Sixth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 10:38-42

The impulse to punish by setting apart is a tale as old as time – and yes, you now have the Disney tune stuck in your heads. No charge. A documentary program on punishment notes that the very earliest practices involved a removal from the company of the community – separation and isolation.Continue Reading

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 10:25-37

The film Schindler’s List, from the novel by Thomas Kenneally, is a difficult movie to watch, to put it mildly. It is based on the truth of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who was an utter failure at living. With the exception of his wartime ownership of Deutsche Email Fabrik, which manufactured sturdy enamel cookware and mess kits – and he poured his fortune into it to keep it going – he failed at marriage, he failed at relationships, and he failed especially at business. After the war, his DEF enamelware factory failed.Continue Reading

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

The wealth of the nations. So that’s where that comes from: The Wealth of Nations, which Adam Smith had published in 1776 – and here in Isaiah chapter sixty-six we find the title. It is worth noting that the promise of prosperity and wealth is bound up with the exuberant and extravagant love of God for God’s beloved creatures – and, in this reading from Isaiah, images of the city of Jerusalem as a nursing mother.Continue Reading

Third Sunday after Pentecost Luke 9:51-62

Wrong on the Internet

You’ve seen the cartoon. My dad recently sent me a variation of it. In this version, a woman is lying in bed trying to sleep. Next to her, her husband, wide awake, says: “I can’t go to sleep… Someone is wrong on the Internet!”Continue Reading

Second Sunday of Pentecost Luke 8:26-39

Who. What. When. Where. Why. These are the so-called Five Ws, the first tools shared with any news reporter. They make a framework, a way into the story. And the Five Ws, which sounds almost like a Fifties singing group, must always be joined by the H: How.

When any one of us laments, when we mourn as a community, when one of us wrestles individually with bearing that which is unbearable, these are the questions that arise naturally out of our unspeakable grief.Continue Reading

The Holy Trinity John 16:12-15

Three is a magic number. Schoolhouse Rock told me so. And the mystery of the Trinity is embedded as the code in everything that exists. That is according to Father Richard Rohr, OFM, a Franciscan of the New Mexico province, ordained in 1970 – three years after my birth and three years before the first episode of Schoolhouse Rock aired. The debut episode that informed viewers that “three is a magic number.”Continue Reading

Day of Pentecost June 14:8-17 [25-27]

Here’s your sign. Bill Engvall, a comedian who was part of the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” has a routine about having signs to identify certain people. “Moving van in the driveway, boxes all over the walk, neighbor says: ‘Y’all moving?’ ‘No – we just thought it’d be fun to pack everything up to see what it looked like. Here’s your sign.’ ” In other words: That was a really stupid question, because the scene makes the answer obvious.Continue Reading

Seventh Sunday of Easter John 17:20-26

It’s on the Blue album. Which I owned in college, because didn’t everyone. To be honest, when it came to today’s message, I had to go look up the chronology. This would be the Beatles nonsense song “I Am the Walrus,” loosely inspired by “Jabberwocky,” a poem by Lewis Carroll.Continue Reading

Sixth Sunday of Easter John 14:23-29

Along the way, along the journey from the Festival of the Resurrection to the Festival of the Pentecost, you and I are being invited to so much richness. This is truly what Isaiah the prophet calls “a feast of fat things.” Present company (perhaps) excepted.Continue Reading

Fifth Sunday of Easter John 13:31-35

In the 1970s, a popular feature in newspapers, usually on the comics pages, was a one-panel illustration. “Love is.” Each illustration showed a man and woman, as in the Garden of Eden. Each one had the words, “Love is . . .” at the top and a few words at the bottom. “Love is living in hope.” “Love is something you need on life’s journey.” “Love is not ordering the most expensive dish on the menu.”Continue Reading