September 30, 2018

First Reading: Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29

Psalm: Psalm 19:7-14

Second Reading: James 5:13-20

Gospel: Mark 9:38-50

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, * O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.” Ps 19:14

In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

         Today, the scriptures speak directly to St. Paul’s. Of course, the living Word is written for and to each of us, individually and collectively. But today, the scriptures speak of how communities participate in kingdom living. When we read about communities wandering in the wilderness, negotiating how to be church, or gathering around Jesus, we should see ourselves.

            A rabble of Israelites are complaining to Moses, again. The rabble are not bad people. The word translated rabble literally means a collection. This is simply a mixed group of people who are craving certain foods. The rabble complains to Moses they have no meat. But their collecti...

September 23, 2018

First Reading: Jeremiah 11:18-20

Psalm: Psalm 54

Second Reading: James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a

Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

“Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.”

In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Amen.

            Have you ever been in a class or a lecture, and the teacher says, "Any questions?" Often when the professor asks, "Any questions?" there is deafening silence. Of course, that does not mean there are not questions. Many times the lack of questions is due to fear. We are afraid we are supposed to know ... everyone else probably knows ... if I ask I will look stupid ... maybe the teacher or my peers will make fun of me. The cost of this fear, the willingness to be vulnerable, is understanding. If we don't ask the question, how will we gain new knowledge? What if others have the same question? What if no one else has ever asked our question, and we remain silent? Revelation may be lost for all.

            A small boy sat with...

September 16, 2018

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm: Psalm 116:1-8

Second Reading: James 3:1-12

Gospel: Mark 8:27-38

“I love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.”

In the Name of God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

            Good communication is challenging. I often wonder how preachers, including myself, have the audacity to think we can add anything to God’s Word. At best, a sermon can help open hearts and minds to the revelation of God through scripture. At worst, a sermon can create confusion, offer poor metaphors and interpretations, or even cloud our reconciliation to God and others. A sermon won’t answer all our problems, but will hopefully send us out into the world seeking God’s presence, eager for understanding, and faithfully wrestling with the questions.

            The problem with sermons, though, is that they usually involve words. Words are powerfu...

September 2, 2018

First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9

Psalm: Psalm 15

Second Reading:  James 1:17-27

Gospel: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

"Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law ... Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart."

In the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

            Let’s hear it for the Pharisees! Three cheers for the Pharisees! Who here is on Team Pharisee? We do not often side with the Pharisees. After all, we are on Team Jesus, and the Pharisees seem to do nothing but oppose Jesus. But perhaps we should look into the motivations for their actions. Surely, many of their objections to the teachings of Jesus are to preserve their position and their power. They also want to preserve “the way we have always done it.” Sound familiar? In the best light, the Scribes and Pharisees see themselves as keepers and protectors of the Law handed down to Moses. These are more...

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