Mark 2:18-22 “Kingdom, Church, and Sacred Cows”

The context Mark provides for Jesus’ teaching is a dispute over fasting. His critics ask why his disciples do not fast as John’s disciples do. Jesus responds that with him there is a new age–the age of the bridegroom–the Kingdom time of a perpetual wedding when the appropriate response is… Continue reading

“Herod on Our Family Tree?” Matthew 2:1-23

In most churches, last Sunday was Epiphany Sunday.  Matthew 2:1-12, the story of the magi, is the Gospel reading in the Lectionary for that Sunday and is understood as Matthew’s version of the birth of Jesus. In our minds as well as in Christmas pageants and Living Creche productions, we… Continue reading

Luke 12:13 21 “Mismanaging a Miracle”

Jesus begins this parable with a statement of blessing– “A certain rich man’s lands brought forth bountiful crops.” The word used for “land” is not the usual term agros. No, the word used is chora  a term which means extensive holdings, as much as a whole district or region. So,… Continue reading

A Creed to Live By

I come from a tradition which has been suspicious of creeds. Baptists associate creeds with the Roman Catholic Church (and therefore reject the historic creeds), and one of the early slogans of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was “no creed but Christ.” I find it ironic that conservative Christians… Continue reading

What World and What Kingdom?

Scripture can be dangerously misleading if we are ignorant of its meaning and context. Few passages have suffered from such ignorance more than John 18:36. Part of this misunderstanding is based on an unhelpful translation in the Kings James Version which reads, “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this… Continue reading

Matthew 6:33; Mark 10:28-31 “Dedicated to What and to Whom?”

[The following sermon was preached at the dedication of our older grandson, Grant.] In England and throughout all of Europe the standard line regarding church attendance is this: most people are in church three times during their lives—the day of their baptism (and remember that almost all of Europe practices… Continue reading

Matthew 18:1-3 “When Kid Stuff Becomes Kingdom Stuff”

“Amen, I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.” A well-known saying from Jesus, but what is it about children we are called to embrace for the sake of our salvation? Well, there is the trust children have in their… Continue reading