What does the Lord want from us?

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Micah 6:1-8, Matthew 5:1-12 “Hear what the Lord says: Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel.” With these first few verses we, the people, put God on trial. We will be the judge and the mountains and the foundations of the earth will be the witnesses. Then God asks us, “O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I se

People waking in darkness have seen a great light

Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Isaiah 9:1-4, 1Matthew 4:12-23 Isaiah says, “The people waking in darkness have seen a great light.” It is because of this light that they, the people, rejoice. The darkness Isaiah refers to is most likely the fall of the Northern Kingdom at the hands of the Assyrian empire. Later, many people reading this passage would probably reflect on their captivity or their ancestor’s captivity by the Babylonians. As we have seen throughout history, Empires come and go. In some cases, the feeling of being in the light or darkness really depends on which side of history you are on. If you are on the winning side, the times you live in seem to be times of light. I

Full of controversy and conflict

Second Sunday after Epiphany, Year A Isaiah 49:1-7 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 John 1:29-42 Psalm 40:1-12 Paul is obviously aware of these problems when he writes this letter because his letter is addressing these issues. But before Paul gets into all dirt that is going on in the church, he opens with a statement of faith and thanksgiving. In his opening remarks, Paul offers thanks for each one of the people in Corinth, because God has graced them with the knowledge of Christ. This grace has changed their lives and their faith. The knowledge of Christ has strengthened them as individuals and as a group. What Paul is trying to do, is to get the group to become a Christ centered community and resist c

Pick up the Baton

First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord Year A Matthew 3:13-17 Today we have reason to celebrate; we have a baptism. Not the baptism of a baby; it is the baptism of Christ. The baptism we celebrate is not new, but any baptism is a reason to celebrate. John the Baptist, a radical person of his time, teaches us about a baptism of repentance. He didn’t invent this idea, but he seems to have started a movement which was growing; growing so much that Herod was afraid of his popularity. Then Jesus comes along and wishes to be baptized. John believes himself to be unworthy to baptize Jesus. But Jesus will not hear of it. Jesus wants John to baptize him. Baptizing is John’s ministry

Names have meaning

The Feast of the Holy Name, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 2:15-21 Names have meaning. Many of us know this to be true to some extent. When we think of our name, I’d imagine many of us know why we received our name. It could be that we are named after a relative or a person our parents respected. For example, our son is named after both of his grandfathers; William and Laurence. Sometimes we are named after people that our parents really didn’t know but they liked the sound of the name or the idea behind it. My mother named me from the song “Good King Wenceslas,” who looked out on the Feast of Stephen. And am I thankful that the name Stephen caught her attention more than Wenceslas. As parents, we

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Photo Credit - Amy Duval 2016