I hope you all had a blessed Christmas. May love, peace, and joy be yours in the New Year!
Sermon Notes: I don't really have any -- I'm sure there are many Bible scholars out there who have written about the liturgical connections in this story. I don't think I'm saying anything new, but still worth saying nonetheless. Seeing here the clear sign pointing to Word and Sacrament is a beautiful thing.
I did have some helpers though -- some visual aids and you hear my pointing to them throughout the sermon so thank you for the patience in this second-hand listening experience.
Acts 8:26-40 and John 20:19-31
Scripture readings follow the alternative lectionary outlined in Brian McLaren's book We Make the Road by Walking (reference and public library).
Question of the Week
When have you found yourself residing in another person's tomb? When did you come out of it? What happened immediately before your departure? What happened after?
Luke 19:29-46 and Psalm 122
Scripture readings follow the alternative lectionary outlined in Brian McLaren's We Make the Road by Walking (reference and public library).
A few weeks ago, I scanned the chapter for Palm Sunday in Brian McLaren's book. Chapter Thirty-Two is entitled "Peace March." I think I've imagined the Palm Sunday processional as protest before, but with that simple McLaren phrase, it became all the more palpable. It just hit me that much harder. So thank you, Brian McLaren! At the same time, I was listening to a Krista Tippett interview with Patrisse Cullors and Robert Ross. They talk about the soul and protest. Not my insight, by any stretch. Turns out, demonstrating even has health benefits. Anyway, all this swirled around as I thought about North County and our attitudes and the frustration I sometimes experience in teaching about the political Jesus. The historical context I offered regarding Jesus as political person comes from Reza Aslan's book, Zealot (reference and public library). While I would argue with a number of his interpretations and his biblical analysis in the book, the contextual information he gives is really helpful in understanding the turbulent environment of Jesus' day. My reflection on a political Jesus also holds a frustration I also have with myself and my commitments. Just sayin'. And out of the chaos and wondering about ALL of that emerged this sermon. I hope you feel as challenged by it as I was writing it. Plus, here's the ever-inspiring Krista Tippett. It's one of the sanest discussions I've heard about Black Lives Matter. Thought provoking, challenging personally and professionally.
Question of the Week
What's your protest story? How did it change you?
Exodus 34:29-35 and Luke 9:28-43
This week we break from Brian McLaren's We Make the Road by Walking and dip momentarily into the Revised Common Lectionary to celebrate the Transfiguration of our Lord.
So I'm a little behind in posting my sermons. Got some much needed rest. But I'll be caught up in the next two days. I will not be posting my Ash Wednesday sermon, but I'll post the sermon from Valentine's Day shortly. In the meantime, if you need a little Transfiguration rewind now that we are in Lent, take a listen!
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22, 4:1-30, 5:1-11
Suggested Scripture Readings from Brian McLaren's We Make the Road by Walking with my own additions.
Thank you for having me as your guest last weekend, St. Mary's Episcopal Church of Barnstable, Massachusetts. Although in my sermon, I poke fun at the caricatures of our denominations, I was so glad to be with you for a morning, anonymous and nurtured.
I used A Shy Person's Guide to the Practice of Evangelism as inspiration for this week's message. It was published in 2004 by the Massachusetts Diocese of the Episcopal Church. Want your own copy? Click here.
My reflections on Christian community are drawn in part from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's classical work, Life Together. Click to link.
About the Photo
This was or Advent Hope Tree at church. I took some branches and wrapped them in blue yarns. Then my daughter and I made hanging ornaments out of a photo taken of stars by an astronomer friend of ours. Meanwhile, at church, we collected names of groups and causes that could use a bit of prayer and financial love for all their tireless work. We hung an ornament with the name of each one on the back of it. We had a couple rounds of voting on where to send our Christmas Eve offering. The giving that night was roughly $2,800 in undesignated funds. That means that the El Camino Homeless Shelter, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, and the Homeless Animal Rescue Team in Cambria will each receive $900+. Click the links on each if you want to know about these organizations. Way to go Bethel Community!
For an unbelievably lovely reading of the poem Annunciation by Marie Howe, listen here:
The full report released by the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County detailing the needs of women in this region -- I hope you find the report as surprising as I do.
Daniel 7:9-28 and Luke 1:67-79
Suggested Scripture Readings from We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren
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.