Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 26, 2015 - Easter 4B

In the name of the Risen Lord. Amen.
            Preaching 101- never tell people what they “ought” to do. At the leadership program I attended last week, they told us that when we’re trying to influence people that it is better to lead people to the answer rather than giving it to them, so that they will think it was their own idea. The expression is “don’t should all over other people.” Well, the authors of our readings from 1 John and the gospel according to John never got this lesson- “We ought to lay down our life for one another,” “we should believe and love,” and “I must bring them.” So much for leading us to the still waters of Psalm 23, these texts seem to be pushing us there.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12, 2015 - Easter 2B

In the name of the Risen Lord. Amen.
            Often this Sunday is referred to as “Low Sunday” because, well, after the highs of joy and attendance last week, today seems rather low. And while I wish that every Sunday had the church packed like it did last week, that’s just not the way it works. Mountaintop experiences are great and wonderful, but you can’t stay there. And so, for me, the question for today isn’t “where did everyone go?” or “do people really think that Jesus wants us to show up on Easter and then forget about church until Christmas?” No, the question to be asking today is “so what?” The Lord is risen, but so what?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

April 5, 2015 - Easter Day

In the name of the Risen Lord. Amen.
            I have been looking forward to this day for a while now. The days are getting warmer and the flowers are beginning to bloom. With the return of spring, it seems as if new life abounds. This is the chance for a fresh start, when anything is possible, I’m really excited about it. Of course, I’m speaking of the fact that the first game of the baseball season will be played today, alleluia. Though, there is another reason why we gather today. Easter is the queen feast day of the Church. And so my first word to each of you is welcome.

Friday, April 3, 2015

April 3, 2015 - Good Friday

Lectionary Readings

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
            I’ve always found Good Friday to be the holiest day on which to preach, meaning that writing the Good Friday sermon can be a challenge. The cultural assumptions are nearly insurmountable, the theology is quite complex, and the readings are very long. One theologian has noted that a mystery is not a problem without a solution, but rather a reality in which the more we know, the more we are forced to rethink all that we know. In this sense of the word, Good Friday is most definitely a mystery.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 2, 2015 - Maundy Thursday

Lectionary Readings (note, verses 17-30 were added to the John reading)

In the name of the One who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.
            Welcome to this most holy night. The Maundy Thursday liturgy is perhaps the densest of the entire church year. In some church traditions, this day is called “Thursday of Mysteries,” and there are many mysteries tonight. There is the mystery of the master washing the students’ feet. There is the mystery of the Eucharist when Jesus says that the bread and the wine are to be his body and blood. There is the mystery of salvation in the connection of the Passover meal to this meal shared by Jesus and his disciples. In the stripping of the altar we are faced with the mystery of betrayal. Based on the commandment given by Jesus, we have the mystery of love’s ability to conquer all things. And it is this last mystery, the mystery of love, that ties the tapestry of Maundy Thursday together.