Luke 14:25-35 / 8 September 2013

In reading Luke’s version of the Gospel, you always have to be aware on which side of chapter 9 verse 51 you are. Are you before or after? It is a line of demarcation, a turning point. Jesus had just appeared before three of His disciples in transfigured glory on the mountain, and then it says: “When the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem.” He never took His eyes off Jerusalem after that. The cross was His goal, and He was compelled to get there.
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Luke 14:1-14 / 1 September 2013

A Sabbath dinner with Jesus in the house of a Pharisee. You just know this is going to be good. A teachable moment, ripe with possibilities. The Pharisees are watching Jesus carefully. Waiting for Him to make a slip. Do or say something so they can pin a charge on Him.

Enter a man with dropsy. Just the sort of person you want dropping in on your nice little dinner party with Jesus. You’re just getting started with the appetizers and drinks and in walks this man with a distended gut and stands in front of Jesus.
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Fire, Baptism, Peace

Luke 12:49-53 / 13 Pentecost / 18 August 2013 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Just what you wanted to hear, I imagine. You expect peace from the Prince of Peace, and instead you get division. You expect Jesus to focus on the family and bring the family together, because, after all, the family that prays together is supposed to stay together, and you get Jesus saying He’s going to set father against son, mother against daughter, in-law against in-law, and divide houses of five, three to two. And will you be in the majority or the minority? And which will be on Jesus’ side?

This is the same Jesus who at His birth the angels sang of “Peace on earth”. The One who said “Peace I leave with you , my peace I give to you.” The One who said, “Peace be with you” to His frightened disciples. Here the Prince of Peace speaks of a fire, a baptism, and division.
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Holy Chutzpah

Luke 11:1-3 / 10 Pentecost (Proper) / 28 July 2013 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

“Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”  But, isn’t prayer something “natural”?  It isn’t.  We don’t know how to pray.  Prayer is anything but natural for a natural-born sinner.  We are born deaf to God’s Word and mute to prayer.  We must be taught.  The only prayer we can pray is “Lord, teach us to pray.”  And the Lord does. Continue reading

The End of Self-Justification

Luke 10:25-37 / Pentecost 7 (Proper C) / 14 July 2014 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

There was a man who fell among thieves on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. It was a dangerous road. The steady stream of pilgrims made it prime picking grounds for thugs and thieves alike. This man was probably returning home from Jerusalem when he was jumped by robbers who stripped him, beat him bloody, and left him for dead in the ditch at the side of the road.
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Luke 10:1-20 / 7 Pentecost (Proper) / 07 July 2013 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)

To be sent with authority is to be sent for certain. Jesus is sent from the Father to the world. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. He in turn sends others to go in His stead and by His command. With His authority. To hear one whom Jesus sends with His authority is to hear Jesus Himself. To reject one whom Jesus sends is to reject Jesus. And to reject Jesus is to reject the Father who sent Him.
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Great Forgiveness, Great Love

Luke 7:36-8:3 / Pentecost 5 (Proper 6C) / 16 June 2013 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

There are two kinds of sinners in the world. Those who recognize their sin and those who don’t. Those who recognize their sin are broken and contrite and confess their sin. Those who don’t recognize their sin are smug, self-righteous, and judgmental of others. Those who recognize their sin, recognize Jesus as the Savior of sinners. Those who don’t recognize their sin do not recognize Jesus and wonder, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” God’s desire is that you recognize your sin and so recognize your Savior and trust Him for your forgiveness. Those who recognize their sin are eager to hear forgiveness. Those who do not recognize their sin have no use for forgiveness. Both are sinners. Both are forgiven in Christ.
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“Do Not Weep”

Luke 7:11-14 / Pentecost 3 (Proper 5C) / 09 June 2013 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

It’s a rule at funerals – the younger the death, the bigger the crowd, the more grief and weeping there is. There is something deeply and profoundly tragic about death at a young age. No parent expects to bury a child. The grief is compounded at this funeral in Nain because the mother is also a widow. First her husband and now her only son. That meant not only the grief of death but also the uncertainty of the future. Her means of support died with her son. What would she do now?
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Protective Custody of Confusion

Genesis 11:1-9 / Pentecost C / 19 May 2013 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

Words. Without words there is no communication, no exchange of information and ideas, no communion, no community, no way to organize and mobilize. Without words we would be unable to reach out to another person, to have any form of meaningful relationship. You’ve probably had this experience, when you are in a foreign land or encounter someone from a foreign land. You don’t speak the same language. Aside from a few gestures and grunts, you can’t express much to each other much less order a ham sandwich and a Coke. Without common language and words we would be isolated individuals, left to ourselves and our thoughts without any way of expressing them.
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