Oct 01

Reformation at 500: Scripture Alone



What happens when we read Scripture? What do we expect to happen when we read Scripture? In Nehemiah, our Old Testament lesson for this morning, Ezra reads from the scroll of the law of Moses. We don’t know what, exactly, he read, either what part or how much. Maybe he read from Exodus, or maybe he read all of Deuteronomy. What is clear is that this kind of reading hadn’t happened in a while, maybe in a generation or more. Imagine, decades without hearing Scripture read, interpreted, or proclaimed. Not just for one or two individuals, but for the whole people of Israel. Continue reading

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

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

May 02

Advocate for Love



Love is the visible witness to our invisible Lord and Savior. Love is not a feeling or an emotion, although feelings and emotions can spur us to love and can help (or hurt) when we want to know who we should love. But Love is first and foremost something we do and how that we do what we do. The Glory of God is Love, “Love Divine, all loves excelling,” as we sang in our opening hymn this morning. When we love as God loves us, when, especially, we love our enemies, God is glorified by what we do, and we can claim, truthfully, that we are full of the Holy Spirit. If you want to know, am I saved?, am I following Jesus Christ?, then look to how you love, and how you want to grow in love. Continue reading

Apr 25

The Risky Witness of Love



The Glory of God is nothing less than the Love of the Father for the Son. It’s a beautiful Love, a Love that radiates with a brightness outshining even the sun. The Glory of God is a Love so deep, so full, so true, so real that God’s Glory, God’s Love, has a Name, and that Name is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit just is God’s Love, the Love of the Father for the Son, the Love of the Son for the Father, the Love of God for us, God’s creatures. The Glory of God is the Holy Spirit, who is the Love of God. Continue reading