Feb 15

Ash Wednesday: Ashes

The dance of life is a dance with death,

A two-step waiting a dread partner,

A free-style overshadowed by the slow waltz.

And we are poor dancers, flailing our arms,

Missing the beat, slipping around,

It’s like we’re dancing on sand.

It’s like we’re falling, face first, into 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

Jan 17

Mission and Discipleship 2: Discernment

In Jesus Christ, God is on the move; God has a mission. And in baptism, we are all recruited to be a part of that mission. The vocation, the calling, of all disciples, of every Christian, is to join in God’s mission of redeeming creation. Too often being a “missionary” has meant specializing in something the rest of us don’t have to do, but the truth is, in Jesus Christ, we are all missionaries. Discipleship and mission go together. And the mission does not come from us; it comes from God. We participate, or we fail to participate, in the mission God has already set for the people of God. Continue reading

Jan 03

Who Is Jesus Christ?

For our gospel reading this morning, this second Sunday of the Christmas season, we return to a reading from Christmas Eve: John 1:1-18. We read this as our fourth lesson at the 11:00 service, but it comes up in the lectionary, the list of readings for the church year, again this morning. The two Sundays after Christmas each emphasize the most important belief that Christians have: that Jesus Christ is both really and fully a human being, and that he is both really and fully God. Last week the reading from Luke 2, which was about Jesus in the temple as a 12-year old boy, underscored the humanity of Jesus. This week John 1 reinforces that this human being Jesus really was and is the Son of God. Continue reading

Dec 27

Fully and Truly Human

For most people right now, we have entered the post-Christmas season, a kind of recovery period from the stress of holiday preparations and the overindulgence of holiday festivities. But in the church we are just at the beginning of the true Christmas season, which lasts 12 days. Today is the third day of Christmas: three French hens, as the song goes, sometimes interpreted as the great theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love, other times thought of as the three Persons of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Continue reading