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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

Genesis 2:5-17; 3:1-7 Controversy is swirling in conservative Christian circles this week over the release of the movie based on the best-selling book, The Shack.  The book, originally self-published by author William Paul Young in 2007 has sold more than 10 million copies and been translated into over thirty languages. Of course there’s a movie! The book is the story of a man named Mack who has suffered unimaginable loss in the death of his child.  Receiving a summons from… Read more

Last week I received several expressions of gratitude for making myself available to impose ashes at two Ash Wednesday services. People said the kindest things, like: “I know you have so very much on your plate. Thank you for taking time out to lead services today.” I found these comments a bit curious, as leading worship is a rather significant part of my job description. So I began to wonder about why people were thanking me. Ash Wednesday is typically… Read more

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