Christians and good government

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Proper 23 Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31 An old hymn, since excised from our modern hymnals, has this verse: Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong; Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong; We naturally admire...

Jealousy and gratitude

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Proper 21 Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50 We usually think of jealousy in terms of what we don't have, rather than what we have. But what if it turns out that jealousy is actually a form of ingratitude? That's what seems to be going on in this Sunday's readings...

Clarifying God's word

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Proper 20 Jeremiah 11:18-20; James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37 God's word is not meant to confuse us; at the same time there are things in it that are hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:16). Here are three examples. Gen. 1:26, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness." We say this so...

Back to school

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Proper 19 Isaiah 50:4-9a; James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38 There is a religious aspect to teaching, even when the subject matter is not religious and the school is non-sectarian. This is because what is taught ought to be, at the very least, true. Since truth is determined by God (consider...

Even the dogs

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Proper 18 Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-10 (11-13) 14-18; Mark 7:24-37 Of all the words uttered by Jesus, these from Sunday's Gospel are sure to shatter your "Sunday School" image of Jesus gentle, meek, and mild. To the Syrophoenician woman, begging Jesus to exorcise the demon from her...

Addition by subtraction

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Proper 17 Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23 After last week's sermon (see: "Put away the gods"), a parishioner said to me, "Your sermon needs a sequel. What are we, as the chosen, supposed to do?" This week's readings from Deuteronomy give the answer. Moses...

Put away the gods

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Proper 16 Joshua 24:1-2, 14-18; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69 We make much of our Declaration of Independence (and rightly so, as I preached on July 4th). As a culture, we prize autonomy and independence. But have you ever thought what it would be like to make a declaration of...

A mature Christian faith

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Proper 15 Proverbs 9:1-6; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58 Sometimes we think that growing up means growing out of our faith, but don't confuse sophistication with maturity. Phrases like, "the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith" are catchy, but heretical. Jesus asks us to believe in...

God is motivated by compassion

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Proper 11 Jeremiah 23:1-6; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 It may feel like we're up against a lot, and, if fact, we are. One word I often hear people use to describe the past 15 months is "biblical." The world is changing fast. We are asked to change with it, but seldom are we asked...

Truth is its own reward

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Christians are called to live by "every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Too often, however, we are afraid of the consequences. Faithfulness to God can cost us much that we value, including our lives. It cost John the Baptist his life, as we read in this Sunday's gory...