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Showing posts from February, 2015

The Invitation of Forgiven-ness

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Matthew 18:15-35
When I was a kid, I was dragged, willingly, I should add, to camps and church events, where my dad would speak to the grown ups and my mom would lead “creative dramatics” with the kids, which was, essentially, acting out bible stories from a set of rhyming storybooks.  Tonight’s parable is one that I acted out so many times as a kid, that I can still remember the lines that got me kicked out of the room when I blurted them out at the top of my lungs as my mom was calmly reading the story to everyone else… “TEN THOUSAND!” the treasurer’s answer was loud! “Ten thousand!? Exclaimed everyone in the crowd…”
This story is known as “The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant,” a title that makes it more palatable, because we can label and judge the guy who got it wrong in the story, and turn it into a morality tale about how we should act.Then we either feel mildly convicted about our own ingratitude or smug that we’re not like him.These were the two emotions it always elicited in…

Magnetized and Listening

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Matthew 16:24-17:8
I recently led a class on the Holy Spirit.And I began with the assumption that every single one of us has had at least one inexplicable experience, at least one moment in life where we were pulled outside of ourselves, where we experienced something beyond, something transformative and extraordinary, something we would call God, the Holy Spirit.
I began with the recognition that every single person in the room had, in some way, at some time, tasted transcendence.  And then I invited people to share a story. When was a time you felt God? A time you knew God was with you? An experience that touched you that you can’t explain? A moment that shifted things for you? And then the stories began to come out. Mysterious, moving, some both ordinary and miraculous at the same time, some downright astounding. Experiences that people couldn’t quite explain were shared, and the most common and appropriate response was simply, “Wow”. 
And we long for these – as human beings we crave …

Forgetting and Remembering Again

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Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34
What is it about worrying that draws us in so much?   What do we get out of worrying? A sense of control, maybe?  Do we secretly believe that if we worry about something we can’t control, then that is almost like doing something about it? Do we suppose that if we keep the threat of bad things in our mind, then we are guarded somehow from them coming to pass, or maybe better prepared if they do? Nonsense. We know it is. And still, we worry.
Of course we understand that by worrying we cannot add one hour to our lifespan, not a single moment. In fact, if studies are to be believed, we actually can take time off our lives by worrying. Time with elevated heart rate and increased blood pressure and heightened flight or fight response and it all takes a toll on your longevity.  (So, there’s something else to be worried about).
But this is an anxious time! It is.  A very anxious time to be alive.   Bombarded by information, able to know every bad thing that is happening everyw…