A Circle of Protection

Luke 4:1-13 I must make a confession today – I like Hallmark movies.  You know the plot – a young man and woman meet, there’s some friction, then they discover they have feelings for each other, a crisis pulls them apart, and then they realize they can’t live without each other, and finally they kiss, […]

Transfigured and Transformed

Luke 9:38-43a In the spiritual world, mountains are identified as holy places. Reaching toward heavens, mountains are places where seekers hear God’s word and receive God’s guidance.  On the mountaintop, Moses met with God and received the Ten Commandments and later viewed the Promised Land of Canaan.  On the mountaintop, Jesus shined like the sun. […]

The Gospel According to Harry Potter

Mark 2:1-5 John 6:1-11         Once upon a time, three children met at school. They were all very different – one was an orphan, unwanted and unloved by his legal guardians, with a history mysterious powers that he had yet to discover; another was a mischief maker, one of several children in the family of a government […]

Downward Mobility

Luke 6:17-26 What does it mean to be blessed?  In Hebrew, the language of Jesus’ faith tradition, one of the words for blessing is “Barackah,” meaning to receive God’s favor, inheritance, joy, and fulfillment.  In the biblical world, blessing is a relational term, grounded in the care a parent has for a child, an elder […]

Follow Your Star, Find Your Dream

A new season is upon us.  It’s not just the merriment and possibility of New Year’s. It’s the season of Epiphany, the season of God’s manifestation and our willingness to experience God in the unexpected places of our lives.  It’s the season of taking new pathways, going home by a different route, with new hopes, dreams, […]

Growing in Wisdom and Stature

Luke 2;41-52 One of my mentors Howard Thurman quotes the following mother’s prayer in one of his books: Each night my bonny, sturdy lad                                                                     Persists in adding to his, Now I lay me                                                               Down to sleep, the earnest wistful plea:                                                 “God, make me big.”                                                                                      And I, his mother, with greater need,                                                              Do echo in […]

The Good News of Repentance

Luke 3:1-6 Only ten days till Christmas, and we’re stuck with John the Baptist.  As we go about our merry-making, John is a real killjoy.  We don’t need a prophet or curmudgeon, we need jolly old Saint Nick, with sacks of presents, candy, and libations.  But, there are times when you need to hear the […]

Spiritual Practices for Advent and Christmas

Philippians  1:3-11; 4:4-9 This morning, amid the joyful heavenly bells, I want to share a few words about spiritual practices. Advent is an appropriate time to reflect on our spiritual lives.  Before the coming of Christmas as a consumer holiday, Advent was a time of prayer, fasting, and preparation for the celebration of the birth […]

A Different Kind of King: An Intergenerational Sermon

Philippians 2:5-11 Do you ever dream at night?  What do you dream about? Recently I had a dream.   In my dream, I had a study in the basement of a seminary – a place where ministers go to school.  It was a large study, as big as one of the classrooms at West Villages and […]