Skip to main content


What the Lord Needs (Easter Sermon)

Mark16:1-8 The Easter story began a week ago with Palm Sunday. Yes, technically it began four months ago at Christmas, but the particular part of the life of Christ we celebrate today starts with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. He rides in on a donkey because the donkey is the transport of kings in ancient Israel. (We will not explore that rabbit trail today.) Some of you may remember that Jesus rides a borrowed donkey.   In the Mark passage we read last week, Jesus sends a couple disciples out to obtain the donkey. If they are questioned, he tells them, say, “The Lord needs it.” Find a donkey and that the owner will understand what it means that “the Lord needs it” are assumed. This will happen. And so, it does. Jesus enters Jerusalem on a young donkey, with many people celebrating him by waving branches and throwing their cloaks down in front of him. He has what he needed.  In the week since then, many in that cheering crowd have fallen away. His disciples were overwhelmed by the events
Recent posts

Would I Do?

Palm Sunday Mark 11:1-11 One of my core memories is of a parishioner who said, "I don't think I would have been as brave as the three in the fiery furnace. I think I would have just bowed to the king. I would have bowed and known in my heart that I still loved God. I admire them, but I can tell the truth that I wouldn't have done it." (Daniel 3) To me, this man's honesty was just as brave. In front of his fellow Christians, in front of his pastor, he owned up to his own facts: he did not believe he would have had the courage to resist the pressures of the king. He would have rather continued to live, being faithful in secret, than risk dying painfully and prematurely for open obedience to God.  I can respect that kind of truth-telling. None of us want to be weighed in the balance and found wanting. For some of us, that's our greatest fear. The truth is, however, that I suspect most of us are not as brave as we think we are. The right side of history seems cle

Chapter, Verse, and Jesus

John 3:14-21 Let’s talk for a moment about chapter and verse. None of the books of the Bible were written with chapters and verses, neither the epistles (letters), the histories, the prophets, or the gospels. Each work was a scroll or set of papyri that flowed. Not only were there not chapters and verses, but neither biblical Hebrew nor biblical Greek have capital letters or punctuation. Better still, biblical Hebrew doesn’t have vowels.   No capital letters, no punctuation, and sometimes no vowels. This means that when the Holy Spirit guided the first person who wrote down the stories that were circulating orally, they knew what they meant. And the people around them did as well, but after 2-3 generations translators, readers, and copiers are making their best educated guess. Line breaks were used after the scriptures were codified to make reading easier, but a line break was still a guide and an interpretation. Chapter separations that we would recognize came into being in the very e

A Fish Story of Repentence (Sermon)

The greatest miracle in the story of Jonah isn’t the big fish. It’s never been the fish. It’s not the fish for two reasons. Firstly, we’ve all heard fish stories before and we know how they go. Secondly, and more importantly, God has always done what God needed to do to get human attention. Bush on fire, but not consumed? Check. (Exodus 3) Fleece is wet, but the floor is dry? Check. (Judges 6) Donkey refuses to move until you listen to the angel visitor? Check. (Numbers 22) God will get your attention, our attention, as needed. For most of us, no big fish needs to be involved. For Jonah, however, the Lord needed to engage a massive attention-getting device, such that Jonah would realize, as we all must:   you can run from your Creator, but you can’t hide .  Why didn’t Jonah listen in the first place? For reasons that made good sense to him.  Nineveh was a significant location for trading routes crossing the Tigris River on the great road between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Oce

Starring Spiritual Discipline

The "star words" for 2024 are from a short list of 12 spiritual disciplines. You may prayerfully look through this list and discern how the Spirit is calling you. Or you may click here to be directed to a random number generator. Set 1 as the lower limit and 12 as the upper. Click and see what number you get, corresponding to a discipline on the list below.  Spiritual Disciplines 2024 A guide to living the baptized life ever more fully   1.      Abstention  – restraining from indulgence   If your first thought regarding abstention is about dieting, think again. This spiritual discipline invites us into refraining from indulgences that cause us to stray from the will of God. This is an invitation to work on self-restraint with words and actions. This is a call to abstain from judgment of others, quick and thoughtless comments, or mindless actions that cause you to feel regret or frustration later. The practice of abstention may find you being quiet a little more often, as wel

Always Christmas

In the C.S. Lewis classic, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the four Pevensie children are sent away from London to a house in the country. More specifically, they are sent away to keep them safe(r) from the horrors and dangers of World War II. While in the country house, they discover a magical wardrobe that transports them to a different world: Narnia.    Lucy, the youngest Pevensie, is the first to enter Narnia. There she meets Mr. Tumnus, a gentle faun, who tells her some about this magical world. While Lucy marvels at the animals who speak and the reality of magical creatures, Mr. Tumnus explains to her that all is not well in Narnia. “It is winter in Narnia,” said Mr. Tumnus, “and has been for ever so long…always winter, but never Christmas.” This long-lasting winter goes on and on. For the creatures of Narnia, always winter  means a perpetual state of longing for spring and no end to the season of not-enough. Never Christmas means there is never a celebration of light and