See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. 1 John 3:1
Loving God, with tender mercy you nurture us, with care you correct us, with compassion you give yourself to the world that we might see and touch and know your goodness. Thank you for this family into which you have called us, this strange assembly called church, and this holy family of life in your Spirit. Lead us in righteousness, encourage us in truth, and develop in us a forgiving spirit, filled with the love that is your gift, in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Sermon for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost Romans 12:1-8 Matthew 16:13-20 As I listened to the lessons for today, it seemed to me that identity issues are prominent. Jesus asks his disciples "who do you say that I am?" Have they been paying attention? Are they aware of what’s going on? The apostle Paul is also concerned with a couple of identity issues: using the different gifts given to each member, and also finding or forging a new identity, as members of the body of Christ. One reason these "identity issues" stood out for me is that I have been reading a book about the management style of the Jesuits, an organization within the Roman Catholic church. The author, trained as a Jesuit before leaving for a career as an investment banker, makes the case that the thing which has allowed the Jesuits to be a successful 450 year old company, is their focus first of all not on what they do, but on who they are. Their core strength as an organization originates no
Martin Luther King, Jr. often referred to the parable of the Good Samaritan ( Luke 10:25-37 ). While King’s interpretation of the parable evolved over time, he maintained a consistent focus on the way the parable allows us to examine the obligations owed to one another, provided an enduring way to read this text. King had a sermon on the topic which he used frequently. "Who Is My Neighbor?" highlights the question asked of Jesus. Jesus’ questioner, a lawyer, is testing Jesus and testing the limits of what Jesus’ God requires. They are agreed that loving God and neighbor is essential. But how far does this go? In 1964, in a sermon preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, he discerned a philosophy or motivating principle expressed in the actions of three sets of the parable’s characters. "Everyone within the sound of my voice today lives by one of these three philosophies." 1. The Robbers Often taken for granted, the waylaying of the traveler is what makes
Lloyd Gold died last Friday. Maybe you knew him, or someone like him. At his funeral, one of his friends observed that Lloyd was “not normal.” And thank God for that. You might have expected to see him in the pages of Faulkner or Flannery O’Connor, the final gone-astray scion of a once grand Southern family. Instead, Lloyd was a fixture of Hoboken and Jersey City street life for the past 20+ years. His funeral was in the basement of a funeral parlor in Newark. They were going to “throw him away,” until a long-time friend stepped in to make sure that Lloyd was buried right. I don’t know that Lloyd would have cared that much, but it was good for the nine people who came to see him off. He looked pretty good, considering he was dead, wearing his only suit jacket, his hair trimmed. Lloyd loved his jewelry, but all of it had been stolen before a friend came to pack up his things. So he went out wearing just a tiny shamrock pin, a gift he’d once given, now given back, and a necklace