Ephesians 5:22-33 / 23 August 2015

Several weeks ago, I commented that the supreme court and its decision regarding the legal status of gay marriage were not going to deflect us from hearing God’s Word and the assigned readings for that Sunday. One thing about life in the church is that we are not tyrannized by what the world deems “important” and the news media calls “urgent.” Late-breaking news does not define our family conversation. Our focus is on things eternal not things temporal.
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John 6:51-69 / 16 August 2015

How can this man give us his flesh to eat? The folks in Capernaum didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. And who really could blame them? “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” Has Jesus taken leave of His senses? Or is He just speaking “metaphorically,” a little over the top shock and awe to get the attention of dull ears just to see if they’re listening?
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John 6:22-35 / 2 August 2015

Free food always draws a crowd. It never fails. You want people to come out in droves? Offer free food. They’ll flock to it every time. There is nothing better than bread you don’t work for. No sweat of the brow involved here. All you can eat bread and fish from Jesus. Such a deal! The crowds flocked after Jesus. They even chased after Him in boats. Free food. Who can resist it? We elect politicians on the promise of a chicken in every pot, or at least today’s equivalent. Imagine it. The end to world hunger and welfare. No one goes hungry when Jesus doles out the bread and the fish. They just keep on multiplying endlessly. No more food banks, no more food stamps, no more work. Give us this day our daily bread, and poof! There it is.
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Mark 6:14-29 / 12 July 2015

See what happens when you mess around with politics and marriage? You lose your head to Herod. John wasn’t martyred for preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God. He lost his head for criticizing Herod’s shabby morals for shacking up with his brother’s estranged wife Herodias. John calls him out on it and gets in dutch with Herodias, who’s probably more of a political player than anything else. Her daughter does a seductive belly dance for Uncle Herod and his buddies at his birthday party and, in a fit of probably drunken magnanimity, offers the girl up to half his kingdom. She goes off to Mom who seizes the opportunity and asks for John’s head on a platter. So much for John. Exit stage left, down the stairs of moral activism.
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Mark 6:1-13 / 5 July 2015

Jesus returns home with his growing entourage of disciples. The local boy made good has come to the home congregation to preach to the hometown folks. The place was probably packed. The word had gotten back to Nazareth. He teaches with authority. He heals the diseased, casts out demons. He’s the complete messianic package. And who would have thought it? Jesus, Mary’s kid. The carpenter from Nazareth.
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Mark 5:21-41 / 28 June 2015

In Nomine Iesu

Today’s Gospel is a story of two daughters.  A 12 year-old girl, the daughter of a synagogue ruler named Jairus, and a woman who had suffered from a bleeding for 12 years, whom Jesus strangely calls “daughter.” Their lives are inextricably bound together by sickness, by death, by Jesus, who is Life and Healing, for them and for you too.
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Mark 1:14-20 / Epiphany 3B / 25 January 2015

In Mark’s version of the Gospel, everything happens “immediately.” In the Greek, euthus. At once. Without hesitation. “And immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” “And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed Him.” Immediately. If all you had was Mark’s version of the Gospel, you’d think it all happened in six months or so. One thing immediately after another.
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John 1:43-51 / Epiphany 2B / 18 January 2015

“Follow me.” That’s today’s word from Jesus for you, in your hearing, and in your Baptism. Those are the words that make you His disciple. Although the word “disciple” does not appear in this morning’s reading from the Gospel according to St. John, the text and theme is about discipleship. Jesus calls His first disciples, who happen to be Philip and Nathaniel. Not the front-running disciples we are used to hearing about – Peter, James, and John, but the somewhat “lesser” (if one can use such a term) and lesser known disciples Philip and Nathaniel. And in the encounter between Jesus with Philip and his brother Nathaniel, we learn a great deal about discipleship, about what it means to be a disciple, and also about the disciple-making mandate of the church.
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Mark 1:4-11 /Baptism of Our Lord B / 11 January 2015

Baptism is creative and creation is baptismal. That’s the connecting link in our readings this morning. Baptism is creative, a new creation, in which we are united with the death and life of Jesus, die to Sin and rise to life in Christ so that we can now consider ourselves dead to Sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. To be baptized is to be in Christ, and if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come.
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