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Showing posts from May, 2013

Waging Peace

(A sermon baseed on Matthew 5:9 for the Sunday before Memorial Day)

Neil Young’s recent biography is entitled Waging Heavy Peace. Young has been trying to develop a digital music delivery system that is of superior quality to that which is presently available. Someone asked him if he was going to wage war against iTunes to which he replied, “No, I’m waging heavy peace.”

Waging heavy peace would be a good thing for the Church to do.

Famed World War II leader Gen. George Patton said, “Compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance. God help me, I do love it so.” With all due respect to the General, if he really did love it so, he needed God’s help. When you think, though, of the kind of focused energy, commitment, and sacrifice that a nation can muster during a time of war, you can see his point.

What if a nation were to mobilize to wage peace with the same kind of commitment with which we wage war? What if we counted as heroes those who give themse…

Inherit the Wind

(A sermon based on Acts 2:1-21 for Pentecost 2013)

What happened on Pentecost was that the Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Jesus who had assembled in Jerusalem following his ascension. He had told them to wait there until they were baptized with the Holy Spirit and, ten days after he ascended, they were still waiting.

And then, suddenly, the Spirit came; all at once the followers of Jesus received their inheritance from their Lord.

The coming of the Holy Spirit to those first believers was, to understate it terribly, a major event. And the Holy Spirit has remained in and with the Church ever since which is also, to understate it terribly, a big deal.

There is no point in seeking a scientific explanation for events like this one; what happened was an act of divine grace and God, being God, can offer God’s gifts in any way that God pleases. I could not resist, though, delving into a little science as I thought about the events of Pentecost, particularly as I tried to imagine…

Jesus Lives—In Our Unity!

(A sermon based on John 17:20-26 for the Seventh Sunday of Easter)

When a family manages, through all the turmoil and calm, through all the bad and good, through all the change and the sameness, to hang in there and still be a family, what is it that holds that family together? On Mother’s Day, we naturally expect the answer to be “Mother” or “Mom” or “Mama”—or whatever your family’s preferred title is. And that would be an accurate answer for many of our families, although for some it would be “Father” or “Grandparent” or “Big Sister or Brother” or “Foster Parent” or someone else. There often is a person who functions as the family’s “glue.”

The real answer to the question, though—and it’s an answer for which those other answers can and do stand—is “love.” The glue that holds a family together is love, and such love is selfless love, self-giving love, and self-sacrificing love. And such love leads the one who has it to offer a lot of prayer for the family.

The Church is a fam…

Above, Beyond, and Beside

(A sermon based on Luke 24:44-53 & Ephesians 1:15-23 for Ascension Day 2013)

Following his resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples and then, on that fortieth day, he ascended to take his place at the right hand of his Father. From there he rules over all that is and from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

This, then, is an awe-inspiring day. It is a day to celebrate the power of God and the lordship of Christ.

It is a day to celebrate the fact that Jesus is beyond us. After his resurrection he came back to his disciples but then forty days later he left them. Jesus Christ is the Son of God who left his place with the Father to come here as a human being who lived, died, and rose again. Then he ascended—he went back to be with his Father and in so doing he went somewhere that they could not go, at least not yet. So this is a good day to remember and to celebrate that Jesus Christ is beyond us. He is God and he is to be worshiped.

When Jesu…