The way of the cross

Palm Sunday
28 March 2010
Palm/Passion Sunday C (RCL)

Luke 19:28-40
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Luke 22:14 — 23:56

Passion Sunday is always a challenge to preach. The Passion reading seems to speak for itself, but it is such a large chunk of scripture that many who have listened to it are overwhelmed an the end of the reading. How does one connect with this reading? How is one to be changed. Mark’s Passion story seems intended to serve as an example for christians about to face persecution themselves: be like Jesus, not Peter, Mark seems to be saying. Make the good confession.

Each of the subsequent Gospel accounts changes the focus somewhat. In Luke’s passion, which we hear this week, Jesus seems to be in control of events. He is almost serene ( Continue reading “The way of the cross”


Fourth Sunday of Lent
14 March 2010
Lent 4C (RCL)

Joshua 5:9-12
Psalm 32
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

The story of the prodigal son is one of the most familiar in the New Testament (second only maybe to the Good Samaritan). The usual interpretation has to do with God’s great grace in forgiving us when we have wandered far from God. Or, sometimes, we talk about our resentment at seeing others, more profligate than us, receiving God’s grace.

The story can be read as about the relationship between Jewish and Gentile christians. Continue reading “Reconciliation”

Take off your shoes

Third Sunday in Lent
7 March 2010
Lent 3C (RCL)

Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 63:1-8
1 Corinthians 1-:1-13
Luke 13:1-9

Not long after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, one of the radio evangelists (I think it was Pat Robertson) blamed the devastation on the deal that the Haitian people had made with the devil. He was refering to the purported use of voodoo, or that strange mix of Christianity and African religion. Evidently, according to him, the Haitian slaves had used voodoo to help through off the French colonial government. The earthquake was punishment for that mephistophelian deal. Some people come to Jesus and tell the story of eighteen Galileans whom Pilate had killed, probably during Passover. Jesus asks, “So, do you think they were worse sinners than other Galileans (who came to Jerusalem for the feast)?” And then he says something that just arrests us. “No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will also perish.” The need to blame people for their own suffering is a way of saying, “It can never happen to us.” We never made a deal with the devil, we don’t practice voodoo, and since this earthquake is God’s punishment for voodoo, such a thing will never happen to us.” Jesus doesn’t even engage the question whether this is sound theological reasoning or not. He just goes straight for the fear. You think you’re safe? Think again. It could happen to you. And so, repent, retrain, rethink the way you’re living your life. How would you want to be living if you thought this might happen to you?

Continue reading “Take off your shoes”