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Sermons

Advent 3A (December 15, 2019)

The reading from James sticks out like a sore thumb. That’s probably in part because Lutherans hate James. Luther famously derided the book as “an epistle of straw.” But it’s also odd as we prepare for Christmas to read, “as an example of suffering and patience take the prophets,” and, …

Advent 2A (Dec 8, 2019)

John the Baptist points. John points away from himself toward God. It’s a crucial part of being Christian—point to God—and it’s why John gets his own Sunday, the second Sunday of each Church Year. John makes claims about God and expresses opinions about how to follow God—and we will talk …

Advent 1A (Dec 1, 2019)

Maybe it’s the onset of the holidays. Maybe it’s the realization that we really did eat that much this week. Maybe it’s the gathering darkness. I don’t know. This Gospel text is troubling, but it resonates with this time of year. It’s about something disturbing that we are supposed to …

Christ the King (Nov 24, 2019)

It is possible that no biblical verse causes more unintended theological debate than Luke 23:43: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Cuz we’ve got this whole theology of resurrection—you’re asleep in Christ and raised at the last—but apparently one of the guys crucified with …

Lectionary 33C (Nov 17, 2019)

Why do the people ask these questions? If we know what they want to know, that can help us understand Jesus’ answers. Jesus says, “the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another.” The people, who had been admiring the temple, ask, “When will this be, …

Lectionary 32C (Nov 10, 2019)

Job and Luke. Two books. Two questions.             Job questions God. We’re not sure what Job wants. Job’s obviously upset. We’ll get to details, presently. He wants his complaints written for posterity. Then he says he knows that his Redeemer lives, and that after Job dies, he will see God. …

Reformation Sunday (Oct 27, 2019)

John writes, “You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.” Jeremiah writes, “I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.” Know and be free, forgive and forget. Which is it?             God forgives. That’s not just a Lutheran slogan. It runs throughout the …

Lectionary 29C (Oct 20, 2019)

“When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket.” Robin Mattison, who was for years a professor of New Testament at Philadelphia Seminary, taught her students a little song about the Bible: “A hip is not a hip, a foot is …

Lectionary 26C (September 29, 2019)

Jesus breaks this story while he tells it. It’s a standard reversal of fortunes story. The rich man and Lazarus are caricatures. The rich man dresses in purple—plays dress up Caesar inside his mansion—he wears fine linen and feasts sumptuously. Then, poor Lazarus! He lies at the gate hoping for …

Lectionary 25C (September 22, 2019)

Jesus confronts the cruelty of the world with grace. There’s always more grace than the world can counter with cruelty, although this can be hard to believe. You take a text like our First Reading, Amos. For Amos, God’s concern is economics. Israel is rotting with inequality. Amos names a …