Tag Archives: Gospel of Matthew
Do I Matter?
Instead, think about it the other way around. Every act of violence, and every act of adultery, started with a thought. And the act, the crime, was somewhere inside that thought. Maybe the thought popped up a thousand times before the crime came out. But every time, it was there. It was ready for our weakness. It was ready for our cooperation. It was ready for the right moment. Because our thoughts are powerful. Our minds are incredibly powerful. We can imagine a million things that won’t come about, good or bad. Only some of those things we imagine ever do.
And maybe that’s true! Maybe people really don’t need a forty-year-old suburban dad in a uniform to show up and recite a script when you may only have a few hours or days to live. To stand outside the hospital and pray for you in case you don’t have anyone else to do it. “Deliver your servant.” Part of me hopes it’s true, that no one needs that, because it’s certain that few people get it.
The Bad-Christian Affirmation
Today you go in boats and you cast your nets and you catch fish for the market. Tomorrow you will go by foot and cast the net of your words and your deeds and you will gather people for the kingdom of God. Today you mend nets. Tomorrow you will mend hearts and bodies. Today you scrape and scheme and struggle to have something you can sell. Tomorrow you will scrape and scheme and struggle to have something to give away.
Ash Wednesday: Rent Hearts
“Hardness of heart” is a powerful metaphor. Because that’s how we live and make our choices: one at a time, little by little, day by day. We don’t feel the sclerosis of our hearts because it doesn’t happen all at once. We just lose that softness a little bit each day. We lose that responsiveness to God, or to conscience, or to our neighbor. At first it was hard to ignore the voice of God, but it got easier every time. A hard spiritual heart, like a hard physical one, eventually just stops working.
Ash Wednesday: The People Between
(Note: I preached this sermon at Messiah Lutheran Church on Ash Wednesday 2017) Sisters and brothers, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Lent: it arrives every year whether you need it or not. Worship becomes a bit more somber and reflective. We give something up, a luxury […]
Ash Wednesday: Returning from Dust
(Note: I preached this sermon at Messiah Lutheran Church on Ash Wednesday, 2012) Sisters and brothers, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. When the LORD God chose to make a human being, the story goes, he knelt down in the dust of the earth. The LORD […]
Ash Wednesday: Sleight of Hand
(Note: I preached this sermon at Messiah Lutheran Church on Ash Wednesday, 2014) Sisters and brothers, grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. I have an incurable fascination with illusion. I grew up loving those eye-tricking drawings by M.C. Escher, the ones where the staircase is going […]
Ash Wednesday: Starting Again
(Note: I preached this sermon at Messiah Lutheran Church on Ash Wednesday, 2013) Sisters and brothers, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. About this time twelve years ago, I wandered into Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. I was studying a […]
“We Didn’t Know It Was You”
A child who grows up singing “Silent Night,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “Away in a Manger” may be forgiven for imagining that nothing could be more delightful than to be born in a stable.
Sermon Rewind: The King in his Court
(Note: I preached this sermon on the Feast of Christ the King in 2008 at Wicker Park Lutheran Church). Sisters and brothers, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Imagine, for a moment, that it is England in the 14th century, and you are an ordinary person […]