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Jesus and the Poor

Sunday, March 17, 2013 — Lent 5 C — John 12:1-8

I remember when I didn’t want to eat my mother’s stuffed peppers. She would tell me, “Just think of all the poor and starving children in Africa who have nothing to eat.” I would think of all those starving kids, feel guilty and choke down my stuffed peppers. But after a while, the guilt would wear off. I would look at the stuffed peppers and think, “I bet the poor and starving kids in Africa are going to hate this stuff as much as I do. Besides, how is this food on my plate going to help feed the poor and starving in Africa when they are over 10,000 miles away?” I decided that my mother’s concern was less for the poor and starving in Africa than that her cooking not go to waste.

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Let’s Party!

Sunday, March 10, 2013 — Lent 4C — Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

This party will serve first class food all the way. They will kill the fatted calf. We are not talking about cheese spread on stale crackers here or sliced cucumbers and a few olives on saltines. There will be fine wine and craft beer at an open bar. This party will serve the finest cuisine: roast duck, veal cutlet, filet mignon, Alaskan lobster and Cornish hen. The music is going to be more than a disk jockey playing noisy recorded pop music that is so loud than you can’t hear yourself talk. This party is going to have live music . . . . a chamber orchestra from the symphony, Joshua Bell with his violin, Bruce Springsteen with the E Street band and for those who like crooners, Michael Buble. They will even take your personal requests. There will be dancing for those who want to get out on the floor and move to the music. Of course, these days no one ever needs to have taken a class from Arthur Murray to be considered a dancer. Anyone can do the “chicken dance.” Although, some would be better off if they did not.

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My Song Is Love Unknown

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 — Lenten Vespers 3 — Matthew 27:15-26

We usually don’t think of Lenten hymns as love songs. Yet, that is exactly what our hymn this evening is. “My Song is Love Unknown” is a soulful and tender love song that wistfully recalls the suffering love of Christ on the cross. It is a love totally unique, a love the likes of which the world has never known . . . or sung.

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Why?

Sunday, March 3, 2013 — Lent 3 C — Luke 13:1-9

I hate phone calls at three in the morning. No one calls at that time of the day unless something really bad has happened. One night it did. A sobbing mother told me that she found her infant dead in bed. The doctors said it was SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. However, that was not enough for the grieving mother. She wanted to know more. “Pastor, WHY? Why did this happen? What have I done to deserve this?”

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Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 — Lenten Vespers 2 — I Corinthians 1:18-25

This soulful Lenten hymn calls our attention to the irony, the surprise, the utterly unexpected that it is at the heart of our Christian faith: the cross. There is nothing more ironic than the cross. It connects what would never seem to go together, things like laughter and sorry, life and death, blessing and curse. We gather beneath the cross of Jesus, the graphic reminder of our unworthiness and yet the supreme declaration of God’s love.

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