Luke 14: 1, 7-14: Is It Gospel or Is It Manners?

Do you remember that old commercial for Memorex cassette tapes where Ella Fitzgerald shattered a glass with her voice, and the voice over asked “Is it live or is it Memorex?” The selling point was that Memorex cassette tapes could reproduce sound so clearly and truly that it was hard to tell the difference between … [Read more…]

Luke 12:49-56: Faith on Fire

Tenth Sunday After Pentecost, August 18, 2019 I was in kind of a quandary choosing hymns for this Sunday. There aren’t many hymns to the scorched-earth God, or many that plead with God to “lay that hammer down, boy!” Our hymnal—and, I think, our entire tradition of hymns—contains precious few hymns about the transforming power … [Read more…]

Hosea 11:1-11: Runaway Bunnies

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost: August 4, 2019 When our kids were toddlers one of our favorite books to read to them was The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown. To this day it is still one of our favorite baby gifts when our nieces and nephews have children. Maybe y’all remember it: a little bunny … [Read more…]

Colossians 2:6-19: Earthy Faith

Seventh Sunday After Pentecost: July 28, 2019 Over twenty years ago, when I was serving an internship at a small Presbyterian church in Benson, NC, the church’s Sunday school class was working its way through a video series called Genesis: A Living Conversation. It was an exploration of 10 stories from Genesis hosted by Bill … [Read more…]

2 Kings 5:1-14: Keep It Simple

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost, July 7, 2019 What is the miracle of the story of Naaman? Is it the healing of his leprosy? Is it the aversion of war with Syria? Is it the conversion of a man from the worship of Syrian gods to the worship of the one true God of Israel? All … [Read more…]

Luke 9:57-62: No Turning Back

Third Sunday After Pentecost, June 30, 2019 I am a terrible student of history! It has always been my worst subject. Although I love stories and have spent all of my academic life studying old things, like Latin, Old English, Greek, Hebrew, the Bible, I just cannot get the hang of history. It seems so … [Read more…]

Acts 2:1-12: Speaking the World’s Language

Day of Pentecost, June 9, 2019 The first time I traveled to a place where I didn’t speak the language and it really mattered was January, 2008. Now, I had been to Denmark many years earlier. But there it didn’t really matter: everyone in Denmark speaks English—and several other languages—so I was never in a … [Read more…]