It’s a Saturday in the middle of winter, and the heating system in your church breaks down. It’s cold outside, and somehow seems even colder inside. The air stings, and the pews are frigid. You can’t imagine having sweet little old ladies sitting on them tomorrow, but you don’t want to cancel church again. It’s been a snowy winter. The HVAC company van rolls into the church driveway, and the technician gets out with a clipboard […]
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; […]
No, if we know anything these days, it’s that we know so very little. Our confidence can wither in moments, and everything that we once thought was “up” will be found to be “upside down.” For the pundits and the pollsters try and lull us to sleep with their braggadocio. They hypnotize us with their numbers, and plans, and historical perspectives. They have their canon laws, their proof texts, and their little prayers that we […]
A reflection on Matthew 22:34-46, the Gospel lesson for Proper 25a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary. Ilike digging into scripture to find the subtexts, the links to other texts and stories in another section of the Bible, and the cultural references that might not be readily grasped today. I love that so much, that when I’m preaching I too often spend the bulk of my time on that, and relegate the “so here’s what […]
A reflection on Exodus 33:12-23, the Hebrew Bible lesson for Proper 24a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary. God takes Moses, and he puts him in a little crack in a rock atop a mountain. God was going to pass by Moses, and God wanted to let Moses catch a glimpse of Him. So God passed by – but Moses wasn’t allowed to look yet. He wasn’t able to look until God had already passed. […]
This Sunday (Proper 22a) we have the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Sabbath these days…particularly in the sense that as a culture we don’t get any…. and I’m going to be preaching on that this Sunday. Walter Brueggeman’s recent book “Sabbath as Resistance” is amazing, and I recommend it highly. A hi-def version of the infographic below can be downloaded in PDF form here.
A reflection on Philippians 2:1-13, the epistle lesson for Proper 21a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary, which examines Paul's mystical theology of God being within us.
A reflection on Matthew 20:1-16, the gospel lesson for Proper 20a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary. This parable sounds “unfair” to our ears, every bit as much as it sounded unfair to those who heard Jesus say these words 2,000 years ago. But, they are only unfair if you’re looking out for yourself first. I mean, what if, just for a moment, your main concern was for someone else to get ahead. I mean […]
A reflection on Matthew 18: 21-35, the gospel lesson for Proper 19a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary. Oh, how I love this parable. If ever there were someone who got what they deserved, it’s this weasel! He owed a debt of 10,000 talents. A talent was equivalent to a year’s wage. In 2013 in America, the median yearly income was a little over $51,000. So, in 2013, 10,000 talents would be worth a little […]
A short reflection on Matthew 18:15-20, the gospel lesson for Proper 18a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary. No matter how holy the person, or how pure their intentions, eventually they are going to hurt someone else. It’s inevitable. When we are hurt, there are the two great temptations: 1) to strike back with vengeance and spite, and 2) to put on a fake smile and pretend that everything is just fine. Some people are […]