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Second Sunday in Lent

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:22-30; Romans 4:13-25; Mark 8:31-38 Perhaps? We are inheritors of the promise of God made to Abram that we will be blessed and we will be a blessing. The blessing, realize fully in Jesus Christ, is not of children, of land or power, but of love, hope, and Resurrection now and in the life to come. The promise that Jesus brought to the world with him is what we have faith in. Without faith in God; without believing that we are saved and blessed through God’s action in Jesus Christ – what hope do we have to be positive instruments of God’s promise in the world? Abram is a story of faith that sets the tone for the rest of scripture. He follows God from Mesopotamia

First Sunday in Lent

Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-9; 1 Peter 3: 18-22; Mark 1:9-15 “And the Spirit immediately drove Him into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). Wilderness looms large in our story with God. In scripture wilderness generally implies desert. The dictionary says that wilderness is “an uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable region … a neglected or abandoned area.” Wilderness is a place not conducive to growth, life, love, or hope. In the wilderness we may hope only to survive. And we think of Lent that way sometimes, as a wilderness in worship that we hope to get through; in life, wilderness is something we all know too well – those places where we are vulnerable, lost, feeling dry in spirit, bereft of

Transfiguration Sunday

2 Kings 2:1-12; Psalm 50:1-6; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Mark 9:2-9 I had a long drive to make early last week and thought I would get a head start on thinking, at least, about the readings for today. And what leapt into my mind was images. I became more and more struck how images drive my understanding of God’s story of salvation that we find in Holy Scripture which fly out of the Bible and into our lives in various ways. Of course, it began with the image of Elijah being swept up into heaven by the flaming chariot and Jesus, transfigured on the mountain and shining like the sun. As I continued to muse about the images throughout Holy Writ my mind drifted back to Paul’s phrase, “the glory of Chri

Let light shine out of darkness

“…God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor 4: 6 This Sunday is the last Sunday of Epiphany; the last Sunday before Lent; a Sunday that always features the reading of Jesus being “transfigured” before the eyes of James, John, and Simon Peter. God booms out of the clouds, as Jesus shines bright like the sun, “This is my beloved, my Son. Listen to Him!” By listening to Jesus, we are invited into a closer walk with God. This Sunday we will begin a journey of discovery called The Good Book Club. The Good Book Clubis an invitation for us to read, together, during the nearl

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-12, 21c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39 There are some themes that cannot be avoided, at least not entirely, and still do justice to Mark’s rendering of the Gospel of Jesus. One is that Jesus is tremendously popular. Last week, after Jesus healed the man with a demon in the synagogue, “… at once His fame began to spread throughout the surrounding area of Galilee.” Today, before sunrise, even, Jesus’ disciples began searching for him and, when they found him, they interrupt his prayer to say, “Everyone is waiting for you.” Jesus is quickly, after the healings of the preceding day, becoming a celebrity. And why not?! He heals, casts out demons, instantly halts

Witnesses and the Great Pioneer

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…” (Hebrews 12: 1). We are in a time of great challenge in our world but also one of great promise. We are bombarded, on the one hand, with 24/7 news coverage, divisive politics, angry people, selfishness, violence, homelessness, climate change, and so much more. On the other hand, we are held up by the ever-present love of Almighty God and the people who give us such courage and strength because of the way that they try to live in the hope that Jesus empowered us with. Jesus, as Hebrews rem