Sermons & Blog

Us vs Them

Strong language in today’s gospel. To me, Jesus sounds angry. In fact this is the angriest that I have ever experienced Jesus. Angrier than when he entered the temple and overturned the tables. Angrier than any of his heated exchanges with the scribes and Pharisees. Angrier than when he told Peter to “get behind me Satan” in our gospel two weeks ago. What is going on here? Why the strong language? Why the anger? It’s a challenging gospel. The first time I read it, it seemed disjointed. John’s question about an exorcist. Giving a cup of water. Stumbling blocks and millstones. Drowning. Cutting off limbs. Going to hell. And then I remembered that the whole time that Jesus is spea

Service

Not long ago, I went out to a restaurant for dinner. It was a busy place, so we made a reservation in advance. When we arrived, I have to say that the service was really good. “Welcome, Mr. Whittall, we have your table right here.” The server was friendly, showed us to the table, and did everything he could to help us enjoy a nice evening, definitely exceeded our expectations. At the end of the evening, we got the bill promptly, paid with a credit card, and I added the usual tip. When he saw it, an unmistakeable look of disappointment spread across our server’s face, though he hid it quickly. I guess he’d been hoping for a better tip. A few days later, I went for a breakfast sandwich

Follow Me. Even If.

Jesus says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” That’s rough. That’s a hard saying. But when I read it this week, it reminded me, strangely enough, of something I’d seen in an advertisement for shoes. “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” This is Colin Kaepernick. Some of you know his story. Kaepernick was a star quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, taking his team to the Super Bowl in 2012. But by 2016 he decided that he needed to do something to protest racial injustice in the United States, including the deaths of numerous black people at the hands of police, Alton Sterling, Trayvon Marti

"Be Open"

Jesus went to a foreign land, on the other side of the Jordan River. When he arrived, they brought to him a deaf man, and he said to him, “Ephphatha. Be Open!” That seems like a pretty good place to begin our new year together. Be open! Whose are the voices that you don’t usually hear? What points of view are you quick to dismiss? Which people do you not usually see? Be Open! It is the beginning of a new school year. It is a time of new beginnings after the summer break. For some of us that means new homes, new schools, new courses, new jobs, new projects, new churches. We will be in places we’ve never been before, we will meet people that we’ve never met before, we will hear things tha

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