Friday, June 6th, 2014

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?” That’s what the NRSV translation we heard this morning says. I hear it something like “Ok bozos, why are you just standing there gaping blankly at the sky?”

And that’s really a bit unfair of me.
Because the disciples have been through a lot of late.
They came into Jerusalem for the festival like gangbusters. A mounted parade as they entered … Jesus chasing the moneylenders out of the temple – which would be a lot like chasing the merchants out of the Galleria the week before Christmas …
Then Jesus was arrested. They abandoned him in their fright. He was tried, tortured and brutally put to death. They went into hiding …
And then truly bizarre things began to happen. Women claimed the tomb was empty and that he had risen – whatever that might mean. Out of towners claimed that had walked and spoken and eaten with him. And then the apostles had their own encounters with him …
And these encounters became so common (more…)

This was my second official Auburn sermon:

Last week, I talked about God’s love for us: God’s acceptance of us as we are, and God’s ongoing concern for our well-being. I talked about it as Grace, our acceptance of a gift freely given: not something we’ve somehow earned. This week, using our gospel as the jump off point, I want to talk about our love of God.
Our gospel begins by saying: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” The Message paraphrase renders this: “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you.”
If, then. That’s what it tends to sound like to us, doesn’t it? If you do this, then that will happen. It sounds a lot like something earned, doesn’t it. Something like if we do what God tells us to do, then God will love us. And I’ve been telling you God’s love is a gift! (more…)

This was my first “official” sermon at Auburn:

Some years ago, a young professional woman living in New York City told her priest, in the wake of yet another breakup, with yet another man, that she was “so … very very … tired of always having to try to change who she was to try to please some … very very trying … man. Why,” she asked, “couldn’t someone simply love her for herself?”
To hear some Christians, you’d think that God is a rich, powerful old man who lives in a mansion outside of town. He invites us to be honorary members of his family. Which means, in practical terms, that once a week, we all have to put on our very best clothes and our very best manners for a formal tea at his mansion. And we’d better watch out. Because if we offend him in any way, he keeps a fully staffed torture chamber in his basement. And once once someone goes into the basement, they are never seen again.
Neither the endless stream of boyfriends (or, if we reverse roles, girlfriends) nor dear Uncle God with his torture chamber really love us – do they? Because they do not accept us for who we are.
Our God, the God Jesus calls Abba, actually loves us. (more…)