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Ressurection

It's Easter Sunday. The day when we tell the rest of the Good Friday story: the resurrection.

To be honest, the Easter story often sounds a little anti-climactic to me.

I mean the story to this point is pretty gripping: the life of healing and teaching; the triumphant march into Jerusalem; the long week where everything goes so very wrong; betrayal; denial. It all ends where it always ends: the powerless broken by the powerful in a manner meant to be an example to all those who stand when they should kneel.

The story then takes a bizarre, and, on the face of it unbelievable turn. Jesus is just suddenly alive again. No one even gets to see the special effects. They just find the tomb empty.

It's as if Superman gets shot full of kryptonite and killed by some alien foe, and then, in the last page of the comic, he's alive again. (Wait. That kind of happened, didn't it?)

The thing is, I think, all the people who originally told the gospel story, the writers who eventually w…

I Hate Lent (but I like Good Friday)

I really hate the season of Lent. I've hated it for a long time. But I've written about that before.

I did a Google search a while back on the phrase "i hate lent" and mainly got posts about how people say they hate Lent, but just don't understand it, or those really misleading articles where someone says the opposite of what they mean. ("I hate Lent... blah blah blah... so that's why I love Lent.") Bleh!

The thing is, I really do hate the season of Lent.

Really.

If it weren't for the fact that Northminster traditionally celebrates communion each Sunday during Lent, I'd probably just stay home for those Sundays. (Actually, last year, when Northminster  to celebrate communion every other Sunday during Lent, I worshiped the other Sundays at a church that did.)

But I really like Good Friday. I know, there's all the death and darkness, and even a good helping of the hypocrisy that's there for the rest of Lent. But Good Friday is differen…

Maundy Thursday

In the story of the first Passover, the Israelites ate with the staffs in their hands and their bags packed. They were still in Egypt, still slaves. They celebrated not only what God had done, but what God would do.

Many of us Christians celebrated communion tonight, celebrating not only what God in Christ has done, but what God will do. The hungry will be fed. The poor will be redeemed. The outsider, the reject, the abused, and the tortured, will find themselves welcomed into God's kingdom, even before the powerful, the wealthy, and the judges.

Praise God!

Enchanted, I'm Sure - A Sermon

This is the sermon I preached on February 20:
Enchanted, I’m Sure Text: Matthew 5:38-42 A while back, I read a book called Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Emily suggested it. They made a movie of it later, but, as usual, I think the book is better.

It’s about a girl named Ella who is under a spell which forces her to be obedient: She must obey any direct order given to her. If you tell her to “wait right there,” she is glued to the spot and cannot move, even to save her life. If you tell her to “stop talking,” she is unable to say anything.

As you can probably guess, Ella is not happy about this enchantment. Almost everyone who knows about it uses it to bully and take advantage of Ella.

“Do the dishes.”

“Clean the floors.”

“Give me your late mother’s pendant.”

And much worse.

It’s not much fun to feel used and not valued. And sometimes obedience can feel like being used. Anyone who’s had a boss they didn’t like, or, even sometimes a boss they did like, knows that obedience is not alw…

The Possible - A Sermon

This is a sermon I preached on January 2, 2011 at our church. It was the first week after we began our journey toward our next pastor. (Keith's last day was December 31, 2010.)

The Bible text was Matthew 2:1-12.

The Possible
Many of us, maybe even all of us, live in a tyranny of the impossible. We talk endlessly about what we can’t do, what we’re just no good at, what doesn’t ever happen in the “real world.” We may not laugh at people’s dreams, but we’re always quick with the cold water of what we think of as reality.

We imagine ourselves “realists.” The world isn’t all “Kum Ba Yah,” we say. Imagination, creativity, and dreaming may be great and all, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Get your head out of the clouds.

The thing is, the “realists,” even the “realists” in ourselves, are wrong. Some things are impossible, but there are fewer of them than any of us realize. This is not a world where the possible fills in the cracks of the impossible. This is a world where the impossible form…