Apr 19

Out of the Sheepfold with the Good Shepherd

Alleluia! We are in the midst of Eastertide, the season of Easter, fifty days from Easter to Pentecost. Other than Ordinary Time, Eastertide is the longest season of the church year, longer than Advent, longer than Epiphany, longer than Lent. So often we treat Easter like a single day, a one-day holiday before it’s back to life as usual. But Eastertide, the season of Easter, draws us each Sunday to celebrate with joy the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Risen Christ is among us! Alleluia! Continue reading

Apr 11

The Two Ways

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! He has appeared, to Mary Magdalene in the garden, to Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus, to the Eleven in the Upper Room, to Thomas a week later. Jesus has appeared; Jesus is risen from the dead! Earth-shattering news: the world is different now; everything has changed! Nothing can be the same again—nothing! My Lord, and my God! Continue reading

Feb 15

Mission and Discipleship 3: Mission Fundamentals

As Christians, all of us have been baptized into God’s mission. Baptism, which is for all of us, is the foundation of our calling to serve Christ in God’s mission, not some specialized calling into something called “the ministry.” As your pastor, I live out my baptismal calling in particular ways. The ways you live out your baptismal call to participate in God’s mission will be different from my own. What is important is what unites us: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one body, one mission. If I were not your pastor, if I weren’t a pastor at all, God’s claim on my life would be no different and no less than it is today. And in this series on mission and discipleship, I am challenging all of us to rethink God’s mission and to consider how—not whether—God is calling us in this new year. You may be someone who considers yourself very active in mission and ministry work, or you may be someone who has never really given that kind of thing a second thought. I am convinced that, in 2016, God is calling you to commit yourself new to the mission of God. Continue reading

Jun 08

Family Ties

It should come as no surprise that Jesus sounds a little testy, a little gruff, in this morning’s gospel reading. He has returned home after a busy few weeks: binding the strong man, Satan, during his forty days in the wilderness; freeing the man possessed by a demon; releasing Simon’s mother-in-law, a leper, a paralytic, a man with a withered hand, and countless others from the diseases that held them back. And now, back at home, he runs headlong into people who want to bind him up, who want to hold him back from the work he’s been doing, who want to tether him in place before he can do anything else unusual or unseemly. Back at home, Jesus comes face to face with people who want to tie him up with family matters. Continue reading

Apr 20

Easter People: Of All Ages

When we lived in North Carolina and I was a student at Duke, I loved going to the Divinity School’s chapel services. The preaching was great: provocative, prophetic, and sometimes even poetic. The chapel itself was beautiful. The service was almost always carefully ordered. And the music was outstanding, with an organist who ranks among the best in the world. Still, each time I went, each week, I noticed something was missing. Continue reading