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1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Epiphany 4A

A number of years ago The Christian Century invited theologians, pastors and other Christian leaders to attempt to succinctly summarize the gospel. It asked them to proclaim its good news in just seven words, and then expand on their summary in a few sentences. The November 29, 2011 edition of the Century published some of…

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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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Easter: Enough

Dan Brown’s suspense novel, The DaVinci Code, was a New York Times #1 bestseller for over a year, selling in the end millions of copies.  As some of you may recall from The DaVinci Code, Mary Magdalene occupies a central place in the narrative.  Yes, the same Mary who figures in so importantly in the…

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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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Lent 5A: Neither Bang Nor Whimper

As Time magazine recently pointed out, two famous twentieth century poets both weighed in on the subject of the universe’s end. Robert Frost wrote, “Some say the world will end in fire / Some say in ice. / I hold with those who favor fire.” On the other side T.S. Eliot wrote, “This is the…

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Lent 4A: The Gift of Sight

Years ago in the weeks following the September 11 attacks, perhaps some of you noticed something that a number of people were detecting during that dark and difficult time: namely, there was a lot of axe-grinding going in many circles. People from both sides of the political spectrum, and from most all points in between,…

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Lent 3A: Welling Up

Some years ago, writer Eugene Peterson found an analogy for modern spiritual quests in, of all things, a Winnie the Pooh story. In one of the many tales from the Hundred-Acre Woods, Christopher Robin and company decide to set out one day in search of the North Pole. At one point along the way, young…

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Matthew 4:12-23

Epiphany 3A

Depending on what you preached last week, these two weeks of Lectionary passages from different gospels may leave you with some explaining to do—particularly if you made a big deal about the calling narrative of Andrew and Peter last week! For here we are again, in a new geographical setting, hearing about them becoming disciples…

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1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Epiphany 3A

This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson brings to mind the novelist William Faulkner’s lament about the post-Civil War American South: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” It also in some ways resonates with the historian and philosopher George Santayana’s “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” If Christians didn’t know…

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