trips across this continent, I can tell you that I much prefer geologic diversity to the flat, endless plains of Iowa or Nebraska. That’s why I am a little put off by John the Baptizer in this morning’s lesson from Luke.

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