On Awkward Family Meals

I read this week about a family gathered around a table for a nice Thanksgiving meal. Things were going well until Uncle Larry said, “Hey, Steve, you need to pay me back that $200 I loaned you last year.” And Steve said, “I don’t have the money to pay you back, Uncle Larry.” And Uncle…

The Woman who Anoints Jesus

Matthew 26:6-13 Lent is the time in the church year when we move toward the cross and, ultimately, to Easter. Lent is 40 days (not counting Sundays) of preparation for the holy celebration. Days to, perhaps, give up something in your life that is getting in the way of your relationship with God. Days to,…

Waiting for the Messiah

On this feast day of the Presentation, here is an excerpt from a sermon I preached several years ago on Luke 2:22-38. Do you see that old man, sitting in the corner? He’s easy to miss. Shuffles into the temple most every day. Shrunken, bent with age. Wandering awkwardly among the crowds until the weariness…

Power Belongs to God

On Saturday, January 13, at 8:07 a.m., residents and tourists in Hawaii got text messages on their phones and alerts interrupting their television programs telling them there was a “ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii.” “This is not a drill” the messages warned. Alerts like this would be frightening at any time, but considering the…

Isaiah 64: A Surprising God

About eleven years ago, world famous violinist Joshua Bell put on blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap and took his Stradivarius to a D.C. Metro station. As any good busker does, he threw some seed money in the case and started playing. Over a thousand people streamed by as he played for 45…

The Parable of the Three Servants

(Matthew 25: 14-30) It is convenient that the unit of money used in this parable gets transliterated as “talent.” So we don’t have to talk about money; we can just talk about our talents and how we should use them and not bury them—because surely we all want to enter into the joy of our…

A Word to the Wise

Reflections on the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Maidens Matthew 25: 1-13 Someone once told me there are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world in to two kinds of people, and those who do not. Rich and poor; men and women; Republicans and Democrats, believers and non-believers, liberal…