Jesus Christ calls us to be a joyful community that celebrates God's love, transforms lives, and is a force for justice in the world.

Sermons on Matthew

Risky Business

Of course it’s deeply a part of our human nature to be risk-averse. But security is not at the heart of the kingdom, Jesus says. To follow him sometimes entails taking a step outside of our comfort zones or risking life, resources, or reputation for what is right.

Thoughts and Prayers

Many of our political leaders these days find themselves as empty-handed as the foolish bridesmaids and as stubborn as Amos’ people. They wait passively for God to sort out problems to which their actions and inactions have contributed. When tragedy strikes, they’re quick to offer “thoughts and prayers,” but slow to do anything constructive.

Greatly Honored

“Blessed” is also colored with those wonderful Hebrew Bible concepts of salvation and shalom—peace, wholeness, well-being. So you won’t get a list from Jesus on “9 Steps to Your Best Life Now” with these pronouncments. You will, however, get a sense for what life is like in the Commonwealth of God, in the coming reality of life lived under the Rule of God.

Give it back

As much as we aspire to be God’s people of loving justice, we all have “Caesar in our pocket.” It’s a trap. The money in our 401ks; the carbon we burn; the racial, gender, sexual, abled privilege we rest upon; all of that has Caesar’s face stamped upon it. So what does one do? How do we express our allegiance to God? Give it back.

Another Way

There’s a lot of guidance for us in this Book about how to follow a different path, with the help and the grace of God’s Spirit. There are alternatives to the violent cycles of the world within it: forgiveness, compassion, telling the truth with integrity. They’re painfully slow and they take a lifetime to practice, but they’re the only way out.

490

Maybe what Jesus is trying to teach Peter by replying with such an outlandishly large number is that mercy takes repetition in order to gather strength. In other words, forgiveness takes practice. Maybe it’s something we never “get right,” so we have to keep at it.

Who are we? Where do we go?

On my walk home I asked myself, is this what Jesus meant by “Go therefore and make disciples?” Is this what commissioned ministry truly is, to be sent out into the world to serve Gods purposes by meeting people right where they are?mI started wondering how could I, a recovering drug addict who has done things that I have a hard time forgiving myself for, could be commissioned to share life with others in the name of our loving savior, Jesus Christ.

Virtue in the Vice – Lust

So, is Jesus talking about sexual desire in itself? Or about a desire that warps to see another human being as an object to be possessed rather than a partner to be in covenant with? The question becomes, does our desire reflect the love of God or the domination systems of this world? Does it draw us closer to God and one another, or does it drive us away from God and one another?

Questions from the Pews – Seeing Christ

I believe it means that we act out of the understanding that we are all interwoven. And because of that truth, we then have to push beyond our own egos and desire for self­preservation to identify with and care for the most vulnerable in our world ­ our very neighbors. Seeing Christ in the other means to be surprised by God in our encounters with others. And I think it’s just as easy and as hard as that sounds.