Signs of Life

John 21:1-19 What are you supposed to do after resurrection? I mean, really. What are you supposed to do after everything you know about life changes? We’re one week away from resurrection, so it’s natural to ask the same question the disciples were asking each other. Now what? Well, they didn’t know.  They didn’t know that resurrection was just the start—just the beginning of a whole new way of living.  Their work now was to look for signs of life—resurrection—all… Read more

This is Only the Beginning of Resurrection

My Facebook feed tells me that a lot of people I know and love spent a significant part of Easter day working to capture cute pictures of their children in various Easter-related poses. Looking back through old family photo albums, in fact, it seems I have also been guilty of dressing my progeny in uncomfortable outfits, snapping pictures of them crawling through the bushes looking for plastic Easter eggs, and making them pose pretending they liked each other. While it… Read more

A Matter of Life and Death

Matthew 28:1-10 Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! In America and Great Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a little-known but thriving community of professionals known as “the resurrectionists.” With the advent of modern medical schools, the study of human anatomy and medicine required actual human bodies be available for dissection and study, but it seems nobody was interested in donating a body to science back then. Without a steady supply of bodies to study, the… Read more

Goodbyes: A Meditation for Maundy Thursday

I think that one of the hardest and most beautiful parts of being human is saying goodbye.  All of us, it doesn’t matter who you are, say goodbye to dreams and expectations we’ve held for our lives…goodbye to places that hold meaning and ground us…and, goodbye to people we love.  When we say goodbye, whatever the circumstances of that parting, there is this unique moment of opportunity to look back on all the joy and pain of that human relationship… Read more

Everything Must Change: Protest

Matthew 21:1-11 Try to imagine what it was like that day. The weather hadn’t started to get oppressively hot in the desert yet; the air was still cool, especially at night.  And up there on the Mount of Olives, a long ridge running beside Jerusalem and looking over into the city, there was a breeze that rustled their cloaks and felt a little bit like optimism.  I imagine it must have been sunny that day, too.  But it wasn’t just… Read more

50 years after ‘Beyond Vietnam’: What’s changed?

April 4, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” a speech the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered in the nave of The Riverside Church exactly one year to the day before his assassination. Our country will be marking the anniversaries of one of Dr. King’s more strident and urgent sermons and his murder under an administration endorsed by white supremacists. Let that sink in for a minute. Within this context, it seems clear… Read more

Lessons from St. Patrick’s Day

“Our people know about coffin ships — boats that sink to the bottom of the sea with everyone on board.” Close your eyes and imagine the voice who said those words. Who do you a picture? An African-American describing slave ships on the Middle Passage? A Cuban refugee who knows what it is to cling to anything that will float 90 miles to a different world? A descendant of the countless Jews who fled Europe in the 1930s? A Syrian… Read more

Everything Must Change: The Past

Exodus 17:1-7 You cannot have grown up in the 1980s without having had your childhood shaped, at least in part, by Michael J. Fox’s hit 1985 film Back to the Future.  The film is the story of teenager Marty McFly, who is sent back in time to 1955.  While there he figures out pretty quickly that it’s probably not a great idea to try to change the past, even if you could.  Remember what happened to Marty?  Awkward things like:… Read more

Everything Must Change: Home

Genesis 12:1-9 Even if I had a blindfold on, I would know I was at home. There’s something unique about the air of the Hawaiian Islands, where I grew up.  For one thing, the air smells…sweet.  It’s a smell that’s a mixture of ocean and flowers that I have never smelled anywhere else. And it’s hard to explain, but there’s a quality in the air that is soft.  Maybe it’s because of the constant trade winds coming off the ocean,… Read more

Truth in a Post-Fact World

These days the words of the Psalmist keep coming to mind: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills; From where shall my help come?” I imagine that when he wrote these words, the chaos of his life was swirling around him, and perhaps the only way he could think to navigate his way through the immediate situation was to fix his eyes on something bigger, more enduring than the circumstances of the present moment. Even in times of relative calm,… Read more

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