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

Luke 4:14-21 from January 24

Jesus comes to the synagogue in his hometown after a time in the desert. Since he is now a rabbi, he’s invited to read and to preach. He turns the scroll – which takes several minutes – to a passage in Isaiah, and leaves no doubt that he is reading about himself.  “The spirit of the Lord is upon me,” he reads.  “He has sent me…..  Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”Continue Reading