Sunday, September 30, 2018

September 30, 2018 - Proper 21B

Be with us, O Lord, for if you are with us nothing else matters; and if you are not with us, nothing else matters. Amen.
            The Bible is full of rich and stimulating stories of faith. Once such story is that of Esther. It’s not a story that is well-known though, and it only shows up once every three years in our cycle of Sunday morning readings. While I will point to some aspects of the story that are worthy of our deeper consideration, I want to start by telling the story of Esther, both because it is a story that the Church should be more familiar with, but also because just hearing the story itself will be edifying to your faith.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

September 23, 2018 - Proper 20B

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit one God and mother of us all. Amen.
            Today’s Gospel text from Mark is iconic, and I mean that literally. Sunday School classrooms and nurseries around the world have paintings of Jesus taking a little child into his arms as he teaches his disciples that “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” The reason why this Biblical scene so often appears in relation to ministry with children is that it is a sweet and endearing depiction of Jesus. The image seems to reassure nervous parents that it’s okay to leave your child under the watchful eye of Jesus. And certainly, commending our loved ones to God’s care and keeping is a good thing to do. But this enacted parable that Jesus offers about children coming to him is not, at its root, a story about a cuddly Jesus; rather it gives us a radical and subversive example what it means to follow Jesus.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

September 16, 2018 - Proper 19B

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Who is Jesus? It’s a simple question but it is one that makes all the difference in our lives, in our deaths, and in our world. Who is Jesus? The question is not “What do the Creeds say about Jesus,” or “What is your favorite Biblical image of Jesus,” or “What does your priest say about who Jesus is.” But who do you say that Jesus is? The answer to that question will give you the foundation and the trajectory of everything else.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

September 9, 2018 - Proper 18B

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            This passage that we heard this morning from Mark is one of the more challenging stories that we have about Jesus. The reason why it’s such a challenge is that what we are presented with is a side of Jesus that we don’t often hear about. When we conjure up images of Jesus in our minds, we usually think of Jesus as the nicest person we can imagine. But the way Jesus acts in this passage from Mark challenges that stained-glass version of Jesus.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

September 2, 2018 - Proper 17B

In the name of the Holy Trinity Amen.
            What do you think might the be the book of the Bible that has been the most commented on throughout history? You might guess the Gospel according to John – after all, it’s full of symbols and signs that are ripe for theological harvesting. Or maybe Revelation, with all of its apocalyptic images, as it does require a lot of explanation. But in actuality, the book of the Bible with the most attention paid to it is the Song of Solomon. The book is eight chapters long, but the six verses that we read this morning are the only part of the book that shows up in our entire three year lectionary – so you’d be forgiven if you didn’t even realize that this most commented on book of the Bible was even in the Bible.