The Mountain of Fear and the Mountain of Joy

[This reflection is excerpted from a sermon I preached on Hebrews 12:18-29. You can find the full text here and the audio here.]     Generally, I find the section headings in Bibles less than helpful. But the section heading for this week’s scripture stopped me in my tracks: “The Mountain of Fear and the…

On Being Church

*This reflection is excerpted from a sermon based on Matthew 18:15-20 that  I preached about three years ago. (Funny how the lectionary works like that!) – – – – – The Greek word that gets translated as “church”–ekklesia–shows up on only two occasions in the Gospels. Both in Matthew. The first is: “You are Peter,…

Reflections on Matthew 16:21-28

The other day as I was clicking around online, I came across a blog written by a fellow Mennonite pastor. I liked what she had to say in her most recent entry, so clicked on the little button near the top of my screen that said “Follow this Blog.” I follow several blogs and some…

Reflections on Exodus 3

Moses has a thousand reasons to stay right there with the sheep, not the least of which is the fact that, as far as he knows, Pharaoh still wants him dead. But with or without a warrant hanging over our heads, speaking truth to power is hard. It’s not something most people do readily. It’s…

On the Trinity

There is a story about the great theologian, Augustine of Hippo. One day after he had been writing about the Trinity for awhile, he decided to take a break and go walk along the beach. He came across a boy who had a bucket.  He would fill up the bucket, run up the hill, and…

Jesus Gives the Spirit

*John 14:15-27; John 20:19-23 In John 14, the Farewell Discourse, Jesus tells his disciples not to be afraid. Now in John 20 we see the disciples scared for their lives, hiding behind locked doors. In both passages, Jesus offers them peace in the midst of their fear. And then Jesus breathes on them and says,…