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Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

Job 42:1-6, 10-17; Psalm 34:1-8; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52 What does it mean to truly see? We hear and look a lot but do we see? Each week we hear the scriptures as they are read but are we able to “visualize,” to see, where God would lead us, how God would renew and restore us? Are we able, are we willing, to see the world for what it really is: beautiful and created by God and, at the same time, struggling and barren in many places? I speak of not merely the physical landscape but the spiritual one, as well. We are invited by the psalmist to “taste and see” that the Lord is good. But we can only truly see God, be transformed by God, and see the road and journey ahead if we keep both e

Praising God, even when things are aren't what we want them to be

The Psalms over the past weeks have been some of my favorites but this week is particularly wonderful. It is all about the goodness of God and how our response to that goodness is praise. Praise makes a lot more sense, though, when things are good, doesn’t it? I remember 1993 as a particularly turbulent year in my life. I went through a divorce, the most singularly sad event of my life. I was very lost and not sure where I was going, at almost 30 years of age, in this life that God had given me. God seemed, in fact, very far off. I decided to go back to get my MFA in Acting/Performance in 1994 and remember the moment, after a set of acting auditions at a major theatre conference went really

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

Job 38:1-7; Psalm 104:1-9, 25, 37b; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45 If we look at all the readings in total today, they seem a bit like a tale of two Gods. In Job, God says to Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? I didn’t see you at the any of the planning meetings!” And the Psalmist has this magisterial, awesome, cosmic view of God; God is so amazing in Psalm 104 that He “wraps himself in light (the stars) like a cloak.” Set against this image of a creative God is Jesus of Nazareth, a small, itinerant preacher-carpenter who embraces his servanthood and proclaims that He “will give His life as a ransom for many … for all.” How do we square the colossus of our Creator

How excellent is your greatness

O Lord my God, how excellent is your greatness! You are clothed with majesty and splendor. You wrap yourself with light as with a cloak, and spread out the heavens like a curtain. Psalm 104: 1b-2 Psalm 104 taps into the majesty, mystery, and cosmic wonder of our creative God. God often, particularly in the Old Testament witness, takes on an otherworldly form, a greatness that is so awesome it can inspire terror, as well as wonder. Now, I am much more comfortable, personally, thinking about our earthy, touchable, and approachable Jesus – the One who died for me and saved me; the Holy One that loves me. But, one of my challenges, one of our difficulties in our faith journey, is that we don’t o

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22:1-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31 We really have two types of confession in our tradition: a confession of sin and one of faith. Don’t raise your hand, but has anyone ever been to “confession” or the Rite of Reconciliation? We have a general confession in our Book of Common Prayer, between the Prayers of the People and the Peace. In it we publicly ask God for forgiveness in a general way, with maybe our own personal "asks" wedged into the brief silence before we begin. Is that what confession is? We also have a confession of faith, which we most formally see in our Creeds. A confession is a declaration and whether we are approaching God for pardon or pledging o

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Job 1:1; 2:1-10; Psalm 26; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16 There was a movie, I can’t remember which, where a young boy has become an actor and is a bit of a prima donna. He is doing a commercial and is doing take after take where he has to eat cereal that he finds awful. Finally, after one take too many, he cries out, “Who am I, Job?!” Having the patience of Job, going through the trials of Job, etc. has become something of a cliché in the English language, almost a parody of its actual meaning: a symbol of extreme and seemingly unmerited suffering. And we are always circling back ‘round to suffering because Scripture, like life, is rife with it; we cannot get away from the reality of s

The Word of God is not chained

“Remember [the gospel of] Jesus Christ…for which I suffer, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.” 2 Timothy 2:9b-10 The above words are believed to have been written by the Apostle Paul to his young disciple, Timothy, during the older man’s final imprisonment in Rome. Paul was imprisoned many times; beaten, stoned, rejected, and mocked during his travels proclaiming the freeing death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Is it rather ironic, isn’t it, that Paul would use the phrase “the word of God is not chained,” while he, himself, was a literal prisoner for proclaiming the message of God’s love so articulately, proudly, and passionately? What

Why community? Why, Jesus?

Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you. -I Peter 3:15 I love our church, our building, the feel of the space, our parish hall, etc. I adore our people who are wonderful and caring people who love their church, too. I received my weekly Monday Matters from Executive Director of RenewalWorks Jay Sidebotham this morning. And his reflection was about the "whys." Why, specifically, would we ask someone to come to our church? Why do we think our church is important enough to keep going? And folks have responses to these questions, like mine above: we love the way our church makes us feel. We love the way our church looks. We wa