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 [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 [Read More…]

“Living Lent”

Reposting this beautiful reflection for Lent.  It was written by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton in her book, Living Lent and I blatantly stole the idea of using the reflection in worship from my friends at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. We didn’t even know what moderation was. What it felt like. We didn’t just [Read More…]

Good Friday: Five Reflections

Tonight’s service was a Calvary version of a traditional tenebrae service.  In this service the light was extinguished, little by little, as we heard scripture, music, and poetry that told the stories of our faith and made space for reflection.  Our service ended with the Kol Nidre played on the cello, an Aramaic prayer usually played or sung [Read More…]

From Palms to Protest

From Palms to Protest Matthew 21:1-11 Think back, if you will, to January 20, 2009.  It was a notable day, as the United States inaugurated the 44th president of the United States and our first black president, Barack Obama.  I think most anywhere in the world with a satellite signal you would know that something [Read More…]

Salvation

Speaking of Sin: Salvation John 11:1-45 “Are you saved?” A few years ago someone asked me that question…and I didn’t know what to say. That’s what an evangelical childhood plus a seminary education will do to you. I didn’t know how to answer what seemed to the questioner a pretty straightforward query.  That’s because salvation [Read More…]

Penance

Speaking of Sin: Penance John 9:1-41 You and I, we don’t know how to talk about sin.  The whole concept makes us uncomfortable. We’ve been making that case every Sunday this Lent, but if you aren’t yet convinced all you needed to do this week was turn on NPR to see the reaction Pope Francis [Read More…]

Repentance

Speaking of Sin: Repentance John 4: 5-42 Fred Phelps died this week.  As you may know, Fred was the founding pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church, a small independent church in Topeka, Kansas.  Fred put his church on the map by staging protests at any number of events, waving signs printed with hateful, hurtful theological [Read More…]

Sin

Speaking of Sin: Sin Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 Welcome to the first Sunday of the season of Lent.  In the liturgical calendar of the church year, Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to the celebration of resurrection, Easter Sunday.  It is characterized in churchy circles by frequent conversation about giving something up or [Read More…]

Pretty Good Friday

Holy Week is rather intense around our house, primarily because Mom is working a lot and we all spend quite a bit of time at church. Since this also happens to be Spring Break (no school) well, you might imagine the juggling going on. To try to keep things straight I’ve lately found myself reviewing [Read More…]