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Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28 A doctor bent over the lifeless figure in bed. Then he straightened up and said, “I’m sorry to say that your husband is no more, my dear.” A feeble sound of protest came from the lifeless figure in the bed: “No, I’m still alive.” “Hold your tongue,” said the woman. “The doctor knows better than you.” —Anthony de Mello in The Heart of the Enlightened (N. Y.:Image Books, 1989). What gave Jesus His authority? Why did people listen to Him? He walked the walk of faith; practiced what he preached. He obviously cared about the people to whom he was trying to minister and was not in it, as other healers were, for money and notoriety.

What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?

What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God. Mark 1: 24 There is an interesting phenomenon that we see and hear in the Gospels but especially in Mark: demons/evil spirits recognize Jesus immediately as the Son of God. Why can it be so hard for the rest of us to know Jesus, to know and see our Lord and Savior, when we experience Him in the world, in other people, or in ourselves? When I had my recent “procedure” the care that my family took of me, their gentleness, kindness, and patience as I recovered, was an extraordinary presence of Christ to me. I didn’t necessarily see it at the time. But how does seeing goodness an

Lord, just send me back to the whale!

I take some delight (the devil in me, I suppose) in how God upends our expectations, mostly out of His great mercy. Jonah’s story, our Old Testament reading this week, is case in point. Jonah, after detouring for three days in the belly of a “great fish,” for refusing God’s call to go on Nineveh, finally shows up in this giant metropolis. He cries out for the people to repent. And, well, they do!!! They not only turn toward God but show outward signs of repentance (wearing sackcloth and ash). Jonah, as the story continues, is mighty peeved that God would bless such a damnable people, and he goes off and sulks. He cannot conceive of God’s willingness to extend mercy so far as the dirty, awful

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

1 Samuel 3:1-10; Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51 Why do we still read scripture? It’s old, right, written, some of it, nearly 3,000 years ago! The newest books are 2,000 years old and the people were very different from us. We have been hearing the story of scripture for a long time. Why keep reading and listening? Well, we still believe that God speaks to us through scripture, even though the people were in a different place and time, they are still very much like us. God’s voice springs up from the pages of scripture, revealing a God who is daunting, profound and amazingly intimate who calls us in ways both personal and communal. Secondly, God extends an invitatio

Silence. Listening. Conversation.

Silence. How often do we sit in silence and listen to the world? Do we ever walk, stand, or sit in silence, and observe the natural wonders God has placed before us? We have a lot of noise in the world and, for some, the idea of silence is not only strange but nearly unthinkable, as we cut on the radio in the car (or Pandora), plug in for every spare moment, or avoid silence in other ways. Silence, if observed with any kind of regularity, can open up spaces for God’s voice to speak to us in ways that we may never have imagined. Conversely, when we think about God, do we think about silence? When we speak to God, do we perceive silence? Is there no one listening, no one on the other end; a si

First Sunday after the Epiphany

Genesis 1: 1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1: 4-11 I think Paul’s reaction to the people of Ephesus is funny: Did you receive the HS when you became believers? Uh, what’s that, they reply. Paul stares blinkingly at them and asks, the follow up: “Well then, what the heck were you Baptized into, anyway?” “John’s Baptism,” they say, happy to actually have an answer to this one.” And Paul, pursing his lips and seeing this as a teachable moment, goes on to explain, naturally, what Baptism is. Baptism is at once an act of repentance, where we acknowledge the sin that we all have in common, and a desire to turn, for our lifetime, to God. But, then, Paul rejoins us in the notion that this is a Bapt

Genesis 1

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1: 2 The creation story is the beginning of our story. Whether we believe the creation narrative from Genesis to be the actual way the universe began or, rather, a people’s attempt to understand the mysterious nature of God’s creative power, there is something that is certain: God creates light in our darkness through the power of Her in dwelling Spirit. As we begin the new year, we could never be naïve enough to believe that there is no d