(Author’s note: Early last Saturday morning, September 30th, my 40-year-old nephew, Ryan Bagley, was shot and killed at work by an intruder who stole his car, parked it in the middle of Interstate 5 near the Oregon-California border, and then proceeded to shoot at oncoming cars. The driver of one of those cars lost control … More Celebrating the “Wild and Precious Life” of Ryan Paul Bagley
Silence isn’t always golden. Sometimes it’s leaden— laden with the weight of heavy hearts. Sometimes it’s toxic— spiked with the poison punch of bitter hatred. And sometimes silence is dark— haunted by the glare of unseen eyes— like the cave where Elijah tried to hide, only to be found by the silence. But whatever else … More Silence Isn’t Always Golden
(A sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost A 2017, August 13, 2017, based on Matthew 14:22-33 and 1 Kings 19:9-18) This week hatred and its hideous cousin, fear, reared their ugly heads once again. They showed up with all their usual terrifying baggage: tweets and taunts and threats, as they strutted across … More Love Casts Out Fear and Conquers Hate
(Sermon for the Third Sunday of Easter A, 30 April 2017, based on Luke 24:13-35.) Luke the Evangelist tells us that the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus is a distance of seven miles, but you and I know better…. We know better, because even though most of us have never been to Jerusalem, at one … More Companion, Stranger, Sacrament: Christ is With Us!
(In lieu of a sermon, this pastor’s perspective on the process of writing a sermon, with a bit of commentary on John 20:19-31, the gospel lesson for the Second Sunday of Easter, near the end–couldn’t help myself!) When I was serving at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Vancouver a few years ago, members of the congregation … More How Does a Sermon Come Into Being?
(Sermon for the Resurrection of Our Lord, 16 April 2017, based on Matthew 28:1-10. Apologies for the lateness in posting!–MM) Christ is risen! [“He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!…] This is no harmless message we proclaim because in this often-heartless world we live in “harmless” just won’t cut it!… “Harmless” won’t cut through the…hard-heartedness of modern … More Christ is Alive!
Remember. Receive. Respond. These are the three lessons I took home with me from the interfaith Seder I attended at our local Jewish community center last Thursday….. But before I continue, I just have to say: As gifts from God, these lessons are by no means confined to ritual seders and sacraments; they can—and do–show … More Seders, Sacraments, and the Stuff of Life
I have a friend who reminds me of a butterfly….. Like a butterfly that struggles and thrusts its way out of its cocoon, my friend is fluttering and fighting to escape the trappings of the temporary tomb where she was trapped for too long. In that tomb she was held captive by fear and by … More The Messy, Beautiful Miracle of Resurrection
Jesus didn’t see “a blind man.” Jesus saw “a man.” “Blind from birth.” Do you hear the difference?… But wait—there’s more! You know how things tend to get lost in translation? Well, in the original Greek of the New Testament it says Jesus saw an “anthropos,” a fellow human being, as in the word … More Learning to See Our Own Blindness
When we meet up with Jesus in today’s gospel lesson, he’s been walking all morning. So, by the time he finally sits down near Jacob’s well, he’s really tired and thirsty. (I think we all know what that feels like! Amen?!…) To be in need of rest and refreshment after a long journey … More Jesus Was a Rule Breaker