On Being Overwhelmed

  The women go to the tomb with spices, the stone is already rolled away, and suddenly two men in dazzling clothes show up, say “Jesus is not here, but has risen,” and the women blunder off to tell the apostles “all this.”   The men regard the women’s talk as—it’s usually translated “an idle…

We Tell the Truth

This post is excerpted from a sermon on Matthew 28:1-15, preached at Peace Mennonite Church on April 16, 2017. When we talk about witnesses to the resurrection, we almost always—and only—talk about the women. The faithful women were the ones who heard the angel message, saw the empty tomb, and went to tell people that…

Easter Worship Pieces

Call to Worship (from Isaiah 65 and John 20) In the light of this Easter morning God is doing something new! New heavens. New earth. New life. Weeping turns to joy. Sorrow to delight. Be glad and rejoice. The stone is rolled away. The grave clothes lie in a heap. Jesus, who was dead, is…

Small Easter

  A few years ago I audited a class at St. Paul seminary on “Preaching and the Short Story.” There was a story on the syllabus with “Easter” in the title, and I kept thinking I should read that before I wrote my Easter sermon. So this story title, “Small Easter,” kept rattling around in…

Matthew’s Marys: Thoughts on the Resurrection

[This post is adapted from a sermon on Matthew 28:1-10] A rather interesting discussion emerged on my Facebook page this week about Easter sermons. Many were lamenting how difficult they are; a couple were suggesting that there is no need to even preach on Easter–that the story speaks for itself. And then my college chaplain…

Remember and Remind–Thoughts on Easter

*Below is the last part of my Easter sermon from this past Sunday (Luke 24:1-12). You can find the entire sermon here. I know that Easter sermons usually focus on the women–their faithfulness, their witness. Or maybe on the men and their disbelief. Or, if we preachers just want to go for the obvious, we…

Monday Prayer Practice: Coloring!

The church I serve is pretty non-traditional, but we do have some traditions. One of them is that the children are invited to color the bulletins every Easter. We have a potluck breakfast before worship, and when the kids finish eating they can gather around a table with a stack of bulletins and assorted crayons,…

Holy Week

I’ve decided to cancel Lent next year. I’m pretty sure, as a (still) ordained part-time Mennonite pastor, I have that kind of power. I mean, I have a card in my wallet signed by the conference minister. So be looking for the headlines: No Lent Next Year. Last year a dear church member and friend…

Easter Calls to Worship

With Matthew  28:1-10 The earth is shaking.Are angels descending?The tomb is before us.Is the stone rolling back?It’s bright as lightening, blinding as the sun reflecting off of snow.Of course we are afraid.But we need not tremble.We need not become like the dead.Because the tomb is emptyand we are calledfirst to worshipthen to go with joyand…

Post-Easter Sestina

Reading the Bible and writing poetry in a quiet house.  Life is good today. Thank you for your words for my sestina.  The poem I wrote is below.  If you’ve written one, I’d love to see it!  You can send it to me via the “Contact” page–and let me know if I am allowed to…