Sermon for 2/19/17: The Other Stuff in Leviticus

Leviticus 19 1-2, 9-18, Psalm 119:33-40, Matthew 5:38-48

Israel 2000

Israel 2000

He proclaimed the Gospel by being the Gospel. “And greater things than I do shall you do,” he said. It is not enough to heal the sick. Heal the systems that make them sick. It is not enough to visit the prisoners. Question that structures that imprison people.
— Verna J. Dozier in The Authority of the Laity

Sermon Notes

This week after writing and delivering my sermon, I stumbled on Verna Dozier's pamphlet on the laity.  Turns out my words are but a mere echo of her words some number of years ago.  Her main concern is how church people have abdicated their authority to the professional pastors.  It's a great read.  Also by way of notes, I reference Shane Claiborne in my sermon. I'm not a proselyte of his by any stretch, mostly because he's gotten a lot of attention for saying stuff we mainliners have been saying for ages.  But you can't beat his way with words.  This quote came in a Krista Tippet forum on Christians and Government, all evangelicals by the way.  Fascinating stuff with multiple perspectives.  Listen here!

Sermon for 1/29/17: Keeping Focus In Times of Turmoil

Micah 6:1-8, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Matthew 5:1-12

For Dick Blomquist: A veteran of WWII and a tender prophet for us now.   Jerusalem, May 2000

For Dick Blomquist: A veteran of WWII and a tender prophet for us now. 

Jerusalem, May 2000

Outside, the freezing desert night.
This other night inside grows warm, kindling.
Let the landscape be covered with thorny crust.
We have a soft garden in here.
The continents blasted,
cities and little towns, everything
become a scorched, blackened ball.

The news we hear is full of grief for that future,
but the real news inside here
is there’s no news at all.
— Rumi -- Translated by Coleman Barks

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.