Oct 31

Funeral Sermon for Joan Armstrong



One of the most beautiful gifts we receive from God is also one of the most easily overlooked gifts we receive from God. That gift, that beautiful gift, is the gift of our bodies. But we don’t often think of our bodies as gifts from God, as part of God’s grace for us, and so we tend to overlook our bodies. On the one hand, it’s nearly impossible for us to imagine life without our bodies—and that’s a good thing, actually, because in God’s plan for creation, bodies and life go together. On the other hand, many of us spend a lot of our lives thinking of our bodies more as problems to be solved or fixed or escaped than as gifts to receive. Continue reading

Oct 17

Perseverance: The Final Gift to the Faithful



Perseverance is a gift from God given at the end, and only at the end, to those who are faithful in Jesus Christ. In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestles with an angel of the Lord at Jabbok, and Jacob persists throughout the fight, even when he is injured, unfairly, it seems, by the angel. But it is only at the end of the match that Jacob receives the gift of perseverance, when the angel of the Lord yields to Jacob and grants him his request. Then, at the end, the angel blesses Jacob with the gift of perseverance.

In the same way, in Jesus’s parable of the unjust judge, a woman persists in her quest for justice. But perseverance comes for her only when the judge grants her request. If she had given up, of course, the woman never would have received the justice she was owed, and so she would not have persevered to the end. And if Jacob had given up, say, when the angel touched his hip, Jacob would not have received his new name, Israel, would not have received the Lord’s blessing, and so he would not have persevered to the end. Continue reading

May 16

The Gift of the Giving God



I have some news for you today: the first Pentecost was not the first time the Holy Spirit started working in creation for the sake of God’s mission of love and reconciliation. Pentecost is not the birthday of the Holy Spirit. No, no, no. The Spirit is eternally God, and just as God has always been at work in creation, from the very beginning, so the Spirit has always been moving, active, alive in our midst, all along. Continue reading

Apr 27

Easter People: Children of God

 In this season of Easter we are paying attention each week to the letter of 1 John in order to discover some of what it means for us, the church, to be Easter people. Easter people are those who have received the gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are Easter people when we share that gift with others in order to have a common bond with them, in order to be the church together with them. And Easter people are of all ages, because the gospel is for everyone. These are some of the marks, some of the signs, of Easter people.

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