“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27: 1-2 Continue reading
Over the years I have preached a number of Epiphany sermons here, as Brent often takes time away during the season. One particularly memorable one was three years ago. It was the conjunction of three significant events: the inauguration of a new president, Martin Luther King Day and the first Woman’s March. My sermon was called “Looking for Light in the Shadow of Death.” I worked hard on it, and indeed, I still think it was one of the best sermons I ever wrote. Sadly, it is not the best sermon I ever gave, because some of you will recall the plumbing failed us that morning, and the toilets weren’t working, so we abbreviated the service and sent everybody home. There’s a parable in there somewhere, although I’m not sure what it is.
So here I am, and here we are, three years later with the same text: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who lived in the shadow of death, on them has light shined.” Continue reading
The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews doesn’t subscribe to the popular axiom that “seeing is believing.” On the contrary, for him faith is believing in that which cannot be seen.
I wouldn’t disagree with him, but I would add that I have seen enough in my life to confirm such a faith in things not seen. Continue reading
Advent is my favorite season of the church year. It has a different feel to it than the other seasons. There is a sense of yearning in Advent. A sense of anticipation. It is a time of watching and waiting. A time to remind ourselves that there are forces at work beyond our control. Continue reading
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. – Colossians 3:1 (NRSV)
On Easter Day we all sang “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” as we joyfully celebrated the astonishing claim that God raised Jesus from the dead.
Resurrection is not a once-a-year happy moment, but a living reality in the lives of Christians. I am always deeply moved at baptisms by the church’s bold assertion that “we die with Christ in a death like his, and are raised to life with him to live a new kind of life.”
“A new kind of life” sounds pretty good to me since the old kind of life I have lived often has left a lot to be desired. Those “new kind of life” promises—resurrection promises—remind me that Christ keeps working in me and through me and with me. And not just me as a lone individual, but me as a member of his church, his body, his fellowship.
When Christians say, “if Jesus were alive today…” I know that they merely mean “if Jesus was still walking around and talking as he once did in ancient Galilee.” But the truth of his risen and continuing life with us is even more astonishing than his earthly life.
The risen life means that in life, in death, and in life beyond death, we are not alone. In life, in death, and in life beyond death, Jesus is with us. Because Jesus is alive today!
Living Christ, may we grow more and more each day into the risen life we share with you
Prosperity is good, right? But it comes with challenges to both nations and individuals. American society is admired throughout the world as industrious and productive. Americans work many more hours than most others in the industrial world and they take fewer vacations. Continue reading
One of his disciples said to Jesus, “Teach us to pray.” It is a simple request. Perhaps you are perfectly comfortable praying, but many church people are not. As the Presbyterian theologian Robert McAfee Brown wrote: “Prayer for many is like a foreign land. When we go there, we go as tourists. Like most tourists, we feel uncomfortable and out of place. Like most tourists, we therefore move on before too long and go somewhere else.”
The premise of this sermon is that we could all benefit from thinking about what prayer is and how to go about it, that we may stop feeling like tourists in a foreign land and more like pilgrims in the house of prayer. Continue reading