December 20, 2020 “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel”

“Veni, Veni, Emmanuel” Let’s talk about music for Advent. Truth is, there isn’t a lot to choose from. When you consider the volumes of Christmas carols and songs and cantatas and even oratorios, the poor little season of Advent somehow just gets left behind. But here’s the thing: despite all the Christmas movies and Dolly Parton specials and Blue Christmas’s with Elvis, there is one song that has been with us for over 1200 years that is all about this period – this season –...

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December 13, 2020 “The Nature of Life As the People of God”

“The Nature of Life as the People of God”   “To celebrate the future as a memory, and to praise God for having already done what lies before us to do, is the nature of life as the people of God.”  Fred Craddock Welcome to this, the 3rd Sunday in the season of Advent, December 13, 2020. I’m not sure why, exactly, but for some reason I felt it important to put a time stamp on this particular day in this particular time. It happens every year, and this year is no...

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December 6, 2020 “This Is How It Begins”

“This Is How It Begins” Isaiah 40:1-11 Mark 1:1-8 Let’s talk about Mark- particularly the gospel of Mark. I was told long ago that if you were only allowed only one gospel to read and study to understand the life and death and teachings of Jesus Christ, then pick Mark. Mark’s Gospel is almost exactly half the length of Matthew and Luke which in the day when scrolls were quite expensive, made Mark’s gospel a real bargain and I’m sure there were quite a few of them floating...

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November 29, 2020 “The Holiness of Waiting”

“The Holiness of Waiting” Isaiah 64:1-9 Mark 13:24-37   I had a thought the other day. Yeah, that can be dangerous, I know. But as I was trying to get in the right mood and the right spirit for this Advent season, I got to wondering who it was that ever thought it would be a good idea to create a season that celebrates…waiting? I mean, no one likes to wait. It’s annoying and it’s aggravating. My first thought was that it was probably the same guy that invented the gas...

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November 22, 2020 “What Kind of King”

“What Kind of King” Ezekiel 34 and Matthew 25:31-46 It seems that a large Texan school district has recently approved and received a new set of textbooks. But along the way, a group of concerned parents decided to conduct their own review of these textbooks because…that’s what parents do. In the process, they found 231 errors, including the following: Napoleon winning the battle of Waterloo, President Truman dropping the atom bomb on Korea, and General Douglas MacArthur...

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November 15, 2020 “Save It for Now”

“Save It For Now” Matthew 25:14-30 First of all, is anyone aware that two weeks from today – Nov. 29 – is the first Sunday of Advent? I don’t mention this to push you all into a tailspin of depression because Advent…well, just ain’t going to be the same this year. We all know that, and it’s going to up to us to honor our time-honored traditions as best we can. No, I mention this because with Advent comes the end of the Christian year, at least the Liturgical year. For the...

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November 8, 2020 “There’s Gonna Be a Wedding….Eventually”

“There’s Gonna Be a Wedding….Eventually” Matthew 25: 1-13 Joshua 24:1-31, 14-25 The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids. I have one word for this somewhat perplexing parable. Actually, I have quite a few words: befuddled, bewildered, bamboozled; and I’ll just stop right there. Is it just me, or does anyone else have “issues” with this story? I mean, I get it that it was the custom of the time for all the guests to gather at the house of the groom’s father. And I get it that as...

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November 1, 2020 “We All Need Something Special”

“We All Need Something Special” Matthew 5:1-12 I don’t know why, but I can’t help but feel that today is…well, special. I can’t explain it. You know, for the past few months we have all needed for something – anything – to come along that we could call “special.” From the folks that couldn’t go to Europe this summer to the others that can’t even go to the movies, our lives have been cut short of “special” by the constant threat of an infectious disease. So we crave a reason...

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October 25, 2020 “Always Aim for the Center”

“Always Aim For the Center” Matthew 22:34-46 A seminary professor, Audrey West, shared the story of a video about archery recently that I found spot on for our Gospel message today. It began with a young man tossing a six-inch wooden disk into the air above his head. Seconds later an arrow sped its way into the face of the disk, fracturing it into pieces that fell to the ground near his feet. A high-speed camera that was replayed in slow motion showed that the arrow hit...

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October 18, 2020 “Marvelously Baffled and Amazed”

“Marvelously Baffled and Amazed” Matthew 22:15-22 “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are genuine and that you teach the way of God as it really is… So tell us what you think: Does the law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Now, for those like me who were scrambling to make the October 15th IRS extension deadline, this parable hit a little too close to home. It was the late night host Jimmie Kimmel that once said, “The IRS suggests filing early to reduce the...

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