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…)

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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  And all the white students had been withdrawn because she was there.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…)

Brian Baker posted a piece from bishop elect Thew Forrester from the diocese of Northern Michigan.  There is organized opposition to confirming him as a bishop because of his ties with Zen Buddhists — I guess they think he doesn’t have a strong enough sense of who Jesus is.  So I wanted to excerpt a bit from the piece Brian posted (“Our Lives in Christ” by Thew).  Judge for yourselves.  And if you want to see the whole thing after reading the excerpt, click here.

Because Jesus receives everything and gratefully returns everything – his heart, his soul, his mind, his strength –   he is empty of everything except the Presence of God. This is a Christology of utterkenosis. Jesus in his Transfiguration is fully revealed as he always is – the Christ, empty of everything but the Spirit. We, as disciples, are called to the same life of transfiguration, so that through and through, in the end, it is only Christ who lives in us and we are dead to all else. This transfiguration, I believe, is our baptismal life: “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” In the end, we come face-to-face with God and know that it is no longer “I,” but God who lives in me holding us forever as one-in-Christ, Life-giving salvation.