Our Gospel is kind of a “game of thrones” as three powers vie for control. The convergence of these forces sets the stage for Holy Week. Their battle dates back to the very dawn of the first humans. Their story is as relevant as Today and as new as Tomorrow.
When we’ve been touched by Christ we aren’t wasteful but we are extravagant. We are different. The Old Testament prophet Micah asked, “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? That is a question for the ages, isn’t it? How should I respond to a generous God? That depends; how great is your Gratitude?
This gospel lesson is one of, if not the most familiar of Jesus’ parables. Almost everyone can identify with it – a father or mother who patiently waits for their son or daughter to “return to their senses”, the individual who squandered opportunities, the person who wonders about “fairness”.
The Third Sunday of Lent, Sunday, March 24th, 2019
God’s greatest gift to each one of us is “time”. Each one of us has a limited amount of time before the game of our life comes to an end. We have a limited amount to time to do the work that God placed us on this earth to do. There is time for second chances, sure, and even comebacks, but we do not have forever.
All of us have a Jerusalem, that place where we do not want Jesus to go; that place where we like to think that God does not see or know about. But here’s the thing; Jesus goes to Jerusalem. God knows that which we try so desperately to hide. All of this may seem like bad news, but it is also good news, gospel. Jesus went to Jerusalem where he was celebrated one day, betrayed, denied, and crucified before the week’s end. But the story did not end there. We are journeying toward Easter where the best news is found. The news that the women first heard so long ago that still gives hope today.
The First Sunday in Lent, Sunday, March 10th, 2019
Life’s temptations are the grit that reveals who we really are. The Table to which we are invited reminds us that as God provided manna to Israel in the Old Testament wilderness of the Sinai, so God’s angels ministered to Jesus. God still ministers to us by providing our daily bread for Life’s journey.
Last Sunday after Epiphany, Sunday, March 3rd, 2019
Let us break this cycle of desiring to get to some moment other than the one that’s in our presence. Let’s not ignore the potential for joy and fulfillment that can be found in our lives right this moment. Every moment we wish away, ignore or dismiss as not good enough, we never get back. Conversely, every moment is ours to seize and appreciate, to love ourselves and others, and this amazing world. In the 90th psalm, verse 12, a prayer of Moses, it reads: “So, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Your happiness doesn’t reside in the future and it hasn’t passed you by either, It’s right here. Don’t miss out the way the rich man in the parable did. Live your happiest life now. Live abundantly.
Anthem Fruits of the Selfless Heart By Elizabeth J. Atkinson Performed by the FFC Chancel Choir
Offertory Movement 2, Concerto for Alto Saxophone By Ronald Binge Performed by Joel Harper on piano and Christian Sauder on alto saxophone
Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Sunday, February 27th, 2019
Hate, jealousy, exploitation, these are the things that cause suffering and harm. The teachings of Jesus shows us a society that represents God’s Kingdom. Love, Peace, Forgiveness, Justice. You see, Jesus pointed to a radical paradigm shift in which one gives up their right to revenge. Jesus presented the world with an alternative to “the harsh reality” of the world. Rather than entering into a mode of escalating violence which leads to more and more death, Jesus told his apostles, disciples and even the “crowd,” to do something radical. Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, Sunday, February 17th, 2019
I believe that we have a gnawing hunger within our very being named “Security.” Its alias is “Desire.” We constantly seek ways to satisfy this hunger. Advertisers know this and feed our soul hunger. They tempt us with “sugar for the soul” which may satisfy us now but ultimately leaves craving more.
In today’s gospel lesson Jesus did not commend poverty or hunger, or want. But neither did He condemn wealth. Rather he challenged us to take a closer look at our spiritual health in light of our wealth–for we are wealthy by the world’s standard. Jesus invited us to think about the real source of security. What really makes us secure?