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August 20, 2017

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This week we continue our Pentecost tour through Genesis, Romans, and the parables and stories of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. We have two unsettling encounters: the meeting of Joseph and his brothers, and the meeting of Jesus and the Canaanite woman.

The Genesis stories of our founding fathers and mothers are often perplexing. In the last weeks, we have heard Jacob steal his...

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August 13, 2017

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Sometimes today’s gospel lesson is interpreted along the lines of the title of a book by John Ortberg, “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get out of the Boat.” The interpretation goes like this: Peter had the right idea when he got out of the boat, quite literally stepping out in faith. Peter, like all of us, is invited to step out into the storms of life where Jesus calls us to...

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August 6, 2017

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We should be observing the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost today, but this year, there is a break in the pattern. Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, which always falls on August 6th, and this Feast outranks Pentecost 9. In fact, there are only a handful of feast days so important that they take precedence over a Sunday, and all of them are feasts related to Jesus himself. Today we...

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August 30, 2015

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It is, in the end, the return of the spirit to the place where love of God is born, not where it is mastered, that right relationship with God and one another will be found. Remember that life is short. We do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. Simply, very simply: let us be swift to love, and make haste to be kind. And the blessing of God will be...

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Total votes: 1
April 2, 2017

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These long readings from John’s Gospel during Lent have a depth and a power to them that can reach to the very core of our lives. Today we hear about death and new life, about the end of some things, and, perhaps, the beginning of others. Death is always a topic close to home, one that seems to get closer every year. On the eve of Palm Sunday and Holy Week, it’s particularly immediate.

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Tags: Lent Year A
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July 30, 2017

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It’s rather good for those who preach and those who hear preachers to step back and remember how Jesus communicated with his disciples and the crowds that followed him. Today’s appointed Gospel text gives us a wonderful example. As we hear Jesus talking about planting seeds, baking bread, and fishing, we are on familiar ground. Very often, thousands of years seem to get in the way and obscure...

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July 23, 2017

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Today’s readings offer us a wonderful opportunity to focus on stories. The stories we tell both illuminate and teach the virtues that our communities respect. Stories transmit culture, values, and ethics. Stories often include images and actions that raise questions and confirm values. In our church communities, we tell concrete stories that illustrate our beliefs, rather than using abstract...

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Total votes: 1
July 16, 2017

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Jesus has such a heart for his church.  In this parable and its explanation, he’s not only addressing his first disciples but, as with all scripture, he’s addressing us too.  This parable could be a way to get us to do a little soil sampling of our hearts, a little analysis to see what kind of ground we are for seed-reception. This parable could be an invitation to ask ourselves, how can we...

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July 9, 2017

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There is some debate about whether or not people can change. The spiritual and psychological sages throughout the millennia basically agree that people can learn better ways to cope with who and how they are, but people don’t change all that much. Transformation can occur, though that’s for later in this sermon. But changing is hard, maybe even impossible, and changing another person, well,...

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Total votes: 2
July 2, 2017

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“Jesus said, ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’”

Just so we get this straight: whoever welcomes you welcomes Jesus, and whoever welcomes your friend or neighbor or family member or work colleague or elected official or mother-in-law or next door neighbor or chatty seat companion on an airplane or vendor at the state fair or grocery...

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June 25, 2017

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In today’s gospel, Jesus instructs his apostles about the cost of discipleship. Christianity just is not an easy life, he seems to say. In fact, you may be handed over to councils who will flog you, dragged before governors and kings, betrayed by your family, and hated by all because of the very name of Jesus.

Who wants that, we wonder? Seriously, what kind of Sunday message is it to...

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June 18, 2017

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Where do you go to encounter God? Do you have a favorite place for divine inspiration? Some of you will instinctually think of going to church. Another way to phrase the question is, “Where do you go when you really need to think and make a decision?” Perhaps some of you embrace nature by going to the park. Others prefer being by a body of water such as a pond, lake, river, or ocean.

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