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Matthew 28:16-20

Trinity Sunday A

As we begin Ordinary time with Trinity Sunday, we are reminded by Jesus’s closing words of God’s great promise and God’s great calling (or commission) for those who follow him. We know these words quite well; they have driven missions movements, been used in countless baptism liturgies, and closed many conferences, worship services and meetings….

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Matthew 21:1-11

Palm Sunday

Comments, Questions, and Observations Somehow, even in the midst of the shouts of praise, the displays of adoration and respect as the crowd prepares the way for Jesus to enter Jerusalem, somehow, even with all this, this text seems understated for what it represents. Or, maybe that’s exactly what it is supposed to feel like…

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Matthew 4:1-11

Lent 1A

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” was he thinking about this time in his life? We start Lent each year with an account of how Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where he was thoroughly tried and tested by the…

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Matthew 17:1-9

Epiphany 7A

Whether we realize it or not, this scene is closely linked to Jesus’s death. For starters, the last thing Matthew tells us about, what we’re “six days later” from, is a lot of frank conversation between Jesus and his disciples about his impending death. You know the scene—the one where Jesus looks at Peter and…

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Matthew 5:21-37

Epiphany 6A

This is our last week with the Sermon on the Mount, but it is important to remember that context. Jesus started this sermon with blessings for the struggling, encouragement for the blessed, and is describing the high calling of kingdom citizenship. We are still in that spirit. Living the way that Jesus is describing will…

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The Weapons of our Warfare

The first verse of our reading is rather shocking if you think about it. “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil.” We don’t usually think of temptation as a spiritual exercise. Jesus had just been baptized. In his baptism, Jesus had taken his place with all the…

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Matthew 5:13-20

Epiphany 5A

When the water in the Dead Sea evaporates, it leaves behind both salt and a mineral that looks a like salt, gypsum. Obviously, gypsum doesn’t have any of the qualities of salt (like saltiness) and it has different uses than salt. But as the saying implies, if it walks like a duck, it isn’t odd…

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Matthew 5:1-12

Epiphany 4A

According to Matthew, this isn’t Jesus’s first sermon, but it is the first one that Matthew records. Jesus is in Galilee, preaching, teaching, and healing, and drawing crowds from all over—mostly of the sick and those in need of healing. Imagine the people and their needs that Jesus has encountered—both those who he healed, and…

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Easter: Soar We Now

Anyone who has ever taken a class in physics may remember Newton’s laws of motion. Even if you’ve never taken physics or specifically had to memorize Newton’s laws, you’re probably familiar with the basics. One law is the simple observation that an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless some outside force acts…

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Palm Sunday: Salvation’s Hospitality

In the summer of 1991 my wife and I spent some time traveling in Germany. One of our stops was a two-day visit to a pastor and his wife in Wittenberg. At that time, the fall of the Berlin Wall was still a very recent event. What had been the communist-dominated East Germany was still…

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