Can these Bones Live?

This week I saw a vision of bones. Well, more of an image than a vision. One might call it a photograph. There was a long table with colorful cloths folded and placed along both sides. On each folded cloth was a human skull. These were skulls of Native Americans. Bones that had been collected…

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…

“its thread looping”

Jesus, Jesus. Did you hear? There were these people from Galilee, they were faithful, made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices at the temple. And then. And then. These men. Pilate’s men. They just killed them. Slaughtered them right there in the temple. The blood of the people mixed with the blood of…

My Favorite Bible Story that’s not in the Bible

The following is an excerpt from a sermon I preached on Matthew 17:24-27. This was the last sermon in our summer series: Who is Jesus?. I’ve always loved this quirky story, but I only recently realized how many assumptions I have made about it. Like the assumption that Jesus actually did pay the temple tax.…

Worship Pieces: Holy Spirit

Call to Worship Come, Holy Spirit, The wind of God, the breath of Life. Come, Holy Spirit, Our Advocate, our Counselor. Come, Holy Spirit, Teacher of Wisdom, Reminder of Christ. Come, Holy Spirit, Granter of forgiveness, giver of peace. Come, Holy Spirit. May we feel God breathing through our worship. May we receive the Holy…

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…

Nicodemus and Being “Born Again”

–John 13:1-17 Rev. Dr. Alyce McKenzie, professor of preaching and worship at Perkins School of Theology, was sitting in the waiting area of her local discount tire store. She was reading a magazine when a pamphlet appeared in front of her face: “How to be born again.” “Have you been born again?” The earnest 40-something…