Wow! What a day. A baptism, a new family, new officers to be ordained and installed. It is a full liturgy day. It seems the only thing missing is communion. So let’s talk about that.
An old Zen parable:
Camp Cuyamaca is owned by San Diego Schools. Every spring, sixth graders would descend on the camp for a full week. Sixth grade camp was a rite of passage for a generation of school children. Since 1946 over a million students have taken part in that adventure.
Legend has it that when he emerged from Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a woman, “What kind of government are you giving us?” “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Trinity Sunday, 2018
Today is Pentecost. 50 days after Easter. The day of the Holy Spirit. The day that makes Presbyterians a little nervous.
Seventh Sunday of Easter
This week's meditation is The Letter of James from The Message.
Easter V, 2018
Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2018
The second of our seven discipleship covenants is “Worship Weekly.” As you might imagine, I have been preaching on and encouraging folks coming to worship for over 30 years.
Third Sunday of Easter 2018
A recent cartoon spoke to the truth of 21st century life: A business man, suit on, briefcase in hand, stands outside a hut with the word “Guru” above the door. He looks at the bearded wise man and says, “What’s the meaning of life? But make it quick, I’ve got an important meeting in half an hour.”
For almost a year now we have been exploring significant words that speak to our faith. Our Easter word is serendipity. “The occurrence and development of events in a happy or beneficial way; The phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.”
Palm Sunday 2018
“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him…”
John tells us the most stripped down version of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Here there is none of the elaborate preparation found in the other gospels. There is really only one detail not found in the other three, John is the only gospel to name the tree branches used to celebrate Jesus.
As we examine words of scripture that bear on our faith, it is fitting on Palm Sunday that our word is Palms.
Lent V, 2018
They must have heard stories about Jesus. Word had gotten around about this Jesus who brought a man back from the dead. Maybe one of the Greeks was a friend of a friend who knew the man born blind who could now see. Maybe they had even been in the crowd that waved palm branches that morning, calling out “Hosanna!” at the top of their lungs. Or maybe they simply wondered what all the hype was about, and they wanted to see for themselves if there was anything to the wild stories about this man called Jesus.
Lent III, 2018
The wireless communication read “To Titanic: Ice report in Lat 42.n to 41.25n Long 49w to Long 50.30w saw much heavy pack ice and great number of large icebergs also field ice. Weather good and clear.
9:40 pm, April 14.”
Lent II, 2018
I once killed a black fellow…
Actually, my Brutus stabbed Rodney’s Caesar in our fifth grade production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Rodney was one of two African-Americans in the class. They took an hour-long bus ride from East San Diego to our elementary school. All told, probably about a fifth of the school made that long morning bus ride while I walked four blocks to school. It seemed normal.
Lent I, 2018
As we begin our Lenten journey this first Sunday, it is appropriate that our word for the day is Wilderness. In the starkest gospel version, Mark tells us the Holy Spirit “drove” Jesus into the wilderness. He was there forty days, tempted by Satan and “staffed” by angels. Mark does not tells us what temptations Satan used or how the angels “waited” on Jesus.
Transfiguration Sunday 2018
Well, with the Super Bowl tonight and the Winter Olympics starting on Friday, it seems appropriate that our word for the week is Champion. Tonight, either the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles will emerge as football champions. Next week hundreds of elite athletes will begin competing to become champions in their chosen sport.
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
This week our journey of significant words of scripture brings us to a potent word in the realm of faith. One that can get shunted aside as anathema to faith. The word is Doubt.
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
Third Sunday after Epiphany, 2018
Our word journey through scripture continues today. In these brief few lines, the word follow jumps out at us.
The dictionary defines follow as “To go or come after a thing or person; to move or travel behind.” What does this mean for a Christian?
Baptism of the Lord 2018
In our continuing year-long quest to explore significant words of scripture and faith, today we encounter the central word of our text, “Baptized.”
Christmas II, 2017
By Christmas 1982, it seemed everyone in Pt. Loma knew the Simpson family. Mr. Simpson was the gruff Health & Driver’s Ed teacher at the high school. If you wanted a driver’s license, you had to take his class. He scared everyone showing a movie called “Signal 30” which was the Ohio State Trooper’s radio call for a crash with fatalities.
Christmas Eve 2017
Again, welcome and welcome friends. For the past several months we have used words of scripture as the focus of the sermons. After listening to these traditional texts outlining the coming of Emmanuel, God-with-us, our word is Incarnation. From the dictionary the definition is a “living being embodying a deity or spirit.” For Christians incarnation is no less than God dwelling in Jesus. God-with-us!
Advent IV, 2017
Advent III, 2017
This week our word journey encounters the word, Nativity, naturally! The children’s pageant is in an hour or so away, the auction all around us, what better word than this could we explore.
Advent II, 2017
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” So proclaimed Isaiah. John the Baptist was Isaiah’s predicted messenger of the Messiah calling us to prepare for the Lord.
As we continue the journey of significant words in scripture, that’s our word this morning, prepare. The dictionary definition is straightforward, “Make (something) ready for use or consideration…”
Advent I, 2017
As we continue our year-long look at scripture words that are significant for our faith, on this first Sunday of Advent, it seems appropriate that our word is, well, Advent.
Reign of Christ 2017
This year I have been preaching on significant words in scripture for our faith. Today, the last Sunday of the liturgical calendar year has long been known as “Christ the King” or “Reign of Christ” Sunday. These are fitting titles for the Sunday before a new liturgical year starts with the beginning of Advent. However, it can be awkward for a sermon series based on single words. “King” is not the best fit when trying to grasp gender neutrality and, well “Reign of Christ” is just plain awkward as a word
I am preaching this year on significant words in the bible. This week our word is forgive.
In the dictionary definitions you can see why the word can be tough to put into practice:
“To cease to feel resentment against an offender; to give up resentment; to grant relief from payment.”
“To cease to feel…” emotions can’t be turned on and off at will, so it takes something more to end the resentment we feel when we have been hurt by another.
Commitment Sunday 2017
As we continue our year-long journey through important words in scripture, our word this Commitment Sunday is “Gratitude.” Let me offer some background on our text.
Reformation Sunday 2017
Elim is an oasis in the wilderness. There are springs of water and palm trees in abundance. It is a welcome place to rest from the harsh realities of desert wandering. The Israelites enjoyed themselves there. But the time comes to move on, Elim is not the promised land and there is more journey to make. And like cranky children in the middle of the thirteen-hour car ride to Disneyworld, they are reluctant to get a move on.