Even the dogs

Posted by Jacob Dell on

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

Posted by Jacob Dell on

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

Posted by Jacob Dell on

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...

Author of Liberty

Posted by Jacob Dell on

What makes us free? 245 years ago citizens of the 13 colonies asked this same question. They had to fight Great Britain and debate each other to find out. They replaced one principle of unity (the Crown) with another (the Union). They reserved rights for themselves, their associations, and...

Affliction gives way to restoration

Posted by Jacob Dell on

What does God have to do with afflictions like chronic illnesses and premature death? We find out in this Sunday's readings from Lamentations and Mark. In Lamentations, Jeremiah finds hope in Israel's sufferings. If Israel can still suffer, it means Israel has not been entirely destroyed...

Creation's storms

Posted by Jacob Dell on

We face many storms in life, not just physical, but emotional ones too. We've just lived through a storm unlike any in living memory. As we saw during the past 15 months, the Christian gets no special pass. We have to face things, just like everyone else. The difference is that Christians...

Are you an insider or an outsider?

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Are you an insider or an outsider? Jesus did not always make Himself clear. In fact, He purposely obscured His message to outsiders while explaining His message to a select few. With so many people plotting against Him, that made good sense. Instead of speaking directly, He spoke to the...