Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 23, 2014 - Lent 3A

In the name of God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Today’s gospel reading provides no shortage of material for the preacher to consider. The particular aspect of the story that I’m going to focus on is the idea of conversion. Following Jesus is something that many of us aspire to, and the Samaritan woman in this story gives us insight into that process. While this is certainly a wonderful passage of Scripture, it is one that is full of references to life 2,000 years ago in Palestine, which makes it harder for us moderns to grasp. But ironically, this is a story all about misunderstandings. So perhaps approaching this text from a place of confusion is a good place to start.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 9, 2014 - Lent 1A

In the name of God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
            In February, we heard from the Sermon on the Mount on Sundays, and one of the phrases that Jesus uses in that address is “you have heard it said, but I say to you…” Today, I’d like to borrow that strategy. On Ash Wednesday, as we worshiped, I was struck by much of the language in the service. Today’s sermon was beginning to take shape in my mind, and the words of the Ash Wednesday liturgy were jarring to those thoughts. The words of that service are well founded in our theology and cultural perspective. We prayed that we might “worthily lament our sins and acknowledge our wretchedness;” Psalm 51 proclaimed that “Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, a sinner from my mother’s womb;” and the litany of prayers confessed all sorts and conditions of our depraved state of being sinners.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March 5, 2014 - Ash Wednesday

Lord Jesus Christ, by your death you took away the sting of death: Grant to us your servants so to follow in faith where you have led the way, that we may at length fall asleep peacefully in you and wake up in your likeness; for your tender mercies’ sake. Amen.
 I begin today’s sermon with that prayer, which comes from our funeral service, because Ash Wednesday is a day in which we are presented with our own mortality. Later in the service, you will come forward, towards the cross, which is itself an instrument of death, to have ashes put on your forehead. You will be reminded that “you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Death will come for us all, there is no avoiding that. But how we face that reality will make all the difference.