Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost LUKE 18:1-8

When Jesus was approaching Jerusalem, he told this parable to prepare his disciples for whatever may come. He would be taken and killed.  He wanted to prepare them and us with the certainty that God is not only hearing our cry, but he will bring help. The parable says we ought always to pray and not lose heart.  Jesus says God isn’t like the judge in the story.  Instead, God is with us now. Continue Reading

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost LUKE 17:11-19

Jesus healed 10 sick people, but only 1 turned back to praise God.   Human nature being what it is, I want to think charitably of the nine who did not come back.  I want to say, “They meant to say thanks.  They just put it off.”   For instance, I understand the S-P-W-P-T-O the Society for People Who Put Things Off — finally had their Labor Day party.  So they are catching up.  Just a few weeks ago they celebrated Christmas — for 2013.Continue Reading

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost LUKE 17:5-10

Does God see a strong, vibrant faith in each of us? Does God see a total peace of mind?  Perhaps there are times, in worship, or being alone, or in a meaningful moment with someone we love, when we believe God is smiling on us. But tomorrow when nothing goes right and everything goes wrong, when too much is being asked of us, do we react as faithful believers? Continue Reading

Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost Luke 16:19-31

We could turn this parable on its head, and say that we are beggars and God saves us though we deserve nothing, while punishing the rich man because he was stingy. It is true that those who have wealth should be generous to those who are ill-fed and ill-clothed.  But the message of this parable would be missed if it teaches only that the rich should help the poor.Continue Reading

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost Luke 16: 1 – 13

The speaker elaborated on God’s love for a cheerful giver.  A truly rich man in attendance told his lunch companions that he just didn’t feel good about giving money to the cause.  He said to those at the table, “What do you suppose they had to pay for these green beans and cold ham?”  Someone said, “Probably ten dollars.”  So he began to write his check just as the speaker said, “Now remember, folks, God loves a cheerful giver.”Continue Reading

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