Showing posts from March, 2015

Not our way

Matthew 21:1-17
I'll be the first to admit it, Palm Sunday is kind of confusing. It is such spectacle, and we know what comes next so it feels strange to make a big thing of it. We’re mixing all these 1st century customs with 21st century interpretations and generally make kind of a mess of things.In fact, it feels like Jesus himself is messing with things.He is doing these big symbolic and prophetic things, things that seem fraught with meaning, layers of impenetrable meaning, and he doesn’t feel compelled to explain any of it.
The way Matthew tells it, immediately after the triumphal entry, Jesus heads into the temple and overturns the tables of the moneychangers and yells at them, then he turns around and heals people, and children and grown ups are cheering and calling out and it all sounds very chaotic and uncontrolled, and it angers chief priests and scribes, and then Jesus tells them off and leaves town. So in one sweeping move we see Jesus go from parade to protest to provocat…

The Move Back into Freedom

A friend and colleague, Rob Smith, pastor of Spirit of Life Presbyterian Church, invited me to blog on the topic of Sabbath as part of their Year of the Bible, Here is what I wrote.  (You can find the original post here).

What if I told you that most of us live like we believe we are slaves most of the time?  In slavery, you belong to a master who dictates your entire identity, worth and purpose, and even directs your very days and hours. Like the Israelite slaves of Pharaoh, we are told that we matter only if we produce, produce, produce.  In our modern day slavery, it’s a little more sophisticated – we also matter if we consume, consume, consume.  As long as we are part of the relentless system of production and consumption, we have value.  So we measure our worth  – and others do too – by how much we produce or consume in a day.
But how does life work for a people who are free?  
The Ten Commandments, or “Ten Words,” are given by God to a people coming out of generations of slavery in…

Ready or Not

Matthew 25:1-13
I grew up in a pretty messy home.  I am not sure how it compared to other homes, though I wondered about this a lot, and felt a sneaking suspicion we were outstandingly untidy, like, maybe worse than everyone I knew. When you came over to our house for dinner, what you didn’t know is that several grueling hours of family scrambling went into getting things ready for you. Cleaning (which often meant stuffing things into drawers and cupboards where they couldn’t be seen), was frenzied and fraught, so that by the time you were casually welcomed in, we were exhausted and a little raw from the arguing.  But you would never know it, because everything would look very nice, as long as you didn’t peek in my bedroom closet.  When we would visit other people’s houses, I would peek sometimes, in closets and cupboards, wondering if they had done the same thing we did before guests arrived, or if they lived in this state of order all the time.It was easy to tell the houses that did …