A Challenging Question

Mark 12:28-34 Occasionally, a friend of mine will post the following on the relationship information section of Facebook, “It’s complicated.” Perhaps, they are embarking on a new romance, in search of a companion, or have second thoughts about a challenging relationship – “It’s complicated.” Last month, our women’s spirituality book group studied Charles Sheldon’s “In […]

Resources Enough for Everyone

I Kings 7:8-16 Mark 12:38-44 My parents were both Depression children. Times were difficult in small town America and people lived from paycheck to paycheck, if they got paid at all. But, as I queried my parents about their youth, they revealed something startling – almost countercultural- when a hobo, out of work, or a family […]

An Adventure that Includes Us All

Ruth 1:1-18 “There was a famine in the land, and a certain family from Bethlehem crossed the border to live in Moab.”  They were strangers in a strange land, Naomi and Elimelech and their two sons, migrating to a foreign country, most likely with scores of other Judeans.  No doubt the Moabites were concerned with […]

Limitations and Possibilities

Job 38:1-7 John 10:35-45 There is a memorable line from one of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry movies – after a villain has a fiery end, Harry pauses, squints his eyes in the Eastwood way, and says, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” These lines could easily describe the two encounters in today’s readings.  Job […]

Shift Happens: Finding God in Suffering

Job 1:1, 2:1-10, Job 23:1-9, 16-17 John 9:1-12 In my home state California, after an earthquake, the old-timers often say “shift happens” to comfort – or tease – frightened newcomers to the state. Everything seems stable until the tectonic plates shift, and your life is turned upside down.  “Shift happens” is an apt description happens […]

Who is Jesus?

Mark 8:27-38 When I was nine years old, a traveling evangelist – the cowboy evangelist Leonard Eilers – came to town with his “Round Up for God” crusade.  I was “rounded up” and came forward to the altar, where one of the deacons, a farmer who had come straight from the fields, asked, “Do you […]

Does God Love Sharks?

Job 38:4-7; 41:1-11 Many of us become interested in certain topics because of our children or grandchildren.  A few years back my grandchildren became fascinated by sharks – hammerheads, great whites, makos, and the legendary megalodon, the largest creature ever to live on our planet.  We read books, saw movies, followed Shark Week on the […]

A World of Praise

Psalm 148 I was raised among the Baptists and it was commonplace to hear people shout, “Praise the Lord” in our worship services.  When the pastor hit the right note in the sermon, folks would exclaim “Amen” or when the choir sang an especially lively anthem, the response would be “Hallelujah.”  When people gave witness […]

Joy to the World

Matthew 5:14-16 Philippians 4:4-9, 12-13, 19-20 Many of us have struggled with feelings of anxiety over the past two years: we have seen the rise and normalization of racism, incivility, xenophobia, and environmental neglect. We see our social fabric fraying and divisiveness threatens the nation. Each day brings drama and uncertainty, and we ask how […]

The Power to Heal

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen. In some ways, it really is all about power, whether we’re talking about politics, relationships, or religious life. Leaders assert “might is right,” without regard to morality or the long-term consequences of their actions.  A legendary football coach proclaims, “winning […]