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

Oct 26

Blind Bart

Poor blind Bart! Sitting on the side of a road, a busy highway, the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. Waiting just outside the city. Waiting for generous travelers who might throw a couple coins or maybe some stale bread his way. Enduring the quiet—and surely sometimes not so quiet—verbal abuse all beggars must endure: What’s wrong with that man, mommy?! Why is he just sitting there? Hush, honey, some people just can’t help it. Hmph! He probably brought it on himself. Continue reading

Oct 05

Divorce Church

Divorce is a difficult topic in our modern era. All of us know someone who is divorced. Most of us probably know someone whose divorce ended a painful or even abusive marriage. And it is telling that so much energy is spent fighting over gay marriage, on which Jesus never said a word—on which Jesus couldn’t have possibly said a word—and so little attention given to divorce, on which Jesus speaks very clearly. It might be helpful to remember, though, that speaking against divorce in Jesus’ day was no easier than it is in our own; John the Baptist, after all, was executed for criticizing the divorces and remarriages of King Herod’s family. 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

May 25

Easter People: The World of the Spirit

We live in a zero-sum world. If I live here, you must live somewhere else. If my team wins, your team loses. If you own something, I can’t have it, too. For every person going up the ladder of success there’s someone else who’s heading the opposite direction—or even being pulled down by those scrambling for the top. There’s only one first in line. And while a Supreme Court justice supposedly once said that your freedom to swing your arm stops where the other guy’s nose begins, the truth is almost everything we do affects those around us, making it easier or harder to do and be what they want. We can’t all be the best, all have the nicest toys, all live in the largest homes, all be the most famous. Continue reading