Monday, November 30, 2009

Sermon: Advent 1C

Advent 1C from Good Shepherd on Vimeo.

Text here:

While I haven’t yet seen it, the new movie 2012 is built around the ancient Mayan Prophecy that the world will end on December 21, 2012, which is said to be the end date of the 5,125-year-long Mayan Long Count calendar of one age and the beginning of another.

While the Mayans were long on math, they were short on details. Leaving many scientists to believe that the calendar doesn’t predict the end of life on this planet. But it simply marks a turn of the calendar. No different from when we change the cute 2009 calendar with the cute puppy 2010 calendar.

But that doesn’t stop the doomsday sayers. End of the world prophecies are VERY popular. They’re romantic, even sexy. They provide drama to a boring life. Power to an insignificant life.

After all, what is more important than the end of all things, the destruction of the planet, the finale to all existence? And if we have some inside information, we possess knowledge that most people don’t have. Giving us a sense of power.

2012 doomsday advocates don’t have to look far for support that the world will end some day. Today’s gospel provides some pretty heady predictions that sends the heart racing of everyone worried about whether the world will end by next commercial break. Jesus says that...(whole thing here)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sermon: Christ the King - Year B

Reign of Christ the King - Year B from Good Shepherd on Vimeo.

The folks who put the lectionary know what they’re doing. The lectionary being the series of bible passages that we read each week at worship. I certainly don’t choose the bible readings. Most churches around the world read the same bible passages. It’s something that unites us.

I don’t always agree with how they divide up the texts. They leave important passages out and often (I think) distort the meaning of the readings by how they lump them together.

But this week I can see twinkles in their eyes as they assign the reading from John on the one hand, and the readings from Daniel and Revelation on the other.

In John we get Jesus and Pilate bantering back and forth. Pilate representing worldly power and authority. And Jesus representing God’s dominion over the world. Jesus is the one who ends up dying a horrible. Pilate just washes his hands.

But in Daniel and Revelation we hear about God’s presence burning like fire while thousands of thousands attend to the Almighty’s every need. We hear threats of universal judgement and promises of everlasting kingdoms. We get unbridled power. Overwhelming omnipotence. Unrelenting strength.

So, John gives us Jesus on the losing end of a trial. Daniel and Revelation give us divine glory. Utter defeat verses total victory.

Which is it? What are we supposed to do with this?

And this isn't a question for cranky preachers up way too early on a Sunday morning. It's a question for...(whole thing here)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sermon: Pentecost 23 - Year B

Pentecost 23B from Good Shepherd on Vimeo.

Text here:

“The building is our idol,” our esteemed bishop said in his report at yesterday's Southern Conference Convention. “Some churches, if they had a choice,” he said, “would rather be without a pastor than a building.”

I immediately knew what he was talking about. My first church was like that. They had been without a pastor for about two years before I arrived. And when I was moving into the parsonage a couple council members made it known to me that they were happier without a pastor.

At first I thought they were saying that being without a pastor energized the congregation, that ministry was happening among all God's people, not just the ones wearing dog collars, that people were empowered to live out their baptismal calling through Word, Sacrament, and service. I thought they meant that being without a pastor meant that they were forced to flex their ministry muscles.

No. That's NOT what they meant...(whole thing here)