Sermon for 2/21/16: In the Beatitude Place

Matthew 5:1-16

Scriptures follow the suggested weekly readings of Brian McLaren in We Make the Road by Walking (click here for reference and library).  We are one week behind his course in reading through the Sermon on the Mount during Lent.  Next week, we will combine chapters to be on schedule for Easter.

Petals in Lent  Photo Credit: Autumn Beveridge                                    Cambria, 2016

Petals in Lent  Photo Credit: Autumn Beveridge                                    Cambria, 2016

Sermon Notes
This week, we grounded our reflection on the opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount in the the work of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.  Click the link to see the video we watched as a congregation.  Explore the LIRS website for more video testimonials and opportunities to advocate for refugees and immigrants.  Our congregation designated this agency to receive a portion of our Christmas Eve offering.

Brian McLaren, like many a scholar and preacher before him, interprets these words of Jesus as proclamation rather than prescription.  I do to.  The emphasis is squarely on the identity of God's people, not on a program of redemption.  That's not to take a way from the call to stand in a particular place.  Refer to his chapter, A New Identity, for a closer read of the quote I offer in the sermon.  It's a helpful paraphrase of the Beatitudes in contemporary language.

This Week's Sermon: When the Stars Begin to Fall

Daniel 7:9-28 and Luke 1:67-79

Suggested Scripture Readings from We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren

Boston   1999

Boston   1999

Sermon Notes
Here's a link to a poem by Jane Kenyon.  I read her beautiful words to begin Advent worship.
 

I did a fair amount of research preparing for this sermon, mostly because talking about apocalyptic literature in the Bible is so complicated especially given recent world events in the Middle East and Europe. Click titles to links. Here's a good introduction to the Book of Daniel in the New American Bible from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Graham Beynon has some useful material as well in his article The Message of Daniel -- thoughtful reflection on the questions the biblical author pushes us toward like our relationships as people of faith and as Americans to foreign nations.  Although, I should say I do not fall into his camp dating the Book of Daniel to the 6th Century BCE.  I'm with the historical-critical school on this one.  And of course, can't leave out the Lutherans.  Although written in the 1990s, this article by Wendell W. Frerichs titled "How Many Weeks until the End?" has helpful language you will hear infusing the sermon.  He very helpfully says that the visibility of violent regimes signals their impending decay, a major talking point near the close of my sermon. Such a great thought for our times! 

Here's a link to the referenced David Brooks op-ed on resilience and storytelling:



I read a passage aloud on the difference between hoping and wishing from We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren to close worship.  It's in Chapter 14.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of resources.  Hope some of it is helpful to you along the way.
 

 

The Great Press of Humanity: Creation 1

Genesis 1:1-2:3; Psalm 19:1-14; Matthew 6:25-34

Suggested Scripture Readings from We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren

The Fourth Day     Boston, 1999

The Fourth Day     Boston, 1999

Sermon Notes

·       This sermon marks the beginning of a series structured by and in conversation with We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren.

·       Aside from Jesus, the core message of belonging to each other was inspired by a comment made by a congregation member several years ago about Genesis 1 and the value of belonging.  A radio interview with John A. Powell by Krista Tippett resurfaced that language and summoned this sermon as a response. Hear the whole interview with Powell here: http://bit.ly/1g95CEv

·       For more on the refugee crisis in Europe visit: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/10/10-truths-about-europes-refugee-crisis

·       Language describing Jesus in the breach is a nod to Psalm 78 about Moses.