Year Zero

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Advent 1 Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36 Why do only bad things seem to presage Christ's return? Well, for starters, in order for the new world to begin, the old one must definitively come to an end. Jesus says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will...

So you are a king?

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Proper 29 Christ the King Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Revelation 1:4-8; John 18:33-37 Christ the King and the First Sunday of Advent present some of the most vivid and — troubling passages of Scripture — and they can seem quite out of place as the rest of the world gears up for the...

Believers have a future

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Proper 28 Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-25; Mark 13:1-8 Sunday's readings talk about the future, and the fact that the followers of Christ have a future worth believing in. That hope is rooted in the second coming of Jesus the Messiah. For many, the past is the present feeling of...

God's widows

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Proper 27 1 Kings 17:8-16; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44 People make two common errors in religion. The first is to count religion a trifle that is easily satisfied by ritual, for instance, the "rich people" who "put in large sums" to the treasury in Sunday's gospel. There is nothing...

Why Sacrifice?

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Proper 24 Isaiah 53:4-12; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45What could be more pointless than sacrifice? Kill an innocent animal for my sins? Worse, kill an innocent man for the sins of the whole world? I would no sooner take a baseball bat to my new car. It seems like a costly waste. Yet the...

Christians and good government

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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...