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Showing posts from April, 2018

Starring The Good Shepherd and Me (Sermon)

John 10:11-18; 1 John 3:16- 24
I like to read. While I love books- the real physical nature of books, I actually love the act of reading more than the thing to be read. I do realize that and I do appreciate that not everyone likes to read. Some people prefer movies or audio books or graphic novels or magazines. (I am a terrible magazine reader, same for short stories.)
The elements that make these things good or enjoyable or engaging are the same across the genres. Even in non-fiction (book or movie), engaging characters, good storytelling, and captivating stakes are necessary. Books about salt, documentaries about wheat, comics about the Holocaust, and movies about fly-fishing have all been blockbusters in their area.
Character and plot are like the chicken and the egg. I heard someone say plot is character in action. This means that interesting people doing something un-engaging isn’t any better than nondescript characters doing something thrilling. Whether a story is told in a book…

Atonement (Easter Sermon)

Mark 16:1-18; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
We don’t often talk about the order of the books of the Bible. You and I both know that it didn’t fall from the sky, bound in leather, and written in King James English, with the words of Jesus in red. While I love to talk about the whole story of the compilation of the written word, today I’d like to zero in on the two accounts of the resurrection that we heard.
As they say, timing is everything. 1 Corinthians, a letter from Paul to the followers of Jesus in Corinth, is older than the written gospel account according to Mark. Almost all, if not all, of Paul’s remaining seven letters were written before the written gospel accounts were widely circulated. Mark is the oldest of the four gospels that were retained in the written canon or generally accepted books of the written scripture. All that is to say that when we look at today’s readings, what Paul has to say was the generally accepted story about the resurrection in his neck of the woods, ten to…

Transfigured Alleluias (Easter 2018)

Mark 16:1-8
The butterflies above us are more than just paper shapes. Seven weeks ago, on Transfiguration Sunday, we waved strips of paper that said “Alleluia” and “Hallelujah”. As we heard the story of Elijah and Moses appearing to Jesus, the awed disciples, and Jesus’ dazzling appearance (as well as the command to listen to the Beloved Son), we waved our papers. We knew the goodbye was coming, the season with no alleluia.
At the end of that service, we carried the “alleluias” away- putting away the phrase “Praise God” for the season of Lent. It is not that we haven’t been grateful or that in Lent, resurrection isn’t true. It is just a trip within the journey of our faith life for more solemn contemplation and reflection.
We are not who we were seven weeks ago. We have experienced physical changes, events of life- both good and bad, and learned or forgotten things (or both) in the time since we last said “alleluia”. Since we have changed, the nature of our alleluias has changed as we…