Sermon Prep and Lectionary Prayers for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

For July 17, 2016 SCRIPTURE READINGS Colossians 1:15-28 Luke 10:38-42 RESPONDING TO THE TEXT The story presented in this week’s Lectionary reading will be familiar for many. The main characters, Martha and Mary, are also very familiar. While they are mentioned in several other places in the New Testament, this passage is famous for identifying Martha…

To Whom Does Your Heart Belong?

Revelation 5:1-14 At the heart of Christian worship is the belief that God is worthy of worship. What are we here after? Do you ever walk into a room or go to the store and ask yourself “Now what was I here after?” We all know that feeling, don’t we? That feeling of not being so sure…

A season of promise and the lie of a crossless grace

This is the Easter season, post Resurrection, on the other side of the cross. And while some Americans shout “Make America Great Again,” most of the American church has liturgically moved into the season of Easter promises, failing entirely to notice the significance of Easter’s cross. By the cross here, I do not mean that…

Dear future humanity: please forgive us.

As we stand today, there are a lot of obstacles before us to forming communities dedicated to wholeness and justice. First, our society has never fostered the ability to listen to the needs of the vulnerable among us. Both our urban and rural communities have been designed to support systems of domination rather than oppose them. Indeed, there seems to be no collective…

The Repentant Church’s Non-Triumphal Witness

I am alarmed–even frightened–by the arrogant, Pecksniffian, self-righteous confidence that pervades the politics of America’s current presidential campaigns. Yet, I think what we are really seeing is nothing new; it is, rather, the surfacing of a disposition that has always undergirded the status quo, a disposition that almost always goes unchallenged. And for too long, the Church…

Vineyard Tales (Matthew 21:33-46)

  After being confronted by the chief priests and the elders–representatives of the Sanhedrin—and asked to justify his authority, Jesus continued his response with another parable. He reminded them of an ancient Israel tradition: the telling of Vineyard Tales.   “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around…

“Faith and Fratricide”: A repentant response

One of the most important books I read in seminary was by Rosemary Radford Ruether, titled Faith and Fratricide. Her approach failed to take seriously hardly any of the traditional claims about God by Jews or Christians. Nevertheless, her rebuke of the triumphalist theology of Christendom and its approach to Judaism is something I believe every seminary student…