Jesus


Well, since it’s ready, and since I don’t think anyone from the congregation in Sutter Creek follows my blog, here’s what I expect I will preach for the Second Sunday in Easter:

Imagine what it must have been like.  A week ago, Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.  Thursday they all gathered for a special meal with Jesus.  Later that night, Jesus was arrested.  Friday morning he was tried and brutally executed while they all hid (and some of the women, braver than the rest of them, watched from a distance).  Today they were hiding, barricaded behind locked doors, waiting for the sound of footsteps which might mean that they too were being arrested …  Fear was in the air.  And that evening, suddenly, something unrecognized appeared in the room with them!

“Peace be with you,” they heard.  But they did not experience shalom.  There was no wholeness or completeness or being in harmony in their hearts. They might well have thought they were seeing a ghost. They must have been scared witless!

But Jesus, it was Jesus, showed them his wounds.  They recognized him by his wounds, (more…)

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John Miller shared a post by Derek Flood on FaceBook.  I liked it enough to share some excerpts here:

God is love.
If that’s true, then Paul’s famous hymn of love in first Corinthians 13 can be read like this:
God is patient, God is kind.
God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud.

God does not dishonor others, God is not self-seeking,
God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. (more…)

In our calendar today, we remember William Temple (Archbishop of Canterbury, 1881-1944).  Other sources I use also commemorate Leonard (a 6th century hermit).  Very little is actually known about Leonard.  He seems to have been a Frankish noble, converted by Remigius, who chose to become a monk instead when offered a bishopric by Clovis. (more…)

Except for our gospel this morning, all of our readings have to do with wisdom.  Solomon, invited to ask God for anything at all, asks for wisdom.  And God thinks this was the right thing to ask for.  Our psalm suggests that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom — again, seen as a good thing.  And in Ephesians we are exhorted to live as wise people.

Wisdom seems to be important.

And although our gospel doesn’t talk about wisdom, it is a reading from John’s gospel, which seems to develop the first creation story from Genesis — you remember that story, don’t you?  In the beginning God created.  And how did God create?  God created by speaking things into being.

And how does John’s prologue, John’s creation story start?  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being …”

The Greek word which we translate as “word” is “logos.”  And the logos is much more than just a spoken word. (more…)

I don’t have too many more opportunities to share my thoughts with the folks at St. George’s.  Here’s what I thought was important to share today:

Imagine the hottest person you can, man or woman, whatever floats your boat.  For me it would be a woman.  Imagine that she’s the most alluring thing you’ve ever seen.  She’s everything you’ve ever wanted, and more.  She’s smarter than you are.  She’s better read.  She’s more athletic.  She’s kinder.  She see’s right through you.  She looks at you, and she just knows everything there is to know about you.  Are you going to approach her?

I’m betting you don’t.  She’s simply overwhelming.  She puts you to shame. You know, on a basic level, that she’s simply out of your league.  There is simply no way in hell you’ll ever measure up to her.  We are simply ashamed to approach her. (more…)

[This is something I have used for Palm Sunday/Good Friday off and on for years.  With retirement looming June 1, I’m not sure I’ll have the opportunity to use this again.  So I’m sharing it here.  Permission is given to use this, but only if I’m given credit as the author.]

After dinner, you and your friends go for a walk, and stop in the park.  You ask them to wait for you, while you go away by yourself and think about what’s coming down.

It’s not a pretty picture.  It fills you with dread.  Your soul is so filled with sorrow that it almost leads you into despair.  If only there were some other way …  “Father, take this cup from me …  But no, this is why I’m here:  to do your will.”

In your distress, you return to your friends, seeking some comfort from them, from their presence — there is so little time.  And they’re sleeping for God’s sake.  Couldn’t they be there for you this once? (more…)

Today, in the calendar of the Episcopal Church, is the day we commemorate Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1109.  He was born in Aosta, in northern Italy, around 1033 CE.  He left home as a young man, traveling north, until he reached the Abbey of Bec in Normandy, where at Lanfranc’s urging, he embraced monastic life and took his vows in 1060 — succeeding Lanfranc as Prior in 1063 and later as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093.  So he was roughly 27 years old when he finally settled down.

Anselm is probably best known for his ontological argument for the existence of God — which I studied way back in college.  Basically it says that since God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived, and since we have the idea of God (as unconditional being) in our mind, such a being has to exist (or there would be something greater) and we could not even talk about such a being if it did not exist outside of our mind.

I’m probably not doing a fair summary of the argument, possibly because it has always seemed a circular and unconvincing argument. (more…)

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