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 Church

Wake Up

It is indeed time for the American church, namely the white members within it, to wake up to the reality of our country as it is today, as it has been, the reality of all those who suffer under the weight of oppression and violence. We who wash our hands of responsibility for what is happening in our country are asleep to the truth.

“…to all generations”

The one thing that has not changed, the one thing that will not change, is the faithfulness of God. But here’s the thing: God’s faithfulness is most visible in the rear-view mirror. That’s true for a church. That’s true for our personal lives. Providence reveals itself most clearly in retrospect.

Unlikely Relationships

I think God, who is one being in three divided parts, is present amid our diversity. God fashions multiplicity, disrupts homogeneity, places different languages among us. And then, after dividing us up, God calls us brothers and sisters, children of God, heirs of God’s future together.

Growing Pains

The point is that what we see here in this frantic and tense episode from Jesus’ life is true for all our lives. We belong to God, each of us individually and all of us together. That’s the core truth of Baptism: as children of God of whatever age, God is at work in all of our lives, even we can’t see or feel or know it. God is with us in the growing pains of faith, working out God’s good purposes.

Tell the Story

One way to do evangelism is to tell the wider story of Scripture in a way that is personally meaningful to us. That’s the key: it has to be authentic to us and true to our lives if it is to be compelling to other people. It’s not trying to warp other people into a version of ourselves. It’s not converting people to our way of thinking. It’s invitational. Testifying to God’s presence in our life helps other people name it in theirs.

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?

Because You’re Loved

But that’s not the molten core of your ministry. That’s not why you are called, at the foundational level of that vocation. You’re called because you’re loved. All that other stuff might be true, but it’s secondary to the fact that God is abundantly pleased with you. You might not hear a voice or see the clouds part and a dove might not descend, but it’s still true. God says, “You are my Child, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”

Holy

So this is my prayer today: that we, too, would hear God’s voice, even if it’s in a whisper. That we would remember that no, we are not perfect, but we are God’s people. We’re not sent out empty handed. We’re not alone in what we’re called to do. The God of Hosts goes with us!

God’s Work, Our Hands

You can look at this as an organization with programs, events, and projects that need funding, which is true. We can look at this as a temple, of sorts, as King David did, a sacred space for locating the presence of the Holy, that needs funding, which is also true. But a deeper truth is: it’s a church. It belongs to God, who will always, is always, doing so much more with it than we can ever imagine. We simply have to offer our best in faith.