Genesis 12:1-9 “The First Things” (God’s Answer to Babel) Part 16

There are four primary stories in Genesis 1-11: The Story of Adam and Eve, the Story of Cain and Abel, the Story of the Flood, and the Story of the Tower of Babel. In each of these stories we see the same pattern. There is first the sin of humans;… Continue reading

Matthew 20:1-15 “The Scandal of Grace”

One of Jesus’ favorite ways of teaching was through parables. Parables were used by other teachers in Judaism. However, Jesus’ parables seem unique. His parables were almost always about situations involving common people: a shepherd looking for a lost sheep; a woman kneading yeast into flour; a peasant awakened by… Continue reading

Genesis 6:5-9:17 “The First Things” (The Great Flood) Part 14

In a previous sermon [Genesis 1:1-12:3 “The First Things” (Ancient Near Eastern Traditions and Historical Context) Part 2], we looked at the similarities between the flood story in Genesis and the account of a great flood in the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic—a story which dates many years before Israel ever came… Continue reading

Economics as If People Matter

The modern economy is propelled by a frenzy of greed and indulges in an orgy of envy, and these are not accidental features but the very causes of its expansionist success. . . If human vices such as greed and envy are systematically cultivated, the inevitable result is nothing less… Continue reading

Babette’s Feast: Let’s Go to the Movies

“Babette’s Feast” is a charming movie based on Isak Denisson’s (penname for Karen Blix) story with the name title. The film is about a French woman named Babette who became the cook for two elderly sisters on the coast of Denmark. Babette was a refugee from France during a political… Continue reading

Punished for or by Our Sins?

Franciscan priest Richard Rohr in his provocative book entitled The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for and Believe says that “humans are punished by their sins more than for their sins.” This astute observation has several important implications. Tragically, an astonishing number of… Continue reading

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “First, a Word of Grace”

(The following sermon was preached at a Child Dedication service. I have included the pastoral prayer, the communion meditation, and the commission.) Our passage makes clear a fundamental truth about the home and the responsibility of parents regarding the religious training of their children. And that truth, expressed in the… Continue reading

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 “The Christian Twist”

In Edinburgh, Scotland in the home of the Protestant leader John Knox, is a display of religious memorabilia. Among the items are tokens in the form of coins given to members of the church after they had been examined by the Elders to determine if they were pure enough to… Continue reading