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In Spite of Evidence to the Contrary

Sunday, March 4, 2012 — Lent 2B — Romans 4:13-25 Mark 8:31-38

​The Scriptures talk about “faith” in many different ways. One of my favorites is the letter to the Hebrews (11:1) where “faith” is described as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” St. Paul speaks of “faith” in a similar way in today’s second reading from Romans (4:18). Paul says faith is “hoping against hope.” Or, as I would paraphrase it, believing in something “in spite of evidence to the contrary.”

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Torn - Jesus Is Mocked

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 — Lenten Vespers 1 — Matthew 27:27-31

Who has not seen the bully who tears into his victims, not only tearing their clothing but tearing into their hearts and souls. He wants to humiliate them, to grind them into the ground and maybe even destroy them, if he could. He mocks and ridicules them so that his victims would grovel and eat some dust. And he gets to look down on them. Of course, this betrays the dirty little secret that no bully ever wants to admit. He too is unsure and insecure. He must tear into someone so that he can be somebody . . . because deep down he is afraid that he is nobody. We have all suffered at the hands of such bullies. We know what it is like to be mocked, ridiculed and then crumble to the ground, ashamed to even take up space.

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The Big Lie

Sunday, February 26, 2012 — Lent 1 B — Mark 1:9-15

Every year this first Sunday in Lent transports us to a bare and blistered region of Palestine called “the wilderness.” There we witness the cosmic struggle between Jesus and Satan. To begin the season of Lent with the story of the temptation of Jesus is the church’s way of saying . . . “The only path to a true celebration of the Easter resurrection must pass through the wilderness of temptation.”

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Washing Our Hands of It

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 — Ash Wednesday — Matthew 27:20-17

It is something we all do all too often. When faced with a problem we do not want to face, a responsibility with which we do not want to deal or a mistake we do not want to face, we “wash our hands of it.”

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Faith for the Valley

Sunday, February 19, 2012 — The Transfiguration of Our Lord B — Mark 9:2-9

​Have you ever had a “mountain top experience,” when your faith was so real, when God was so close, when everything was so clear that you felt that your life could never again be the same? Perhaps it was at a retreat, the birth of your child, a special Christmas Eve service, a hike in the woods or being the undeserved beneficiary of an act of charity. BUT . . . then you had to go back home, to your daily routine and to your ordinary church where the altar guild makes mistakes, the choir can be off key, the pastor can preach boring sermons and people can behave badly.

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