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Fifth Sunday in Lent

March 22, 2015

WAITING FOR JESUS

It really is a very strange story, isn’t it? Not for the reasons the Pharisees would claim – the fact that a man was brought back to life, but because of how Jesus first responded.

When Jesus heard that Lazarus, this man that he loved was ill, he did not rush off to him – he waited for two days.

When he arrived, Martha came to him and confronted him on his delay. Jesus rather matter-of-factly assured her that Lazarus would live. And then Mary comes out and again confronts him about his delay – and she started to cry.

Then Jesus also begins to cry.

We read that it wasn’t because Lazarus died that Jesus cried, but because Mary cried. Clearly, Jesus did not mean to bring such angst upon Mary, but she did not understand what he knew.

Every single one of us here has experienced the delay or seemingly unresponsiveness of God.  This is a story about how we deal with waiting for Jesus.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Fifth Sunday of Lent (The Scrutinies) (Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45)

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Fourth Sunday in Lent

March 15, 2015

PRAYER & JUDGEMENT

Somewhere along the way, religious folk got into the business of judgment.   I guess it has really been with us all along. But if there is one central message in today’s readings, it is that we are rather unqualified to pass judgment on anyone, even ourselves.

In our first reading, Samuel thought the one to be anointed his successor would be among those with him – he didn’t even consider David, the youngest of the brothers. But God made it clear to Samuel that we do not see as God sees.

It is so hard for us to be present to someone or something and not at the same time pass some sort of judgment. But this judgment is most often the ego keeping busy. We are so action-oriented. So determined to be productive.   To make conclusions.   Can we not simply . . . be?

If we are to see the world as God sees it, then somehow we have to learn to see without acting. We have to learn to be present without any judgment at all.  The name we give to those moments in their many forms is prayer.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Fourth Sunday of Lent (The Scrutinies) (1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41)

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Third Sunday in Lent

March 3, 2015

LIFE-GIVING AND CHAOTIC

Last week we heard about the Transfiguration – the glory of Christ revealed, which by consequences also reveals our own faults. If you recall, I compared to looking through a window on a bright sunny day. The dirt on the window is a distraction to the vision much like our sin is a distraction to our relationship with God.

Today’s readings pick up that theme, but if I were to use the same metaphor, caution us to focus – not on our imperfections – but on God.

This message is not conveyed by mountains as last week, but with water. In the desert, Moses calls forth water from the rock. At the well, Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman.  The water for which she asks is both life-giving and chaotic.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Third Sunday of Lent (The Scrutinies) (Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42)

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Second Sunday in Lent

March 1, 2015

THE MOUNTAINS

Biblically speaking, mountains have always been a place where we go to find God. It is not hard to understand why – for they offer a view of the world that is often unobstructed and pristine.

While I imagine most of us have visited mountain tops in our own lives, unless you have climbed up and down one, you cannot completely understand it as the apostles did. It takes a lot of energy and endurance to climb and the more you carry, the harder you have to work.

The same can be said of our lives. The journey to God is also difficult and the less baggage you carry with you, the easier your ascent will be. We must learn to live in the moment and be prepared, but not worry to much about the path ahead.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Second Sunday of Lent (Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18; Psalm 116; Romans 8:31-34; Mark 9:2-10)

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First Sunday of Lent

February 22, 2015

COMMUNION WITH THE COVENANT

I think it is significant that we begin Lent with a recollection of the covenant that God has established with us AND all of creation, just as we hear about Christ’s temptations in the desert.

For how many of our temptations concern our own belief that I do affects only me? How often do we see ourselves independent of the rest of the world? But today we are reminded that what we do and think and feel is connected. . .to just about everything.

Lent is a time when try to break free of our addictions and temptations. This season of spiritual discipline demands that we acknowledge our weaknesses, repent, and try to strengthen them.

I don’t know about you, but a weakness of mine is that I can too easily think that am more self-reliant and independent than I think I am. I forget about the implications of a covenant with God – and even more so – with the natural world.

CLICK HERE for the readings for First Sunday of Lent (Genesis 9:8-15; Psalm 25; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15)

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Ash Wednesday

February 18, 2015

FROM DEATH TO LIFE

Today we hear that we are to return to God – with fasting, weeping and mourning. Because of our sins, it is a day of self-imposed suffering as an offering to God – not that God needs it – but rather; because we do.

We need to remember that life is not possible without death, lest we take it for granted. We don’t like to think about it very much – but all of creation is quite used to the idea that there will be death and suffering – quite grotesque at times – as part of the privilege of life.

The only way to embrace life is to experience death. That is why we wear ashes today – not simply to remind ourselves that we are mortal, but that by embracing our mortality, we open our mind to know our immortality.

The Lenten season, this parish is going to experience the death and resurrection of Christ in the context of creation itself. We are not just going to understand the cross as God’s embrace of suffering humanity, but of the whole of creation, which suffers in its own right – often as a result of our own mismanagement of the gifts we have been offered.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Ash Wednesday (Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18)

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 14, 2015

PERSON AND PERFORMANCE

Our theme from last week continues this week, and so it seems necessary to review what we already know. If you recall, we left Jesus off in a deserted place just before the Apostles found him. “Everyone was searching for him” So he got up and went with them to proclaim his message to the neighboring towns and synagogues.

Today’s readings offer a contrast between the Law of Moses and its fulfillment in Christ. According to the Law of Moses, what happened to a person with leprosy? But how did Jesus respond?

It happens a lot in the beginning of his ministry. . . Jesus healing people but not want them to say anything. Doesn’t it seems counter-intuitive? Doesn’t Jesus want people to know he who he is? Isn’t this the whole idea?

But there is a difference between loving the person and loving the performance.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46; Psalm 32; 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1; Mark 1:40-45.

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