A Reformation or a Schism

Year A, Proper 25, Track 1 Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, Matthew 22:34-46 Reformation Sunday is celebrated by many churches every year. This year, the celebration is larger than usual because it is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 theses, or arguments, against the Church. This day is important because it is the day that most people recognize as the start of the Reformation. I can visualize what Luther did and I can almost hear Paul’s words coming out of Luther’s mouth. Thessalonians 2:4-5, “Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God

No one knows the Doctor’s name!

Proper 24, Track 1, Year A Exodus 33:12-23, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Matthew 22:15-22 No one knows the Doctor’s name. There are things we are not to know. The knowledge of these unknown things have too much power and we are likely to use this power for the wrong purposes. If you are a Dr. Who fan, you know this is precisely why no one knows the Doctor’s name. But this idea did not originate with Dr. Who. It originated with God. When Moses first encounters God through the burning bush, Moses asks God for his name. “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’”1 Even this phrase is marked with uncertainty. For in Hebrew the precise meaning is not known. It can mean “I am who I am”, “I am what I am”, or

Our Faith Requires

Sunday October 15 Year A, Proper 23, Track 1 Exodus 32:1-14 Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23 Philippians 4:1-9 Matthew 22:1-14 When Moses, the driving force, departs from the people for 40 days we see what happens. Pretty much the same thing that happens to us. We lose our good habits. When we stop going to the gym, jogging, or exercising, we lose our momentum to go back. We have to put in a great amount of effort to start up again. If we stop balancing our checkbook or keeping up on our finances; much in a similar way, we have to put a lot of effort in to reconcile our accounts and start the good habit again. Our spiritual life also requires certain habits in which we contribute to and participate in

Who are We to Sit Idly by

Year A, Proper 22, Track 1 Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20, Philippians 3:4b-14, Matthew 21:33-46 Last week the some Jewish leaders questioned Jesus’ authority. It is in this same setting where we find Jesus today, telling them another parable just in case they don’t understand why they rank behind the prostitutes and tax collectors upon entering the kingdom of God. Today’s parable is built on the foundation of an allegory from Isaiah1 in the Old Testament. In the original story, a landowner builds a vineyard with a watchtower, a fence, and a wine press. Just like today’s parable. We find that the landowner is upset that his land produces wild grapes, not good grapes. Even with proper care and exp

The truth hangs over them like a cloud

Proper 21, Year A, Track 1, Philippians 2:1-13, Matthew 21:23-32 The truth is hanging over these elders and chief priests like a cloud. At least according to Jesus, they saw it yet they did not change. We try to understand where these leaders are coming from but we are only given the opportunity to listen to them speaking to each other; no arguing with each other. As a collective, they speak with one voice, “We do not know,” yet as individuals they argue with each other as to the origins of John the Baptist’s authority. Even in this disagreement, we truly do not know what any of them think personally, we only hear how they believe others will construe their answer. For anyone who thinks poli

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Photo Credit - Amy Duval 2016