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July 08, 2011

Jacob, Despite Jacob

by Jake Wilson 
In Preaching and Reading the Lectionary: A Three-Dimensional Approach to the Liturgical Year, O. Wesley Allen Jr. advocates for a what he calls a cumulative preaching strategy that focuses more on the sweep of a year’s worth of preaching than any one particular sermon.  As Allen explains “all pastors know (or at least hope), deep in their hearts, that the great power of preaching lies less in the individual sermon and more in the cumulative effect of preaching week in and week out to the same congregation, to the same community of believers, doubters and seekers…sermons offered Sunday after Sunday, month after month, year after year weave together to have an immeasurable cumulative influence on individuals’ and the congregation’s understanding of God, self, and the world.” (ix)  To that end, Allen examines the patterns of the lectionary and the way the lectionary can be used a whole year at a time.


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June 27, 2011

(Mis)Remembered Words

by Brian Volck
Zechariah 9:9-10; Matthew 11:25-30

In an October 13, 1813 letter to his former political rival, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson described his work on a short book, The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth. This was Jefferson’s own distillation of gospel texts, in which he meant to include, “the very words only of Jesus,” while eliminating all elements Jefferson deemed irrational.  Jefferson assumed the parts he found superstitious were simply the result of ignorant men who misremembered or misunderstood Jesus’ “pure principles.” 

When he was done with his editing, Jefferson wrote, “There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man. I have performed this operation for my own use, by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book, and arranging the matter which is evidently his, and which is as easily distinguishable as diamonds in a dunghill.”


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June 20, 2011

Here I Am

by Janice Love
Pentecost 2, Year 2 (Sunday, June 26, 2011): Genesis 22: 1-14, Psalm 13, Romans 6: 12-23, Matthew 10: 40-42

Here we are.  The latest Advent to Easter cycles of the Christian seasons have now been rounded out by the great gift of the Spirit at Pentecost, the formation of the church and time to reflect on the Trinitarian God we worship.  The church, now equipped with everything it needs to proclaim to the world Christ, crucified and risen, begins the long season after Pentecost of ever deepening discipleship.  And what a story we have to start off with – Genesis 22! 


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June 14, 2011

Family Ties

by Jenny Williams
Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Matthew 28:16-20

One of our church members, Sally, is serving a sentence in a regional jail.  She joined our church on Pentecost last year, and though she had been baptized as a child, had never been brought up in church.  She’s had very little Christian formation, so she set out to use her incarceration to engage in an intense study of the Bible.  The growth that she is experiencing during this time is phenomenal.  As they say in my neck of the woods, “The Holy Spirit has really gotten hold of her.” 

When I visited her this week, in a very excited voice she said to me right off the bat, “I finally understand what family is all about!”  She went on to tell me that a woman in her family, Kelly, just discovered that man she had always known as her father was not indeed her biological father.   This discovery completely rocked Kelly’s world.  In despair, Kelly asked Shawn in one of their visits, “Will you still be my family member?”


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June 11, 2011

“What’s Up”

An Ascension Sermon by Ed Searcy
(please note Ed’s diagnosis and pray for him)

Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53

“I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers” (Eph. 1:15-16). Sometimes Paul is frustrated with the church. Sometimes he is exasperated with the church. Sometimes he is just plain mad at the church. But not always. When Paul prays for the little church in Ephesus he is filled with gratitude for a congregation that trusts its life to Jesus and, as a result, has an abundance of love for one another. I know what it is to be filled with gratitude for a congregation that trusts its life to Jesus and, so, is marked by love and affection for one another. Three weeks ago, when the doctors confirmed their suspicions and told me that I have multiple myeloma, I was shocked and sad and grateful.


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June 06, 2011

A Quieter Pentecost

by Brian Volck
Acts 2:1-11(or 2-21); 1 Corinthians 12: 3-13; John 20:19-23

The Catholic Church’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is, ideally, a process lasting many months, during which unbaptized catechumens and baptized but unconfirmed candidates learn from and discern with sponsors and other members of the church community they hope to become part of. My home parish takes this seriously. While the rite is meant to lead to reception into the church at the Easter Vigil, there’s no rushing, no shortcuts, no simply going with the flow. The rigor and probing reflection often make me wish I hadn’t completed my own initiation so young.

From Easter to Ascension, newly-received members (called neophytes, which means “new living things”) wear their white robes each Sunday at liturgy. Like all of us, though far more visibly, they are engaged in mystagogy, forever entering the bottomless mystery of Christ and his people. On Ascension Day, after the readings have been broken open in the homily and just before the neophytes publicly set aside their white garments, one of their number is invited to share some thoughts on his or her experience.


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May 31, 2011

Gospel Sequel

by Doug Lee
Ascension Sunday
Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53

“Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”

While last month’s headline grabbing prediction of Jesus’ return, the rescue of believers from the earth to heaven, and the onset of tribulation for an unbelieving world (now revised to October) belongs to an extremist Camp(ing), the basic eschatological question underlies much of American Christianity.

The apostles’ question sounds contemporary two millennia later as believers gaze heavenward and count down until the end of the world, while others with a less definite timetable still await a rapture.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the divide, scoffing at such expectations is easy, especially after announced deadlines pass. Jesus’ own response resounds as an all-too-obvious rebuke to Rapture-enraptured Christians: “It is not for you to know the times that the Father has set by his own authority.”


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May 25, 2011

The Close-at-Hand God

by Debra Dean Murphy
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Psalm 66:8-20; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21

“On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”  John 14:20

For several weeks now the doomsday prophecy of one Harold Camping has been on the minds of many. First, it was the shared anticipation as the projected date got closer—and the requisite jokes about being left behind. Then it was the (no-surprise) failure of the prediction which resulted in . . . more jokes about being left behind.

Attempts to counter Camping’s misguided views consisted mostly of pointing to passages in the New Testament which speak to the unknowability of the “day or hour” of the Lord’s return. But such proof-texting did little to challenge the core flaw of rapture theology—its fundamental misreading of biblical eschatology. Within the last few days, thankfully, thoughtful essays have appeared which have noted that “tribulation” is a past and present reality, not a future horror for the damned, and that matter—bodies, earth, the stuff of life—matters deeply to the God who restores and makes all things new. I also penned some thoughts (shameless plug alert) on the connections between eschatological time and the exquisite new French film Of Gods and Men.


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May 19, 2011

Preparing for Departure

by Jake Wilson 
This week’s lectionary reading leads us into the farewell discourse (John 13.31-17.26) as Jesus prepares the disciples for his departure.  It can seem a little disorienting to follow up a month’s worth of post-resurrection appearances with Jesus preparing his disciples for his looming death on the cross. 

After all, for the last several weeks we have celebrate that Jesus is alive and on the loose, appearing in locked rooms, in gardens and on the road to Emmaus.  However, the day of Ascension is fast approaching and the lectionary readings of the next two weeks use the farewell discourse to prepare us for the Ascension of the resurrected Christ. 


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May 10, 2011

Followers

by Janice Love
Easter 4:  Acts 2:42-47, Psalm 23, 1 Peter 2: 19-25, John 10: 1-10

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers…All who believed were together and had all things in common;  they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.  Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people…

So – what the hell happened?  Luke’s description of the early church, after the disciples’ baptism in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and Peter’s surprisingly fearless sermon, is certainly a rosy one.  Where is this church, because I want to go there?! 

Perhaps Paul’s account of the struggles at the church in Corinth better match our own experience of the church in North America. Paul’s eloquence in his reflections on the cross of Christ, on his resurrection and on Christian love shine sharply, like the clarity of light before an approaching storm, amidst the sordid reality of Corinth’s church.


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May 04, 2011

What’s goin’ on?

by Jenny Williams
Luke 24:13-35

“Are you the only person who doesn’t know what’s been going on for the past few days?” Apparently Jesus had not been reading Facebook. Or listening to NPR. Or reading the newspaper.

Seriously—how could this guy not know what’s been happening? In the last few days the whole world has been in an uproar over the death of one man. Some people thought he should be killed. Others mourned his loss. Others didn’t know what to think.

Sound familiar? One man, killed at the hands of the government, whom many religious people were glad to see murdered.

The death of Osama bin Laden has dominated discourse over the past week. In the wake of his death, some people are throwing parties, some are ready to break out the duct tape and plastic sheeting, and the rest of us are watching the world go mad. Again.


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April 25, 2011

Seeing the Lord

by Kyle Childress
John 20:19-31

The Gospel Lesson the Second Sunday of Easter is always John 20:19-31 and the story of Thomas missing out on seeing the risen Christ that Easter evening.  When told, by the other disciples, that they had seen the Lord, Thomas says, “I won’t believe it until I can touch his scars.”  A week later he made sure he was present with the community of disciples, and sure enough he saw the Lord.

Thomas did not see the risen Lord the first time, because the resurrection of Christ makes no sense apart from the community of his disciples.

Early in the movie The Big Lebowski, Walter is talking to Dude.  Donny, their other close friend, keeps trying to interrupt and ask a question.  Walter dismisses Donny with a line that has become famous, “Shut-up Donny, you’re out of your element.”  (Or something like that.) In other words, when you’re out of your element, what you say doesn’t make sense.


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April 22, 2011

Why Do You Weep?

by Ragan Sutterfield
Jeremiah 31:1-6; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-18

“Why do you weep?”  That seems to be the central question of the Gospel reading this Easter Sunday.   It is the question the angels ask of Mary when she looks into the tomb; it is the question the resurrected Christ asks when he finds Mary in the garden and she mistakes him for the gardener. 

When the other disciples, Peter and John, came to see that the tomb was empty, they left—satisfied with the reality they thought they understood—Jesus was gone, his body taken, one more event in a series of tragedies that had seen their hopes for a new reality gone.   But Mary remained with the question—she stayed with the empty tomb, the trace of the Lord she still loved, the death she didn’t claim to understand.  It is by staying that she is present for the questioning of her perception—“Woman, why do you weep?”


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April 11, 2011

The Way Down

by Brian Volck
Matthew 2:1-11; Isaiah 50:4-7(8,9); Phillipians 2: (5)6-11; Matthew 16:14-27:66

“I will bury Jesus (in) myself.”
    -From The Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244; Part 2, No.65

I’m not qualified to judge the theological soundness of that old saw, “God draws straight with crooked lines.” We know that Palm Sunday’s readings are a push into the arcing current of a great river. We know the river flows toward the unimaginable Paschal triumph.  But the readings today have one and only one direction: down.

Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly, in a procession rich with political significance befitting a messiah, save for the public relations gaffe of riding a donkey rather than a military charger. But as soon as the cloaks are retrieved and the branches trampled beyond recognition, the triumph goes awry, spinning precipitously toward complete disaster. 


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April 06, 2011

Snorting at Death

by Debra Dean Murphy
Fifth Sunday in Lent
Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:1-11; John 11:1-45

The texts for this Sunday leave no doubt about where the Lenten journey will end. A week before Palm/Passion Sunday and the start of Holy Week and it’s not the scent of spring flowers in the air but death--as shrouded, four-days-dead Lazarus is stinking up the place. Dry bones are on Ezekiel’s mind—brittle, rattling remains beyond the stages of rot and stench. “Our hope is lost,” the people in exile say, “we are cut off completely” (37:11). The Psalm, too, the de Profundis, commonly read at funerals or included in settings of the requiem mass, acknowledges the depths of human despair and hopelessness.

These are not unfamiliar themes to us. This has been a springtime of death—tens of thousands who have perished in Japan; violent deaths on the streets of Libya, Afghanistan, Congo, and Ivory Coast—to name only a few of the world’s dark places haunted (and hunted, it seems) by death. So mortality is not mere metaphor here. This is about stinking corpses, dried up bones, prayers of anguish and desperation. This is where the Lenten journey will end.


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March 30, 2011

Internalizing what Externals Mean

by Jake Wilson
1 Samuel 16:1-13

We live in a culture obsessed with appearance.  Tanning beds promise us sun-kissed bodies year round.  Moleskine notebooks remind others of how creative we are and our designer eye wear helps us not only to see but to be seen.  In this image obsessed culture we are tempted to continually modify the external, often in an effort to avoid the work of tending to the inner life which cannot be so easily dressed up. 

God, however, is not so easily distracted by the temptation of the external.  This episode in the life of God’s people is a brilliant example of the declaration God made to Isaiah “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55.8-9)


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March 22, 2011

Engaging Jesus

by Doug Lee
John 4:5-42

How long does it take to know someone truly? A year, a decade, a lifetime? Whether working alongside someone, putting in the hard work of committed friendship, or sharing the blessings and labors of marriage, we can be confident that we can know a person’s identity, aims, and motivations with the passage of time.

Yet after two millennia, can we be so certain that we know Jesus?

Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman is yet another story from John’s gospel that punctures our certainty that we have Jesus triangulated. We may feel as if we know Jesus after generations of slotting him in our christological taxonomies, tradition, and piety. But time and again, Jesus eludes our fully apprehending him.


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March 14, 2011

Being Born From Above

by Janice Love
Lent 2:  Genesis 12:1-4a, Psalm 121, Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, John 3:1-17

Through rain, desert, wind and snow
Abraham and Sarah had to go
even though they nothing know.
- Oskar Sundmark, 11 years

Even though they nothing know.  This is what it means to trust in the God we see revealed in Jesus, what it means to be Christian - to drop our nets, pick up our cross and follow Christ.  Or as Soren Kierkegaard puts it:  “To be joyful out on 70,000 fathoms of water, many, many miles from all human help – yes, that is something great!  To swim in the shallows in the company of waders is not the religious.”


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March 07, 2011

God Abstracted

by Kyle Childress
Matthew 4:1-11

Lent begins with Jesus fresh from the waters of his baptism, being led by the Spirit into the wilderness.  At baptism, Jesus is reminded that he is called as God’s anointed, the Messiah.  But what kind of messiah is he going to be?  It is in the wilderness, where everything is stripped away, in prayer and fasting that Jesus seeks to clarify who he is and what he is going to do.

Satan, the Great Deceiver, shows up to steer Jesus away from God’s call upon him and uses three of the greatest temptations for those who want to change this world: economics/money – turning stones to bread; religion – spectacular religion which will make the crowds want to follow you anywhere; and politics – to get the power to make things turn out the way you want.


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March 03, 2011

Valley Girls (and Guys)

by Jenny Williams
Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 99; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9

Growing up just north of Los Angeles, I was hyper-aware of the San Fernando Valley.  Neither suburban nor Hollywood-cool, the Valley boasted its own style of dress and peculiar language.  Like, fer shure.  Living in the Valley had its difficulties:  stop-and-go freeway traffic during many hours of the day and an oppressive layer of smog bearing down upon the residents most of the year.

Our denomination had nine summer camps scattered all over southern California, and all of them were located in the mountains.  Kids from that Valley and the one I grew up in (the San Gabriel Valley) could get away for a week to find God and a little fresh air.  We hiked among towering pines, sat on rocks to sing songs around a fire, and when we did give in to sleep, did so in log cabins.  Lasting relationships were forged for campers, both among themselves and between them and God.


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February 26, 2011

What it is, and is not, to be an EP Endorser

by Brent Laytham
Early on, we said that The Ekklesia Project was a "school for subversive friendship," an opportunity to discover friends you didn't know you had who were busy letting Jesus turn the world right-side up (dethroning the powers in the process). That was in 2000. Now, thanks to Web2.0 social media, it appears that discovering 'friends' is as easy as clicking "accept" whenever Facebook invites me to. I've accumulated 180 'friends' that way, some of whom I actually know.


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February 23, 2011

The Economics of Anxiety

by Debra D. Murphy
Eighth Sunday After Epiphany
Isaiah 49:8-16; Psalm 131; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34

One of the steadfast realities of following the lectionary is the predictable rhythm of its three-year cycle of readings. Preparing a sermon for Baptism of the Lord Sunday in 2011?  You might go back to your files from 2008 to see what text(s) you focused on, what themes prevailed, what prayers and hymns were chosen for worship. You might—depending on your congregation’s current needs and challenges—revisit, rework, recycle, as it were, the riches of the lectionary cycle.

But because Easter is so late this year—a day short of the latest date possible—there was no eighth Sunday After Epiphany in 2008 or 2005 or 2002. In fact, the factors that determine the date of the Church's prime moveable feast are so unusual this year that an eighth Sunday after Epiphany is an astronomical and liturgical rarity. This means that, with a longer stretch of Sundays between Epiphany and Lent, we take in much more of the Sermon on the Mount, Year A’s appointed reading for the Sundays after Epiphany. And this week’s portion from Matthew 6—rare in the Sunday cycle but familiar in our hearing—couldn’t be more timely.


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February 15, 2011

Realist of Grace

 by Brian Volck
Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48

“Love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,” Jesus commands. That’s nowhere near as rosy and na├»ve as the bumper sticker I once came across, in a boutique full of inspirational art and Buddhist tchotckes, that read: “Love your enemies and you won’t have any.”

There once was at time that I, too, believed I could change the world and others by wishing or willing it so. I was fortunate to unlearn that nonsense before I caused too much harm.

Jesus is far more realistic than we give him credit. The only certainty in Jesus’ command is that we will have enemies.  There’s no reassurance that our love will transform them, improve our earthly status, or end wars. We are simply told to love and pray for adversaries so that we “…may be children of (our) heavenly Father.” 


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February 09, 2011

Reality Hunger

by Ragan Sutterfield
Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; Matthew 5:21-37

Reality hunger.  I read a book by that title last summer and the title, more than the book, describes what many of us are feeling these days.  We long for the concrete, the real, the hard surfaced world against all of the abstractions of the Economy, of the powers and institutions that seem to dictate our lives without our understanding the what and who and why of their existence.  And yet, we must understand that this abstraction is a choice, that our hunger goes unsatiated because we continue to eat the high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fare of the convenience stores lining the interstate through nowhere and to nowhere.  Call them the temple foods of false gods—cheap, convenient, subsidized lies that seem like the real stuff, but leave us sick and unhealthy.


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February 03, 2011

Still the Crucified

by Doug Lee
Isaiah 58:1-9a; 1 Corinthians 2:1-16; Matthew 5:13-20

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Paul’s description of his preaching is enough to stop any preacher in her or his tracks.
It is certainly enough to stop this one.

What do I regard as essential in my preaching? Do I rely on sounding scholarly or worldly wise? Do I trust in having something new and captivating to say?

What goal am I aiming at as I prepare my message? Is it to be identified as a powerful and effective speaker? Is to gain the esteem of my hearers and burnish my reputation?

What kind of gospel do my preparation and style of delivery (and not just my actual words) testify to?

Is it a gospel of anxious striving, of certainty and self-confidence? Is it a message of professionalism and accomplishment?

More generally, Paul’s words raise questions about the way Church performs her ministry in the world. Jesus’ descriptions of the Church as the salt of the earth and the light of the world in the Sermon on the Mount have inspired believers to take up great missionary works. These are forceful images of the Church “making a difference” in the world. In the soil of American optimism, Christians has excelled in envisioning a gospel of triumph and acclaim. Our ministries aim at “making the biggest bang for the buck.” Nearly a century of unquestioned American supremacy in the world has encouraged us to believe that anything worth doing is worth doing big and loud.

But Paul insists that the inescapable starting point of gospel ministry is the cross. And we wouldn’t dare argue with Paul. But the apostle pushes the cross as the one and only starting point for all proclamation and mission past even where other New Testament writers would. Paul’s letters testify that his assertion about knowing nothing except Jesus Christ crucified is not stretching the truth too far. His writings make little mention of Jesus’ life and ministry prior to the crucifixion. Where we and the authors of the gospels would derive our knowledge of Jesus, the Church, and her mission from Christ’s authoritative teaching and miraculous signs, Paul seems genuinely to believe that all anyone needs to know about Christ begins with the cross. Everything else finds its source and coherence there. Christian character finds its source there. Mission finds its beginning there. Our preaching finds its content there. Human sexuality and wealth find their purpose there. Reading the wide range of topics Paul takes up in his letters to the Corinthians is enough for us to see that the cross is the lens through which Paul sees every facet of existence.

And were this not enough, the cross also defines the continuing contours of the Church and her message. In our American triumphalism, we can easily assume that Easter erases the shame and the horror of the crucifixion. The weakness of the cross was only momentary and can therefore be cast off in favor of the triumph of Resurrection. We can graduate from crucifixion humiliation to resurrection victory. However, Paul does not use the simple past tense to refer to Jesus Christ the “crucified”, as if that were just a phase in the life of Christ that is over and done with. Paul utilizes a verb tense that asserts a past event that has continuing force into the present. For Paul, the risen and glorified Jesus Christ is still the crucified. The weakness of the cross continues to define who our Lord is. When resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples (and presumably Paul himself), he still bore his wounds and showed them not merely as proofs that he died a shameful, disfiguring death but now as proofs of God’s glory and power triumphing in weakness and shame. If the Son of God can freely show proofs of his humiliation publicly even on this side of Easter, then what have we to fear? If Paul can put the words “crucified” and “the Lord of glory” into the same sentence (v. 8), then what deadly event can God not redeem?

The Church’s preaching and mission do not live by her capacity to put inadequacy and failure behind her. But by beginning and continuing on in weakness, the Church shines forth as the light of the world. Our salty distinctiveness does not result from becoming a forceful or accomplished community, but precisely in our capacity to remain in the blessing God pours out on the poor in spirit, the meek, and those reviled because of Christ.

As John Stott so clearly puts it, “We have a weak message (Christ crucified), proclaimed by weak preachers (full of fear and trembling), received by weak hearers (the socially despised). For God chose a weak instrument (Paul), to bring a weak message (the cross) to weak people (the Corinthian working class). But through this triple weakness the power of God was—and still is—displayed.”


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January 20, 2011

Repent: The Kingdom Is Near

by Janice Love
Epiphany 3:  Isaiah 9:1-4, Psalm 27:1, 4-9, I Corinthians 1:10-18, Matthew 4:12-23

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.    ~Matthew 4:17b

And so it begins.  The history of the world shifts, never to be the same again. 

For over ten years now I have had the joy of being part of the Christian Seasons calendar team based out of University Hill congregation in Vancouver, BC.  In a Wednesday meeting with me in 2000, Rev. Ed Searcy, in reflecting on his D.Min. studies on the engagement of Christian faith and North American culture, wondered why we as Christians did not yet have our “own” calendar, similar to how there was a Jewish calendar, etc.  I was immediately struck by the thought that this was an idea whose time had come.


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January 12, 2011

Truth Dazzles Gradually

by Kyle Childress
John 1: 29-42

At age 51, Noah Adams, a host on National Public Radio, abruptly decided he had to have a piano so he invested in a new Steinway upright – a financial commitment that provided extra incentive to practice.

Adams tells this delightful story of his first year of learning to play the piano in his book, Piano Lessons.  Yet learning to play was a daunting task, particularly given his already demanding schedule.  He found it difficult and frustrating; he couldn’t simply sit down and make the beautiful music he wanted.  There were scales to learn, and basic rhythms to be mastered.  Initially, he decided against going to a teacher, trying such shortcuts as a “Miracle Piano Teaching System” on the computer.  A friend’s warning proved to be prophetic: “You might be learning music with that computer, but you’re not learning how to play.”


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January 06, 2011

Voice lessons

by Jenny Williams
Psalm 29; Matthew 3:13-17

It’s no wonder that parts of the Church used to observe Christmas, Epiphany, and the Baptism of the Lord as part of one unified and extended celebration.  There’s a lot of revelation going on there.  Christ’s identity is revealed to shepherds, wise men, John the Baptist, and those gathered on the banks of the Jordan. 

The revelation continues on the Sundays after the Epiphany.  God appeals to our senses.  Whereas Ragan talked about seeing last week, this week we hear the Father’s voice tell us that the guy coming up out of the dirty sin-water is his Son. 


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