Showing posts from October, 2014

The most important thing a human being can do

Matthew 22:34-46 Hear the sermon here
Jesus is nearing the cross and has entered Jerusalem in triumph on a donkey as the crowds cheered (21:1-11). He then prophetically attacks the temple administration as he overturns the money-changers’ tables (21:12-17). Then Jesus is confronted by a series of public confrontations and those hostile to Jesus ask him question after question to try to trip him up and expose him as a fraud, or get him in trouble with the authorities. So they come at him with the major controversies of the day- Is it right for faithful Jews to pay taxes to the oppressive occupying Roman forces? Is there an afterlife as the Pharisees believe, or is there none as the Sadducees believe? They test him with yet another question. A Pharisee expert in the Law asks, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" There are 613 commandments of the Old Testament. 248 positive “thou shalts” and 365 prohibitive “thou shalt nots”. The question is really about the h…

Healing Prayer- feast of St. Luke

Hear the sermon here

Today we are celebrating the feast of St. Luke who was referred to by St. Paul as “the beloved physician”. Tradition tells us that he was a physician of the body, but the Gospel and the book of Acts he wrote also shows us that he was a physician of the soul. Today we pay particular attention to the ministry of healing as a part of our mission as Christians. Healing was a continuous part of Jesus’ ministry. Wherever Jesus went he healed the sick as a sign of God’s compassion and a sign of the wholeness that comes with the kingdom of God. It seems like wherever he went he was healing people who suffered from a variety of illnesses. Healing was also a part of the ministry of Jesus’ disciples. We read in Luke chapter 10 that Jesus sends out the 70 into the surrounding towns. Jesus says to them, “Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you;  cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’“ (Lu…

God of the new

Exodus 32:1-14 Hear the sermon here
I remember a professor teaching a class on anxiety and I remember them saying something very interesting. They showed a list of things that cause anxiety, and on the list was the word “change”. The professor explained that it can be bad change (like the death of a loved one), or it can be good change (like a better job).  Change (good or bad) produces anxiety. Something that is new, is a change. (does that make sense?). If something is new then it is different than what had been. A new car, a new technique, a new dance, a new relationship, all of these are changes that can provoke a bit of anxiety in us. So something that is new, can automatically produce anxiety. So what we try to do to get rid of the anxiety is to get rid of the new thing and go back to something familiar, old, and comfortable. This is actually one of our problems with God. Our God is constantly up to something new. This also means that for many of us God is going to constantly be m…

Saint Francis

Early in the 13th century Pope Innocent lll had a dream. He dreamt that the cathedral in Rome was beginning to collapse, but there was a young man who held it up and kept it from collapsing. He recognized the man as the leader of a group of dirty beggars he had dismissed the day before. The man was Francis of Assisi.

Before becoming the leader of this group of beggars Francis also had a vision about a building. Francis was in an old church, San Damiano. While he was praying he heard Jesus speak to him from the crucifix at the front of the church. The voice said, "Francis, Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins." Francis was a man of simplicity and he was learning obedience so he began repairing the old church and raised the funds by selling some of his father’s fabric. (His father was a wealthy cloth merchant).

The pope’s dream was not about the actual cathedral building needing a carpenter, and Francis’ vision was not really about fixi…