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Baptism Tells Us Who We Are – 2 January 2022

We spend all this time and energy discovering who we are, when we have already been given a new identity in Christ. In baptism, we are called children of God, baptized and redeemed for the sake of the world. We are given a vocation to proclaim Christ through word and deed, to care for others…

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Yes, God Hears! Christmas Eve, 24 December 2021

And so Beloved, tonight, the angel’s message is for you.  Do not be afraid.  See, there is good news of great joy for all people.  Christ comes.  Christ comes in the joy of children.  Christ comes in the care of neighbors.  Christ comes in unexpected welcomes, in communities who throw open their doors to refugee, immigrant, and outsider.  Christ comes in the…

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Revolutionary Hope – 19 December 2021

This is the hope we need. This hope is honest. It looks at the world and says, nope, nope, nope. This is not the way God intends for things to be. It looks at vandalism at a mosque—the wreckage made of the place where children play—and says, this is not the…

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Prophets of Joy- 12 December 2021

It isn’t easy to sing, but joy is our message.  When Paul wrote to the Philippians, telling them to “Rejoice in the Lord always,” this was no Pollyanna message.  He writes to Philippi from a Roman jail.  He writes to a congregation that has lost faith in him. They worry about what it means to have a leader…

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Unbaiting the Bait and Switch – 5 December 2021

Into the mess of his day, John the Baptizer hears the word of God and begins to proclaim a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin.  Because the crowds eventually gather for baptizing, we assume this call to repentance is for them—for the people.  But the crowds aren’t here yet.  The call to repentance is for the…

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The Practice of Apocalypse – 14 November 2021

 How can this total destruction be a part of “the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” as Mark introduces his gospel?  How can all this—and now I mean climate change, and COVID-19, and five million deaths worldwide, and violence, and hate, and war, and on and on and on—how can God be in…

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Unbound – 7 November 2021

We’re hanging onto so much, so sure that it will set us free, but it won’t. The only path to freedom, to change is to let go of the things that will not save us, to let go of our very selves. Because it isn’t until we let go of the only thing…

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Set Free – 17 October 2021

Jesus is talking about ransom, about the money given in order to set hostages free; about the trades made to bring home prisoners of war. In Mark’s gospel, God isn’t some cigar-smoking gangster beating people up for payment. In Marks’ gospel, God is the one who sets people free. Not from God’s wrath, but from…

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The Stuff That Is In the Way – 10 October 2021

The gospel is meant to set us free, together with all God made, it is what we were made to depend on, and as long as we depend on our stuff, our status, our wealth, we remain bound. What we have will always stand in our way. There isn’t an easy answer here, because this…

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Longing for Love, Grace, and Mutuality – 3 October 2021

Jesus refers his listeners to a different piece of Torah—Jewish law—not to Moses’s permission to divorce, but to Genesis, to the idea that in marriage spouses become one flesh, a deep and, hopefully, sustaining intimacy. The marker of marriage, then, is not the status and pleasure of one spouse or the other, but about the…

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All Grace, and Nothing But God’s Grace – 26 September 2021

Often, we draw the line of right and wrong along some kind of fanaticism. On one side is faith, on the other, a cult. Calls for violence, calls for withdrawal from society, call for body mutilation—these are all too extreme to be proper faith. That is basically the disciples’ point, right? In this middle section…

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Faith Faces Fear for Neighbor – 19 September 2021

Every time Jesus tells them what is going to happen and they get it so wrong, Jesus tells them what it means to be a disciple. It is a hard teaching. The disciples think the Messiah is a triumphant conqueror, but Jesus says the Messiah is a servant—a suffering servant. Greatness, Jesus says, isn’t from…

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A Bold Discipleship – 24 October 2021

Jesus calls us to a discipleship that pays attention to the world. We’re not called away from the needs of the world in order to be conquerors, to prove how strong we are, how smart, how resilient. No, we’re called to attend to the world, to see and name its pain and brokenness. To…

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What Hope Sees – 12 September 2021

Beloved, hope holds in her hands what is broken in you, in your life, in the world in order that what is broken might be made beautiful in the light of God’s love. In order that it might be redeemed be God. That is hope, trusting that even this—even your broken heart, even your…

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