Sermons

Maundy Thursday, March 24, 2016 John 13:1-17; 31-35

I like church celebrations and festivals, and would feel cheated if I had to miss worship on those days. My favorite holy day is Maundy Thursday.  All other holy days or festivals come and go, and when all the rituals and exclamations are over, we go back to life pretty much as it was before.  But Maundy Thursday rivets my attention day after day, one season after another, year in and year out, giving me a challenge which I never measure up to.Continue Reading

Palm Sunday

The Passion of Our Lord According to Luke

Luke 22:1 — 23:56

Fifth Sunday in Lent John 12: 1 – 8

Someone who had lived a long time told the new preacher,  “We know about our sin and guilt.  Tell us about God’s love and forgiveness.” The story of Mary and her ointment tells us all we need to know about sin and guilt,  and the reality of God’s love and forgiveness.  Continue Reading

Fourth Sunday in Lent Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

In this spell-binding tale, a rich man’s son who has everything asks for his share of his father’s estate. He wants to see the world, find himself, live his own life.  With tears in his eyes, his father watches him leave. Then it’s bright lights, fast company, loose money, easy companions – until the money runs out. The scene shifts.  The fast living is over.  He fights a rich man’s pigs for scraps of food.  When he realizes what he has done to himself, he goes home. He is overcome with repentance and regret.  But never was there such a glad homecoming as the prodigal spies his father running down the path. What a story, and how skillfully it can be used if the preacher suspects there are some in the congregation who are like the younger son. Continue Reading

Third Week of Lent Luke 13: 1 – 9

To understand today’s story in Luke’s Gospel, we have to know that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. His radical teaching about God is becoming apparent.  A great opposition to him is developing among the Pharisees and their friends.   His followers should sell their possessions and give the money to the poor to have treasures stored in heaven.  Their lamps should be lit as though waiting for their master.  He has come to bring fire upon the earth.  “Do you think I have come to bring peace?  No, but division.”Continue Reading

Luke 13: 31 – 35

Jesus had a plan for his ministry and mission. After months in the countryside, he headed for Jerusalem.  His time was running out, but he was determined to keep his plan.  As rumors and half-truths about his teaching reached the authorities, he was already in disfavor. When the rage of the authorities matured, he would be killed as a common criminal. Jesus knew his teaching about the kingdom of God was misinterpreted by the civil and religious authorities.  Having lunch with sinners and tax collectors struck at the root of the social order.Continue Reading

First Sunday in Lent Luke 4:1-13

Jesus was in the wilderness 40 days, confronted by Satan with choices about his ministry. He chose to follow the leading of the Spirit.  Then angels visited him, and he was ready to proclaim the good news of God, that the kingdom is at hand.  Would that we could trace the same progress from wilderness to kingdom.Continue Reading

Ash Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

More than any other day of the church calendar, this is the time for truth. This is not a celebration.  Specifically in this service of ashes, it is the time and place to speak truth to God. Now we put aside our velvet gloves, turn off the soft lights, and turn on the bright lights of a criminal lineup. Here we go at it bare-knuckled with God – knowing that we will be on the losing end of the symbols, signs, and sounds which give meaning to Ash Wednesday.Continue Reading

Transfiguration Luke 9:28-36

When I get to heaven, I’ll say “thanks be to God,” and greet loved ones already there. Then I want to ask the disciples what they thought about Jesus before Good Friday.  After all, they had no Christmas stories of angels and shepherds, no Sunday school songs or pictures, no stirring hymns about faith and life-long devotion.Continue Reading

Luke 4:21 – 30

Jesus preached in his hometown and at first they liked what they heard – gracious words. But when he said that God’s love and mercy may be given to outsiders, the congregation protested.  “Now he’s gone too far.  Isn’t he the son of that teenage girl who was pregnant when she married the village carpenter? “And now that boy” – he was about 30 years old – “says he’s the object of Isaiah’s prophecy?  He ought to show more respect for us, or at least go a little slower.” Jesus sensed their criticism.  “You expect me to repeat here what I did in Capernaum” (where he healed a man who had an unclean spirit).Continue Reading