Sermon: What You Make of It

blocks wood“What You Make of It”

(June 1, 2014) We pause to “check our privilege” and remember where we have an advantage. The question is not how privileged are we, as if this somehow makes us better or worse people, but what do we do with the privilege we have, that others might share in justice. (Matthew 25:31-46)

My sermon references this video. Take a look!

I invited the congregation to do on their own a printed version of this quiz as a self assessment. I added reflection questions at the end.

For reflection:
How do you feel as you read some of these questions? Where do you feel you have privilege? Where do you feel a lack of privilege?
Where do you feel awareness for others’ struggles?
Where do you see possibilities for power and action regardless of privilege?
How do you feel called to use your privilege?

Sermon: Through Faith

flower fence freedom“Through Faith”

(5/25/14) By popular request, I reflect on the interplay between the law and grace: can we see the law as part of grace– not a fence that keeps us in (or out), but a trellis that helps us grow? (Matthew 5:17-20; Romans 4:13-25)

Sermon: Martha: Steward

broom old 1“Martha: Steward”

(May 18, 2014) When Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary, we hear a story that reinforces our tendency to divide people spiritually between the contemplative and the active. Can we use the practice of mindful action to bridge that gap? Can we hear Jesus claiming and challenging Martha to be present in the moment as she learns from him as a disciple? (Luke 10:38-42)

 

Another sermon by request from a congregant who wants to know: why does Jesus praise Mary while Martha is the one doing all the work. All us failed contempletives join in asking that question!

Sermon: My Other Brother

brothers 1“My Other Brother”

(May 11. 2014) The story we call “the Prodigal Son” leaves more questions about the older sibling than the younger, and tells us not only about God’s grace, but about our common responses to it. Have we lost sight of being God’s beloved children? Do we let that un-loved feeling infuse our treatment of others? (Luke 15:11-32)

This sermon was preached by request when I asked for topics or bible passages that members of the church found challenging. The person’s question: shouldn’t the older sibling have received a party, too? A fair question, and one I’m sure many of us ask.

Sermon: On the Road

feet road bw“On the Road”

(May 4, 2014) Finally, the risen Jesus makes his first appearance in the Gospel of Luke, and it’s not at a tomb, in a safe upper room, or on the beach where the disciples first saw him; it’s on the road. Is the author telling us something about where we can find Christ– not in the mystical moments, but on the journey of our lives, as we talk, discuss, debate, question, and ponder? (Luke 24:13-35)

sermon recording also contains a prayer that I wrote.

Sermon: Redeeming Thomas

blindfold trust walk“Redeeming Thomas”

(April 27, 2014) We call the disciple Thomas “Doubting Thomas,” but maybe we’ve given him an unfair hearing. Elsewhere in the Gospel, Thomas exhibits great faith, and we might rightly be skeptical about casting him as a sudden detractor. Then again, perhaps faith and trust and belief are, like Thomas, more than we give them credit for. (Mark 9:14-29, John 20:19-31)

 

Sermon: Empty Tomb; So What?

picture for easter e weekly“Empty Tomb; So What?”

(April 20, 2014, Easter Sunday) Easter brings us to the the greatest miracle and mystery of the Christian faith, but what’s it all about? What happens *after* the empty tomb to change our lives? God’s salvation is still happening, not accomplished all at once. Instead, we are invited into the ongoing work of God. (Matthew 28:1-10, Luke 24:1-12)

Easter Sunday, complete with the interruption object lesson from my son William.

Sermon: “King of Kings”

palm leaf tree plant 6“King of Kings”

(April 13, 2014) Jesus rides into Jerusalem as a king, but not the sort of king anyone was expecting. When we fail to live up to the expectations of others– or when they fail to live up to ours– can we cut one another a little slack? Are we willing to ask ourselves if our expectations are good and healthy ones, or simply what we want to see? (Matthew 21:1-11)

First Sunday back in the sanctuary, and mic troubles and all the distraction and pressure that comes with that!

Sermon: Light of the World

horse blinders 1“Light of the World”

(March 30, 2014) As Jesus restores vision to a person born without sight, he turns the conversation from the literal to the spiritual, and from harm to healing. Where do we need our eyes opened? What systems of oppression– racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism– and of privilege keep us from seeing God in our midst? How, with our blinders removed, with the light of Christ shining in our lives, can we see the work God calls us to do, in the naming and dismantling of our own privilege, and the steps toward wholeness we seek to take? (John 9:1-41)

I mentioned a number of stories in my sermon, including a video of a newscaster being disrespected by her co-host, the flip-flop of child sponsoring non profit WorldVision, and a talk by a comedian who describes the intersecting experiences of being an Arab American Muslim woman with cerebral palsy who wanted to act.

 

 

Sermon: Living Water

well stone close“Living Water”

(March 23, 2014) At the well, Jesus encounters a powerful theologian in the form of a Samaritan woman, and their conversation looks at the literal and spiritual needs for water. This day after World Water Day, how do we understand the intersections between the literal water crisis and the spiritual need for living water? What will we do about the water crisis? (John 4:5-15, 23-30, 39-42)

Resources about the water crisis:

Press release for World Water Day

World Water Day homepage

Informational Video about Water Crisis (World Water Day 2013)

Water.org (microlending and water credit to expand access to clean water)

UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (monitoring and resources toward goal of providing access to clean water for all)

UNICEF Tap program (donates money for clean water for every ten minutes you don’t use your phone)

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