Walter Brueggemann is a contemporary theologian who does not hedge his words. He is one of the most prolific and prophetic preachers alive. A popular quote of his aligns closely with the point of our scripture lessons today. He says, “The crisis in the church has almost nothing to do with being liberal or conservative; it has everything to do with giving up on the faith and practice of our Christian baptism and settling for a common, generic U.S. identity that is part patriotism, part consumerism, part violence, and part affluence.” Continue reading
Based on Deut. 30:15-20; 1 Cor. 3:1-9; Mt. 5:21-37
It was a long slog for the alto soloist. Not because the music was uninteresting and strewn with vocal passages of the character of high craggy mountains and deep dark valleys. But because, evidently, the soloist was overwhelmed by the flu in front of the full house. Verdi’s Requiem, ramped up by the Houston Grand Opera, was magnificently produced. The conductor commanded forces of the size and sound of the whole Fifth Army. Verdi’s music was as powerful and well-performed as ever. And somehow the alto soloist sang all she had to sing: with conviction, power, nuance, and expert technique. Continue reading
Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
January 29, 2017
Micah 6:1-8; Psalm 15; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Matthew 5:1-12
Jesus is preaching to us on the mountain.
Our mountain is now this nave, a holy place, set aside for the intimate encounter with God, a place filled with the real expectation that a revelation from God right now right here is not out of the question.
We surround Jesus who is seated, and he speaks to you and to me, personally. He speaks to me about people, but it is fine to include ourselves. Go ahead, please do include yourself among the blessed ones. Continue reading
Based on Mt. 3:1-12
As grammar nerds know, the placement of punctuation make a difference. When I say that a panda bear eats shoots and leaves, if I put a comma after “eats,” you might think that Panda has an open carry license. If a child exclaims “Let’s eat, Grandma!” but neglects to insert the comma and pause in the right place, the hearer will fear that the child is a zombie. Punctuation matters. Continue reading
This is Christ the King Sunday, when we put an exclamation point on the church year’s end. We do this because Christ alone is before all things; because through him all things came to be, and in him all things are held together. It is the day when we lift up the promise that we are held together even when our world looks fractured all around. Continue reading