Showing posts from March, 2010

Thoughts on Holy Week

I received a call yesterday from a reporter from one of the local newspapers and he was doing a story about Easter worship and asked me to tell him two things about Easter worship at Peace. One – what was important and unique about Easter worship; and two, what special symbols will be included in our Easter worship? What is important and unique about Easter worship? Well the first thing to say is that every Sunday is a celebration of Easter. One of the reasons we worship on Sundays is because it is the 1st day of the week, when the women went to the tomb to find that Jesus was no longer there. But Easter Sunday does stand apart from other Sundays in importance and meaning mainly because it is so closely linked to Holy Week. In order to truly understand Easter, one must enter into and experience Good Friday. Without Good Friday, Easter is trite; and without Easter, Good Friday is just morbid. But when experienced together we have the opportunity to enter into God’s saving work

Some Thoguhts on Lent 5C - Philippians 3 - Past is Present is Future

“When I grow up…” From an early age we learn to look forward to the future. We dream, we hope, we make plans, we do things that we think will move us along on our road to wherever we are trying to get. None of this is bad, in and of itself. It is good to plan and dream and hope; it is good to have goals. But what happens when we finally “arrive?” Does a time ever come when we have accomplished all of our goals and fulfilled our dreams for the future? What happens then? For many of us, we keep revising our future goals and keep striving, or we work at maintaining what we have accomplished. What kind of effect does that have on our present? And what about the past? How does the past inform, enable or disable our present and future? For many the past is like a ghost that continuously hovers over our present and future, sometimes disabling our present and impairing our future. What can we do about this? How can we free ourselves from the haunting of the past? All of thes

Lent 4C - The Prodigal Son - Thoughts in preparation for worship...

Of all Jesus’ parables the story of the “Prodigal Son” is perhaps one of the best known. We are all familiar with this story of how the youngest son very inappropriately asks for his inheritance before his father dies and then takes the money goes off to the 1st Century Palestinian equivalent to Las Vegas and then throws all the money away on what the old King James version called “riotous living.” And then a famine struck the land and the boy was left with nothing, starving and tending swine and eating the pods he is supposed to be feeding the pigs. “What am I doing?” he finally asks himself and he resolves to return home and beg his father to allow him to serve him as a hired hand, since he figures he will at least eat better. So he sets off and one can imagine that he practices that famous line over and over: “Father, I have sinned against God and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me like one of your hired hands.” But before he has a chance to del

Lent 3C - "What did I do to deserve this...?

“What did I do to deserve this?” “Is God punishing me because of…….?” We often assume that for every effect there must be a cause. If something happens then there must be a reason. If something bad happens then it stands to reason that God is punishing us or trying to get some kind of point across. Right? Well, that’s the attitude of the group of people who question Jesus in our Gospel text today. This group of Galilean pilgrims had been attacked and massacred while they were in the process of offering a sacrifice at the Temple? What did they do to deserve that? This was an act of state-sponsored terror. Jesus offers another example – what about the accident where the tower by the Pool of Siloam collapsed and killed 18 men? Was that because God was punishing them? To both questions Jesus answers an unequivocal NO. This is not God “getting even” or meting out punishment. These events happened. Period. We live in a fallen and imperfect world where these kinds of things h