Luke 10:25-37 (5 Pentecost 2019, Proper 10C)

A priest, a Levite, a Samaritan. Three men had an open window of opportunity to be neighbor to the man who fell among thieves on the road to Jericho. 

Which one is not like the other two? The priest and Levite are clergy, religious leaders, pillars of their community. The Samaritan is a nobody, an anonymous Joe on the road. A Samaritan, despised by Judaean and Galilean alike who considered Samaritans to be half-breeds and heretics. They wouldn’t greet him on the road or talk to him at the town well. He’s not like the other two. The genius of this parable is that it forces a religious Jew, a synagogue lawyer, an expert in the intricacies of Torah, to identify with this Samaritan. You can almost hear the resigned reluctance in the lawyer’s voice when he has to answer Jesus’ question – Who was neighbor to the man who fell among thieves?

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Stewardship of Symbol

I already knew the outcome, thanks to a passing glance at Facebook, but I watched the women’s World Cup final on DVR delay from beginning to end anyway. It was a great game, well played and exciting. Soccer is not my first choice for sports, but I’ve grown to appreciate the skill and stamina of its players, and, fair-weather fan that I am, I almost always show up for the final.

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Luke 10:1-20 (4 Pentecost 2019, Proper 9C)

In Nomine Iesu

Today’s Gospel of the sending of the seventy speaks to the church and her mission.  It is a preliminary sending, the church’s “vicarage” so to speak, prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection before the big sending with the disciple-making mandate to baptize and teach the nations. This episode is told only in Luke, for whom Jesus’ mission to the Gentiles, the non-Israelites, was a very big deal. Jesus is more than the Messiah of Israel, He’s the Savior of the world, the promised seed of Abraham through whom “all nations” of the world would be blessed. His cross extends in all directions, to the ends of the earth, to all peoples everywhere, to those who have heard and those who have not heard, to everyone you meet and everyone you know.

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Christ at the Beach

I was visiting a young family who lived two short blocks from the ocean. “You should go take a walk on the beach,” the wife suggested as I was leaving. I was pressed for time, and rush hour was fast approaching. But it was a beautiful day, and I could smell the ocean breeze. “Why not, ” I thought. What’s an extra hour in traffic on a Friday afternoon anyway?

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Galatians 5:16-26 (3 Pentecost 2019, Proper 8C)

In our Old Testament reading, we heard about a burned out and dejected prophet Elijah who seems to have lost his way in the face of threats from Queen Jezebel. In the Gospel, we hear about three potential disciples whom Jesus seems to brush off as He sets His face to Jerusalem and His Good Friday cross. We’re not prophets like Elijah. We’re not potential recruits for discipleship. We’re baptized believers in Christ. We have been given to follow Jesus. Our struggle is not with the Jezebel’s of this world, though it may seem to be that way at times. Rather, our struggle is deep within us, a spiritual struggle of Flesh and Spirit.

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The driver of the car in front of me was attempting an impossible – and quite illegal – left turn. In the opposite lane, another driver was attempting an equally impossible- and just as illegal – U-turn. Gridlock ensued. I sat and watched the melodrama unfold in front of me.

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The little guy came into the sacristy with a question.

“Pastor,” he said looking up at me as I adjusted my stole, “Does church have to be boring?”

“Yes,” I replied with a smile. “That’s because church isn’t Disneyland and Jesus isn’t Mickey Mouse.”

He nodded politely with a look of understanding mixed with confusion and went back to his parents in the pew.

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Thirsty for God

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Psalm 42)

It was supposed to be just a short hike on a warm, sunny day. I left the ubiquitous water bottle in the car and was soon sorry for that decision. The warm dry air quickly dried out my mouth and throat. I was uncomfortable the entire time and missed much of the beauty of that little hike – the song of birds, the rustle of leaves, the smell of grass, the view.

We thirst for God, and in that thirst we miss the beauty that is all around us in nature, in our family, friends, and neighbors, in the world. Our thirst turns us inward on ourselves and our misery. It consumes our entire attention and robs us of the joy of the journey. The “thirst-quenchers” of this world, laced as they are with spiritual sugar and salt, just leave us thirsting for more.

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Welcome to my Pastor’s Blog. This is a space where I will post things of interest to our congregation, whether devotional, news, commentary, or just something that is on my mind at the moment. I will try to update this at least weekly to keep things current and in tune with the seasons.

We are entering the season of Pentecost, the “green season” of growth and life where we hear the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of Christ grow in our faith and love as His followers. The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life, who has conceived us in the water of Baptism and birthed us by our virgin Mother, the Church, to be the children of God, born from above in a spiritual birth. As children grow in knowledge and maturity, so do God’s children, as we mature from Baptism to our death and resurrection.. The Pentecost season teaches us the way of growth in knowledge, in faith in Christ, hope of eternal life, and love for one another..

You can find current sermons at this link and on the Sermons tab on this web site. These sermons are drawn from the notes of Sunday’s sermon and reflect its content in written style. Sermons tend to be rather intimate speech, intended for a particular group at a particular time and place. As one preacher put it, they are good only in certain locations and have expiration dates. My hope is that you will find these written versions edifying to your walk with Jesus.

Peace in Jesus Christ,