Coming Clean With Ourselves – A Sermon On Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

This is a great reflection on The Prodigal Son — perhaps the most important story for us in the Gospels.

Interrupting the Silence

Several years ago I was teaching a class about today’s gospel (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32), the Parable of the Prodigal Son. As soon as class was finished a man who had been sitting in the back of the room started coming toward me. I could tell he was upset. He was probably in his mid-seventies and had been very attentive during class but hadn’t said anything. 

“Prodigal Son icon” by bobosh_t is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0; Openverse 

What about the bath?
“What about the bath?” he demanded. “You didn’t say anything about the bath. Why didn’t you talk about the bath?” I told him I didn’t understand what he was talking about. He became more agitated and said, “You know where that kid had been!” “Yes,” I said, “in the pig pens of the distant country.” “And you know what he smelled like and what was on…

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Reimagining Our Lives – A Sermon On Luke 13:1-9 and Exodus 3:1-15

This is fabulous on the meaning of repentance being to enlarge our lives, to do what is ours to do.

Interrupting the Silence

Woman at sunset contemplating
Photo by Sage Friedman on Unsplash

As I reflected on today’s gospel (Luke 13:1-9) and prepared this sermon I thought about the Russian war on Ukraine, the six million covid deaths worldwide, the collision between a pick up truck and a van that killed nine last Tuesday, the death of my son and other tragedies in my life. 

Not much has changed since the time of Jesus. Tyrants are still acting, towers are still falling, and tragedies are still happening.

For me, those kind of events continue to raise questions about God, fairness, and mortality.

  • They challenge my beliefs, hopes, and illusions that there is some all-knowing, all powerful, Big Other, Magical Other, out there who, if I just believe, pray, and behave rightly, will make sure none of that happens to me or those I care about.
  • They contradict my notions of fairness and that you…

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Facing Our Greatest Temptation – A Sermon On Luke 4:1-13

I love this, because it is about going deeper into who we really are, not settling for a more shallow self-understanding. Being called, and responding from the depths.

Interrupting the Silence

Detail of the Fall of Man by By Hugo van der Goes, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

What comes to mind when you think about temptation? What tempts you? What is your greatest temptation today?  

I ask those questions because I think what we often call a temptation isn’t really a temptation. We often think about temptations as a struggle between ourselves and some other thing or person. We’re tempted to have another glass of wine or a second dessert. We’re tempted to give him or her a piece of our mind. We’re tempted to cheat on our taxes or tell a lie. We’re tempted by an attractive woman or man.

Those might be bad decisions, and we should probably say no, but I’m not sure they are temptations. I’ve begun to realize that my temptations aren’t a struggle between me and some other thing or person. They are a…

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Mortality And The Fragility Of Life – An Ash Wednesday Sermon On Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

This is wonderful, recognizing we are fragile, life is uncertain, but also that we hold treasures, in our earthenware selves.

Interrupting the Silence

Ash Wednesday – Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

A couple of months ago I stopped at McDonald’s early one morning to get a cup of coffee. And the young woman who waited on me, who looked all of about fifteen, smiled and said, “Sir, after your senior citizen discount it will be $1.56.” I had not asked for a discount. I did not know my mortality was showing.

I now regularly get letters from AARP, each one reminding me of my age. I am pretty sure that I do not yet qualify for the senior citizen discount or need AARP. And yet I’m also sure that life is fragile and mortality is real. I’ve experienced that in so many ways and I’ll bet you have too.

Ash Wednesday, Morality, Death, Resurrection, Sermon, Florida Shooting, Matthew 6:1-6 16-21 Parents wait for news after reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach ©…

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