Showing posts from September, 2010

Sacraments -The Foundation: Baptism and Holy Communion

And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.  (St. Matthew 28:20b)             With these words the Gospel of St. Matthew’s comes to an end.  We began this Gospel with the proclamation of the birth of “Emmanuel” – God with us; and we end with these words from the risen Jesus which conclude the great commission.  Jesus says – remember (make present in your life) that I am with you always!  What an amazing promise.  In the Judaism of Jesus’ time access to God was limited to the temple and to gain access to God’s presence one had to come to the temple and offer a sacrifice and offering.  But in Jesus - because of the crucifixion and resurrection, this access is opened up.  The risen Jesus is with us now and always and because of this God’s presence is always available.  What an amazing gift.  But one that we need to remind ourselves of on a regular basis, for I think it is too easy for us to take this gift for granted.  Out of this concern come the Sacraments o

Rich and Poor – Some Thoughts on Luke 16:19-31

You can read the Gospel text for Ordinary 26C - St. Luke 16:19-31 - HERE! Our Gospel text for today is a hard text, especially for those of us who live in the 1 st world.  The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus clearly sets out for us God’s “preferential option for the poor.”  This is a theme which is particularly prevalent in the Gospel of Luke.  Take note of these examples:  Mary’s Song from Luke 1:53 - … He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty…”  From Jesus’ first sermon in Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…”  The “Blessings and Woes” from the Sermon on the Mount, in Luke 6:20-26 – “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.  Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled… But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.  Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry…”  And this Sunday we come to the parable

You've Got To Be Taught...

You've got to be taught To hate and fear, You've got to be taught From year to year, It's got to be drummed In your dear little ear You've got to be carefully taught. You've got to be taught to be afraid Of people whose eyes are oddly made, And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade, You've got to be carefully taught. You've got to be taught before it's too late, Before you are six or seven or eight, To hate all the people your relatives hate, You've got to be carefully taught! In 1949 the great Rogers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific premiered with this song embedded into the middle of the 2 nd act, sung by Lt. Joe Cable.   Nellie Forbush, an Arkansas Naval nurse, who has fallen in love with the French planter Emil DeBeque, discovers that her French lover has Polynesian children by his first Polynesian wife.   The mixed race of the children freaks out Nellie (there is no other way to describe it) and she breaks off the re

"But God remembered Noah…" (Genesis 8:1) - Some thoughts on the Sacramental...

This summer we focused on the stories of the pre-history in the book of Genesis. I preached on the two creations stories, Adam & Eve and the Serpent in the Garden; Cain & Abel; Noah & the Flood & the Rainbow and, finally, on the story of the Tower of Babel. I enjoyed getting inside of these stories and I hope you found this meaningful. (BTW - I would very much like to hear your feedback on the series.) These stories as a whole are pretty well known, but often misunderstood. Way too much time is devoted to arguing about historical details with the result that many miss the point of the stories themselves. These stories are stories of Grace. The God who created the universe, who created humanity and lovingly fashioned a garden for them, and then made clothing for them when they were expelled from the garden is a God of grace and love. One of my favorite verses in the whole pre-history is the one quoted above - "But God remembered Noah...". Noah had bu

Counting the Cost – The Consequence of Faith - Preliminary Thoughts on Luke 14:25-33 and Philemon

You can read the Gospel text for Ordinary 23C - St. Luke 14:25-33 HERE! You can read the Epistle text for Ordinary 23C - Philemon  HERE!   Counting the Cost – The Consequence of Faith There are consequences for every action we take.  And as we grow into adulthood, one of the important lessons we need to learn is to assess and accept the consequences for our actions and decisions.  Those who, as children, never learn to accept these consequences often have a tough time as adults.  In the Gospel for this morning (Luke 14:25-33), Jesus is talking about consequences.  There are consequences for following Jesus; there are consequences for faith.  Have we taken stock of what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus?  Have we “counted the cost” of discipleship before embarking on the journey of faith?  In John Bunyan’s wonderful allegorical novel “A Pilgrim’s Progress” the Christian encounters Mr. By-Ends who comes from the town of Fair-Speech and who desires t