Pentecost 21 A: Be Holy, Not Holier Than Thou

The alternative Old Testament reading for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost is Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18

 

The Lord directs Moses to lay down this foundation for all of Israel’s behavior: “You shall be holy, for I, the LORD your God am holy.”

This is followed in our reading with social justice demands against judicial bias, slander, hatred, and […]

Pentecost 19A: God’s Terrible, Terrific Expectations

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is Matthew 22:1-14, the Parable of the Wedding Banquet.

 

As we listen to Jesus as church members, we are generally okay with the first part. The king is God, the son is Jesus, the banquet is for us. Those lazy, distracted people at home watching the football game, playing golf, working on […]

Pentecost 18a: Are You Talking About Us Jesus?

The Gospel reading for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost is Matthew 21:33-26.

 

Jesus has entered Jerusalem as the humble, Suffering Servant Messiah that he is. Some, who Jesus likens to infants and nursing babies, hail him rightly as the Son of David. But the elite religious teachers refuse to accept his authority.

 

Jesus then tells them a […]

Pentecost 17A What Does Authority Look Like?

The Gospel for the 17 Sunday after Pentecost is Matthew 21:23-32

“By what authority do you do these things, Jesus?”

 

Behind the current battle about “fake news,” and whom to believe—scientists or politicians, is an existential question about the nature of true authority.

There is a great difference between authority and authoritarianism. Matthew tells us about a confrontation […]

Pentecost 16a: The Limits of Rage and Zeal

The alternative first reading for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost is Jonah 3:10–4:11. This, and not the Big Fish, is the heart of the book. Jonah is forced to preach a warning to his arch-enemies in Nineveh. They repent. God changes his mind and forgives them. Jonah is angry, and wants to hold onto his […]

Pentecost 15a: Distanced, Different, But Not Divided

The Second Reading for this Sunday is Romans 14:1-12

 

It contains words such as ideas:

Welcome, and do not judge others who have different convictions, and live differently than you.
Leave the judging to God, who is, after all, merciful and capable of helping the fallen get up and stand.
Ultimately, all differences are superseded by Oneness: the one […]

Pentecost 14: Time To Wake Up

The second reading for this 14th Sunday after Pentecost is Romans 13:8-15. It contains the following appeal from the Apostle:

 

11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far […]

Pentecost 13a: Love beyond the Mask

The second reading for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost is Romans 12:9–21; and it starts off with this challenging and profoundly simple idea: “Let love be genuine.” And the word for “genuine” means “no play acting.”

 

Daniel Schorr, the consummate CBS and NPR journalist and commentator, said that, when he started work for CBS, he didn’t […]

Pentecost 12: Five Women Changed the World

The Old Testament reading for this coming 12th Sunday after Pentecost is Exodus 1:8—2:10. On this week in which we celebrated 100 years of women’s suffrage in the United States, and as we prepare ourselves in earnest to go to the polls for a globally important election, it is an apt time to consider five […]

Passionate Parenting and God

In Matthew 23 (as well as Luke 13) Jesus knows he is about to love us perfectly, even if he gets killed for it. His grief overwhelms him and he says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your […]