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

Apr 25

Funeral Sermon for Donald Stuart Kirk

Two disciples are walking along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They are tired. They are worn out. They are glad for each other’s company. And they are sad—not just sad, heartbroken. Jesus, their friend, has died, and Cleopas and his companion are mourning their loss. Luke tells us that the two disciples start talking about what has happened. In other words, Cleopas and his companion start doing what all of us do in the face of death: we tell stories. 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

Mar 31

The Freedom of God

They heard the story, but to them it seemed like an idle tale. The women, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and others, had visited Jesus’ tomb. Instead of a body, though, they had found an empty grave, the stone rolled away, and two angels announcing Christ’s resurrection. Amazing! Wonderful! Could it be true?! But all the disciples heard was an idle tale, a desperate story with no substance, no possible reality behind it. Dead is dead—everyone knows that. Modern skeptics have scoffed at the resurrection—no one rises from the dead—as if this were a recent discovery, but even these first-century backwater disciples knew that dead is dead, and Jesus is dead. Continue reading

Mar 31

Resurrection Garden

In the beginning, when God created the world, he set a garden in the midst of his creation. This garden was the vibrant center of the world, a place of flourishing and peace for all creatures. God set human beings in this garden to tend it, to be gardeners of the first garden of God. Human beings, from the very start, had a vocation, a calling: tend the earth, care for God’s creation, live in harmony with one another and all that God has made. Being a gardener in Eden was more than having a menial task, more than pruning and weeding and picking and mowing. Being a gardener was a royal task, a work equal to the dignity and stature of being made in the image and likeness of God. Being a gardener was to bring glory to God. Here would be creatures, bearing God’s image, doing God’s work, in the midst of God’s good creation. Continue reading