Sermons from 2017
Every synagogue has a Ner Tamid, an Eternal Light that hangs somewhere above the Ark, where the Torah is kept. But the synagogue where I grew up in Phoenix was special. It had two Eternal Lights: one soft, glowing, golden one set high up in the towering Ark, and a bigger, brighter one like a traveler’s lamp that hung from the ceiling. We got the bigger one because people who visited our synagogue kept complaining that we didn’t have a…
When you leave here tonight, if it’s very quiet, listen for the song of the angels.
When the people looked back to the words of the prophets, they could often see their own time and situation, described in the prophetic vision.
There are so many interesting, beautiful, perplexing stories told around the birth of Jesus. But one that has fascinated me for a long time is the genealogy of Jesus, which opens the Gospel of Matthew.
Maybe you too, like the author of Isaiah, have been so fed up with the world around you, the way things seem to be, that in complete exasperation you have shook your fist at the heavens and declared “Oh, that you would rip open the heavens and descend!”
the paradox at the heart of our tradition, that our God is a merciful judge; that the one who preaches a way that is narrow has a love that reaches wide; the one who is all powerful walks each day beside us.
These stories are a wake-up call for us, a reminder to keep awake to what God has done.
Go and do that which is still left undone to do.
This time of big change in our church is an opportunity for us to re-centre ourselves in the radical heart of our faith, this story of a powerful, saving, reconciling love that knows no limits.
A meditation for World Food Day
Church is a holy mess. And it always has been. We come as patches of the quilt, willing to be formed into God’s beautiful tapestry.
This is part of that countercultural, alternative reality I keep talking about. How the church is very unlike the world.
God is alive and active, roving amongst us even today.
Our opportunity today is to recover this sense of what the church is, an outpost of the kingdom of heaven, a community unlike any other, a place where God’s will is done on earth, as in heaven.
For God’s will to be done on earth, here in the church, as it is in heaven, then love must always be our guide!
Here’s the thing to remember: God’s love is not mere sentiment; it’s much, much more than a sentiment.
I’ve come to believe that how we answer these two questions—Who is Jesus? and What is the purpose of the Church?—is of fundamental importance to us as a church.
It may seem scary at first, but we need to trust that it is also exciting. It can be exciting for us to rekindle our faith, and to see how knowing Jesus is transforming the lives of people who are new to us.
What is required is not that we be rescued from above when we are in need, but that we share the strength and the resources that God has given us to care for each other.
The challenge, the task for us is to find a way to retrieve or recover a healthy connection to the treasures of our tradition: the kinds of things that we do when we gather here each Sunday, through the prayers and the singing, the sacraments and Scripture, through an encounter with the Holy Spirit, the risen Christ, the living God.
Here the sower calls us all together, mixed bag and all, into the ministry that is Christ-like, in the life of the church and for the sake of the world.
Our calling is not to be popular. It is to be faithful stewards of the Gospel.
Our job is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.
This is Good News for us because it means that God is with us wherever we go, that God joins us in every venture God calls us to, and that God indeed will provide.
At the heart of this story is the question of who’s in and who’s out. How does any social group decide who’s part of ‘us’ and who belongs to ‘the other’.
The Pentecost story of speaking new languages is a reminder to us of how the Spirit gifts us and empowers us to do what we otherwise couldn’t do, or wouldn’t do.