Tag: Mark (Gospel)

Imagine that you are the greeter at the door of a party. There are two groups of people who want to get in. We’ll call one of the groups, The Blue Angels. And we’ll call the other group… Group Two. The host would like you to let all of the Blue Angels in; and none of the people in Group Two in. But there’s a problem. You can’t tell the difference between the two groups. And any system you come up with that lets all of the Blue Angels in, will also let in some of the members of…
Do me a favor. Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine something with me. It is a dark and stormy night. The clouds obscure the moon and the stars. The lights from town are off in the distance. The rain is falling in sheets. You can barely see your hand in front of your face. And any reasonable person would be at home, in front of the fire, safe and dry, with a good book and a cup of tea. But you had some errand in the countryside, and your car got stuck in the mud, and no reasonable…
The audio on this recording is pretty bad. I apologize for that. It looks like our lectern microphone is having some issues and that’s generating a lot of static. A few years ago, I gave a sermon at Mariah’s church. It was a sermon about holy impatience for the kingdom of God and the messianic banquet. It was about getting the party started. It was a masterpiece of homiletics. And in that sermon, I said that I don’t wear a tie unless it is absolutely necessary and it is never absolutely necessary. I also said that even if only…
Jesus came into the world to heal. Christ came into the world to restore. We saw that in last week’s reading, when Jesus rebuked an unclean spirit and healed Simon’s mother-in-law… like it was nothing. We saw it in last week’s reading, when, after Jesus did those things, more and more people showed up, saying, “Will you touch, will you heal me Christ?” And he touched them, and he healed them… like it was nothing. And, after a while, there were so many people that Jesus couldn’t even go into town without the mob showing up. So he stayed…
A week-and-a-half ago, on Christmas Eve, we celebrated Christ coming into the world as a baby… among a dispossessed people in an occupied land… to parents who were far from home and who couldn’t find a room for a night. A week-and-a-half ago, on Christmas day, we were not here together, but each of us, in our own way, marked the paradox of Christmas: that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home. A week ago, we read about how Jesus—that baby in a manger, that child in ragged clothes, that king of kings—began his ministry:…
They grow up so fast, don’t they?  It seems like only a few days ago that we were waiting in holy anticipation for God to come into the world; a baby in a manger, hungry and thirsty and naked, weak and in danger and in desperate need of someone to care for him, born to parents who were far from home and unable to find a room for the night. And now it is the Sunday after Christmas. Now it is four days after Christmas. Now it is many years after Christmas. And we read that Jesus—who was a…
Today is All Souls’ Sunday. It’s a day when we remember those who have gone before us. We’ll take some time to read their names and ring a chime and light a candle for them. And, if we have a photo of them, we’ll show that, too. And, as part of that, you’ll see a photo of my dad. You’ll see the official photo. The photo we used for his obituary. And, while that’s a good photo, I wanted you to see this one, too. Because, while the official photo is definitely a picture of my dad, this one…
  Today is Reformation Sunday. It’s a weird little holiday in Protestant churches. There are no greeting cards or mattress sales or big family dinners. But some Lutherans make a big deal out of it. And some Reformed churches make a big deal out of it. And some Anglicans make a big deal out of it. And some congregations of the United Church of Christ—being, as we are, heirs to many of the traditions that came out of the Reformation—dress the altar in red and take a Sunday to acknowledge that five-hundred-and-one years ago, on October 31st, a thirty-odd-year-old…
It is election season. I know this because I haven’t seen a commercial for a product in weeks. Instead, I’ve seen commercials for people: Fred Hubbell and Kim Reynolds and Dave Loebsack. And, because I live on the Iowa-Illinois border, J.B. Pritzker and Bruce Rauner. And I’m ready for it to be over. I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the used car dealers. Now, we are a church and I am your pastor. So let me assure you that I’m not about to get partisan. I’m not about to tell you who I support or who…
There are very few people in the world who will defend Pollyanna. It’s one of the things that makes my wife unique. She gets righteously angry about a few things, and one of them is the flagrant misinterpretation of this beloved children’s classic. If you don’t know the novel, it follows an orphan named Pollyanna, who moves to Beldingsville, Vermont, to live with her Aunt Polly. Now, Aunt Polly is not a pleasant person. And neither are many of the other residents of Beldingsville. But, in good early-twentieth-century children’s novel fashion, Pollyanna is going to change that. You see—and…

Pin It on Pinterest