Matthew 5:38-48: How To Pray for an Enemy

Today’s Gospel lesson is full of some of the hardest teachings in the Bible: Turn the other cheek Give more than what is sued for Go the second mile Give to everyone who begs from you Do not refuse one who wants to borrow from you Love your enemies Pray for those who persecute you … [Read more…]

Matthew 5:17-37: Traditions, Traps, Transformations: Spirit of the Law

In his teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, the Franciscan priest and contemplative Richard Rohr gives a beautiful and compelling framework for understanding Jesus’ words in today’s gospel lesson: traditions, traps, and transformations. Simply stated, Jesus offers his disciples a warning and an encouragement on three laws: do not murder, do not commit adultery, … [Read more…]

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21: The Hidden Meaning of Lent

An old saying goes, “If you give someone a fish they eat for a day. If you teach someone to fish they eat for a lifetime.” There is a lot of wisdom in this saying. It is wisdom that points to the importance of self-development, of addressing the root causes of poverty, and of mending … [Read more…]

Matthew 17:1-9 Rise, and do not be afraid

Moses met the living God in the burning bush and in the devouring fire on top of Mount Sinai, and both times, it changed him. The first time Moses met God, he resisted the changes he was called to undergo. Remember? God asked him to liberate the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, and … [Read more…]

Matthew 5:13-16: Being Salt and Light

I want to start by giving you some literary and geographical context for the Sermon on the Mount, which is contained in chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Matthew’s Gospel. Literary context: In the chapters leading up to the Sermon on the Mount: Jesus is born Herod tries to kill Jesus but his parents escape … [Read more…]

Matthew 5:1-12: Blessed Are You

Take a moment to think about your blessings, to count your blessings, as the saying goes. You might even jot them down in the margins of your bulletin. In the next minute, list silently in your head or in writing in your bulletin all of the blessings you can think of. {Give folks a minute} … [Read more…]

Matthew 3:1-17: The Come-to-Jesus Meeting

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee the wrath that is to come?” John showed up in the wilderness preaching hellfire and brimstone. He has been out by the Jordan teaching people how to confess their sins—how to turn away from their sinful ways. And only then, after they show an acceptable level … [Read more…]

John 1:1-18: Word of the Year

Each year the Oxford English Dictionary issues its “word of the year,” the word or phrase that best encapsulates the mood or concerns of the world. They base their choice on word usage in newspaper articles, radio programs, public discourse, books . . . any place where folks are talking and writing about the things … [Read more…]

Luke 2:1-20: Great Joy for All People

What brings you joy at Christmas? Being with family? Enjoying the delight of children as they anticipate visits with Santa and their exuberance on Christmas morning? Maybe it’s the special treats that we reserve solely for Christmas. In our family those include Chris’s awesome double-barreled eggnog, coconut cake, chocolate covered cherries, and those heavenly, soft … [Read more…]