There is a Sermon Here…

23 09 2010

but not sure where it ends up.

Guy to Me: “So. I found a great place to live, but it doesn’t have enough closet space or space to put all my stuff”

Me: “dude, how much closet space do you need? If you didn’t bring it with you, you probably don’t need it. And what you brought with you, I’m sure you can ditch at least half….”

Purple Stole Moment

18 09 2010

One of the things I look forward to doing the next time I go on vacation is when vacation is ending and I say to folks, “I’m going home to Key West.”

Tip of the Hat to Nick.

Quote of the Day

18 09 2010

Darlin’ this life aint about our comfort level. Even though we know our good-byes are never final, they may not know that yet. Spend time with the people who want to spend time with you.

Ministry is about a lot of things but it is never about you and certainly isn’t about what makes you feel good. Fulfilling…yes. Feeling good? Not all the time.

Feast of the Exaltation of The Holy Cross

14 09 2010

Today is Holy Cross Day. For those of you who wonder what the Feast is all about, here is some background, courtesy of James Kiefer.

During the reign of Constantine, first Roman Emperor to profess the Christian faith, his mother Helena went to Israel and there undertook to find the places especially significant to Christians. (She was helped in this by the fact that in their destructions around 135, the Romans had built pagan shrines over many of these sites.) Having located, close together, what she believed to be the sites of the Crucifixion and of the Burial (at locations that modern archaeologists think may be correct), she then had built over them the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which was dedicated on 14 September 335. It has become a day for recognizing the Cross (in a festal atmosphere that would be inappropriate on Good Friday) as a symbol of triumph, as a sign of Christ’s victory over death, and a reminder of His promise, “And when I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32)

What is the significance of the sign of the cross? Well, in the first place, we often place our initials or other personal mark on something to show that it belongs to us. The Cross is the personal mark of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and we mark it on ourselves as a sign that we belong to Him, just as in the book of Revelation, as noted above, the servants of God are sealed or marked on their foreheads as a sign that they are His.

You can read the whole thing by following the link:

Lost and Found and Forgiven

11 09 2010

Text:  Luke 15:1-10

“It’s all about me!”

This is a phrase that was rather popular some ago and still pops up on occasion.  I believe I even saw a T-Shirt in one of those little shops on Duval Street with this saying on it.  In embracing this phrase, we embrace our own capacity for self-absorption, self-indulgence, our accomplishments.  “Look at what a great person I am! See all of these things that I have and how great my life is!”  When things are bad, we use it to try and make the world stop and pay attention, offer us comfort, and put everything else on hold to commiserate and help us put everything back together.

This even translates into our walk of faith as we try to “earn” our salvation.  How many of have listened to that siren song of those who say “if we try just a little harder, do just a little more, we’ll be in with the right folks and in the right situation and God will bless me.”  Earning our salvation and embarking on a self-help kind of faith is totally antithetical to what our faith is about.

In our Gospel reading today, we see that Jesus is at it again, causing trouble. He is hanging out with the lowest of the low of society and the big scandal is, he seems to attract them and does nothing about it to send them away!  In this case,  Jesus is attracting tax collectors and sinners.  Tax collectors were Jewish people who were collaborating with the Roman government to fleece the local population and seen as traitors.  Sinners in this context were religious and social outcasts of  the day.  The big issue here is one of fellowship, or to what extent Jesus is willing to fully welcome and accept other people.   Jesus is breaking every social convention here and it disturbs those who are the guardians of tradition.  Those of us who call him Lord still find his all-embracing love and compassion disturbing today.

Jesus position, as it is with everything he says or does, is rooted in love.  A love so powerful, so deep, so strong, so wide, that it risks everything, and he describes this love in the parables for today, the lost sheep and the lost coin.  In the parable of the lost sheep, we see the shepherd risking safety of his flock to go and find one that has wandered off.  A lost sheep is, for all intents and purposes, dead.  The shepherd is not only risking the flock, but his entire livelihood for the sake of a sheep that could have been ravaged by dogs.  In the parable of the lost coin, we hear about someone who drops everything to search for the missing asset, and once it is found, everyone is told about it and there is great rejoicing.  And so it is we are told that when one sinner repents, there is great rejoicing in heaven.

At first glance, Jesus appears to be saying that he is hanging out with all of these lost folks in the hopes they will turn away from the sins of their lives and clean up their act.  But this isn’t exactly the case and misses the point of the parables …

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