Showing posts from June, 2015

On the Occasion of the Ordination of Deacons and Priests- John 21

John 21:15-19

I have some memories that make me cringe. I’m sure you have these too. You are driving, or in the shower, or on a walk and suddenly this memory flashes into your mind. And you can’t help but cringe. We can have very physical responses to these memories. When I was in Junior High I had a brutal fear of girls. Not all girls, just the ones that found me attractive. I live with some awkwardness at the best of times, but that fear would turn into flat out strangeness and avoidance.   I remember going to a Much Music Dance party with my first girlfriend Lindsay. I was rocking my MC Hammer pants, and at one point, Lindsay in desperation threw herself to the ground in the hopes that I would offer her my hand to help her get up, which would result in us holding hands. I didn’t clue in and I didn’t offer her my hand to help her up. …. I think back on that moment and I cringe. Later (Lindsay and I were no longer dating at this point if you can imagine that) there was a girl named Jo…

Why are you so afraid? Mark 4

Mark 4:35-41

The Gospels are primarily about answering the question “Who is Jesus?” In the Gospel of Mark we read about Jesus casting unclean spirits out of people, he heals the sick, and in this week’s reading he stops a storm. In the next chapter Jesus is again shown to have power over demons, and he even brings a little girl back from the dead. Mark is showing us that Jesus has power over every major power that human beings face. Whatever Jesus faces he is shown to be the superior power. This leaves the disciples asking, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” This is the question the Gospels want us to keep asking as we read through them. Who is this that has power over demons? Who is this that can forgive sin? Who is this that can heal a leper? Who is this that can bring a girl back from the dead? Who is this that can raise his hand and calm a raging storm? And notice he does this without praying to God to stop the storm. He doesn’t ask God to raise the little…

Zen and Nicodemus- John 3

John 3:1-17 I want to tell you a Zen story. It’s a kind of parable. There was once a woodcutter who lived in the forest. One day as he went about cutting trees a creature named “Satori” appeared. Satori began mocking the woodcutter until he became very angry. Eventually the woodcutter went after Satori with his axe to kill him. Satori, however, had the ability to read minds and was able to read the mind of the woodcutter. When the woodcutter was thinking about attacking Satori on one side of the clearing Satori would appear on the other side mocking him. If he planned a way to trick Satori in order to trap him it would never work. This went on for some time. No matter how cleaver the woodcutter was- no matter what kind of plan the wood cutter came up with- Satori was always able to outsmart him because he would read the mind of the woodcutter. After hours and then days of trying to kill Satori the woodcutter was maddened. No matter what he did he could not kill Satori and Satori contin…