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Showing posts from October, 2010

Nevertheless and Always (or, What's the Bible All About?)

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2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Psalm 119:97-104
A young man receives a letter, perhaps the final letter, from someone he loves who is soon likely to die, a mentor who has nurtured and supported him through the years.  He is struggling in a new ministry in a difficult time, and the letter is a gift.  It encourages him to continue in the face of hardship, to pursue, to trust God in the middle of it, to remember and live like those he loves who have gone before and shown him what faith means, (along with lots of more directed instructions on how to live together as the church).
A young man gets a letter.  And in the letter, this older teacher reminds him that one thing that helps him to live into the truth that in Christ we are saved and freed and sent to the world – is scripture.  Scripture that the mentor says is able to strengthen his faith in Christ, scripture that is inspired by God – God breathed.  And the letter is delivered into his young friend’s hands, filled with love and prayers and hope fo…

God likes sinners best

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 Luke 18:9-14
When Owen was three, his great grandmother gave him a set of small, colorful paperback books.  They are ostensibly about little animals on a farm – a little pig book, a baby horse book, a young cow book.  But the pig book is about a piglet that wants the mud all to himself, and the cow book is about a calf that thinks the other cows’ grass is better than his grass, and the foul wants to be the fastest horse of all.  And all the books end with really obvious morals almost spelled out to absurdity: “the horse learned his lesson and never compared himself to others again”, and “the calf was grateful for what she had from then on,” and “the pig invited all his friends into the mud puddle and never resented having to share ever again.” 
And on the surface, our parable today seems almost like one of these little books – with a really straightforward and obvious moral.  Don’t be arrogant and think you are better than others.  Don’t be like that bad old Pharisee, instead be like …

Nothing to Fear: A Homily & Eulogy for JoAnne Hansen

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2 Timothy 4:6-8
Almost three weeks ago, some of us gathered in this very room and held a worship service that we called “Keeping the Faith,” where we celebrated Jo’s life and shared with her what she means to us. This scripture we just read was the scripture we used that day.And on that day we looked squarely at what was coming, and despite the grief, and fear and sadness and incredulity at the thought of losing JoAnne, we faced it together so that we could tell her what she meant to us, so we could thank God for her life and let her know that we loved her.It was a lovely day. Jo held onto those notes people wrote to her; and she held on to this scripture and asked that it be read when we gather for her funeral.And so we read it today.
It is said that those who don’t fear death are not afraid to live. When a person is baptized – parents hand over their child to a minister, watching as the minister pours water over them and pronounces upon their new little person the death and resurrection…