Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost Luke 15: 1-10

“There is joy in the presence of the angels…” How about joy at a funeral?   The pastor’s funeral was in the church he was serving at the time of his death.  Several of us assisted.  As we put on our vestments, one said he wanted to wear the deceased pastor’s stole as a tribute to our colleague.  Another immediatelhy spoke for his cincture, the rope belt we wear.  Another found his book of worship for the hymns and order of worship.Continue Reading

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost LUKE 14:25-33

If you like early American paintings, Norman Rockwell is the man.  His art is nostalgic, understandable.  He captures a moment in time that we all know.  I especially like the boy at the old-fashioned soda fountain, looking at the delicious choices of ice cream and asking how much will it cost. That’s what we ask when we are about to buy a car, or a nice outfit or a kitchen appliance — how much will it cost? Relationships carry a price tag, too.  There is a cost for each person when two individuals become a couple. Continue Reading

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 14:1, 7-14

When Jesus called Zacchaeus the crook down from the sycamore tree, he told Jesus, “I’ll give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone, I will pay back four times as much.” When Jesus rescued the woman of the street from being stoned, he told her, “Go and sin no more.”Continue Reading

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 13:10-17

The leader of the synagogue was indignant when Jesus introduced the new reality of healing on the Sabbath. Exactly what is a new reality?

A rich man and his wife died in an accident and went to heaven. They were past 85 and in good health because of her interest in diet foods and daily exercise.  They were given a lavish apartment close to the golf course, a fishing lake, and a great community building with a daily buffet for everybody.Continue Reading

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 12:49-56

In the days of transportation by stage coach, sometimes on a steep mountain road, the driver would stop to let the horses rest.  Then he would tell his passengers,“Everybody out.  Those that want to help, get out and push.  Those that don’t want to push, get out of the way.”  That’s harsh reality.Continue Reading

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 12:32-40

The land of Turkey was in the fourth century a stronghold of Christianity. Still visible from that era is a cemetery with readable headstones.  On one is carved, “Here sleeps the blessed Chi-one who has found Jerusalem for she prayed much.” Not another word is known of her.  But how lovely if it were known of one of us still after 16 centuries that we found Jerusalem because we prayed much.Continue Reading

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost Luke 12: 13-21

The great pyramids were elaborately furnished by the Pharaohs for their trip beyond the grave. There is no record that those preparations had any value for the deceased. So I continue to appreciate Dr. Billy Graham’s remark that he has never seen a hearse towing a U-haul trailer! Continue Reading

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 11:1-13

A disciple said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” A lot of well-meaning people want to have a specifically Christian prayer before city council meetings, or before a collegiate ball game, or at the beginning of the public school day, or other such times.Continue Reading

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 10:38-42

Jesus disappointed her with his answer that Mary was right in listening to him, while Martha was giving her attention and concern to things of less importance. Now, let’s be clear: this story is not an insult to women who would rather fix a dish for a church supper than to attend worship. The story does not glorify a devotional life of prayer and meditation while excluding shopping and cooking and housecleaning. Continue Reading

Pastor Petrea’s tribute to Pastor Busch

We come now to a remembrance and thanksgiving for the life and witness of the Reverend Robert William Busch. His speech forever revealed that he was born and raised in Brooklyn.  His educational credits included Brooklyn Technical High School, the Cooper Union, and Wagner College in Staten Island.   He earned his Master of Divinity Degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.Continue Reading