Sermons


Once again, I doubt that anyone from Ft. Bragg is going to see the sermon I intend to preach this Sunday before I give it.  (If I’m wrong, and you plan to be there Sunday, probably you should skip reading this for now.)  Also, I apologize to any followers who read “Thrift Shop Resurrection” – most of which is given again here.  So here it is:

Easter 4 C

 

I have problems with this morning’s reading from Acts!

Is that allowed – to have issues with scripture? (more…)

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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…)

This morning’s sermon in Elk Grove:

 

In this morning’s reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, we read about Jeremiah’s call.  The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.  “Before I formed you in the womb,”  he is told, “I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

But Jeremiah says, “Ah, Lord God!  Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”  It’s actually not clear how literally true this might have been.  There are Jewish traditions (seemingly based on how little he said in the first thirteen years of his career before King Josiah died) that he may have been commissioned at birth!  And the word “boy” in Jeremiah’s response could mean any male between an infant and a young man!  His career really seems to take off when Jehoiakim takes over as king.  All told, he spends forty years prophesying before the temple is destroyed. (more…)

My back has been killing me all month and I have posted almost nothing.  But I did preach last week in Yuba City, and this is what I said:

Many of you may know already who Ruby Bridges is.  I have to confess I only learned this in this last decade.  Sometimes I’m slow.

For those of you who might not know, Ruby was the six-year-old African-American girl who, after the federal desegregation order, walked past 40 to 50 angry white adults each day, to attend elementary school in New Orleans.  She was accompanied by federal marshals, but otherwise alone.  She was the only African-American student.  And all the white students had been withdrawn because she was there.

Many of the adults who greeted her each morning, if that’s the word for what they did, were saying they were going to kill her.  And Ruby had to know they just might do it.  Yet she kept coming.

She not only kept coming, but she smiled at the mobs as they vilified her.  And she told her teacher that she felt sorry for them, and was praying for them.  It’s hard to imagine.  What kept her going? (more…)

We tend to blame people for what happens to them.  We really seem to like to think that people get what they deserve.  It’s a lot like the Eastern idea of “karma.”

We aren’t always blatant about it.  But we tend to think that a smoker with cancer (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…)

Is anyone else as shocked as I am that King David is known as a hero of the faith?  I mean, give me a break.  There’s really no getting around how badly he messed up.

He’s at war.  His eye falls upon the wife of one of his officers.  I imagine he’s something like a major in our world.  David lusts after his wife, he takes her, and he tries to cover it up.

When that fails, he arranges to have the officer murdered.  And he doesn’t seem to care about collateral damage.  A lot of other people die so that his death can seem to be of natural, or at least war related, causes.

It’s hard to think of anything much lower than this. (more…)

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