They shall all know me

“Now among those who went up to worship and the festival were some Greeks.” They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

Some outsiders, some non-Jews, come wanting to see and speak with Jesus and they are treated with suspicion, or at the very least uncertainty by Philip. Philip, the insider, from Bethsaida, in Galilee – John contrasts the two. Philip goes to Andrew instead of going directly to Jesus. Together they go to Jesus, and he begins to talk about several things…his coming death, the glorification of God’s name, and how all people would know him. A conversation with the Greeks is not recorded in John, but the story comes back to them in this statement… “when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” Read More

Facing the impossible

Second Sunday in Lent

  • Genesis 17: 1-7, 15 -16
  • Psalm 22:23-31
  • Romans 4:13-25
  • Mark 8: 31-38

Prayer

God, we come to hear you call us beloved. We come in faith so that in Christ we may face the impossible. We come so that your Spirit may lead us into the impossible and find the possible that only you can give. We are yours. We worship you. Amen. Read More

Beginning…Baptized….Beloved

First Sunday in Lent

  • Genesis 9:8-17 God’s rainbow sign & covenant
  • Psalm 25:1-10 To you, O God, I lift up my soul…
  • 1 Peter 3: 18-22 Christ also suffered for sins…
  • Mark 1:91-15 You are my beloved…The time is fulfilled…

Always We Begin Again

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding” in “The Four Quartets”

T. S. Elliot gives us those four lines in the fourth of his “Four Quartets” poem. It is a good reminder of where we are with Jesus on this first Sunday in Lent – a beginning we have known before and yet is ever new.

The title of a small booklet on The Rule of Benedict is, Always We Begin Again . The Benedictine way of living as disciples of Jesus together brings monastics back to Jesus.

Lent brings us to the place where we started to begin again with Jesus. I believe this to be true here at SMC not only because we begin Lent again but because I believe God is doing a new thing among us. Read More

O God, let my cry come to you

Lament: I wither away like grass

  • Psalm 102:1-13 “Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you.”

The cry of the Psalmist teaches us to pray….to lament

Hear my prayer, O God; let my cry come to you. Psalm 102: 1

The Psalmist wails to God. It is a biting plea to God from the depths of distress. Anguished reality is spoken bluntly and directly to God:

Hear my prayer,
O God, let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me.
Incline your ear to me.
Answer me quickly……..I….am….in….distress! Read More

Confessions of a murderous sex offender

The Psalm that we heard read today is one that is familiar to our ears, has been set to song and poem and used in liturgy since it was written. It was likely written by scribes during or after Israel’s exile into Babylon, but nonetheless it is one of the few Psalms that has attached a note tying it to a specific Biblical event – the coming of Nathan to David after the king had taken Bathsheba after murdering her husband Uriah. Some editor or scribe saw in these words a connection to Nathan’s words of condemnation to David, and the Pslam’s pleading for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Read More

You are the hope of the ends of the earth…Psalm 65;5

Praise: You visit the earth and water it…Psalm 65:9

  • Psalm 65: 1-13 Thanksgiving for earth’s bounty
  • Philippians 2:5-11

Opening Prayer
Praise is due to you, O God, you hear our prayer.
You are the God of our salvation.
You are the hope of all the ends of the earth.
You visit the earth and water it,
you have created the whole world and care for it.
We worship you and sing to you with joy.
Amen. From Psalm 65:1-2, 5, 9, 13

Oriented in the Psalms

Last Sunday we began this 7 Sunday worship series with the Psalms. The Book of the Psalms is the prayer book for Jews and Christians throughout the ages. The Psalms help us worship and pray well. They also help us be honest with ourselves and with God. The Psalms embody every human experience and emotion. Read More

I thirst

Send our roots rain: Praying the Psalms

  • Psalm 63:1-8

Psalms from the Desert for Thirsty People

O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you;
My flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land,
where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

Thirst is a visceral human instinct. Thirst is a fundamental biblical metaphor. We hear the Psalmist cry for out in thirst in this sixty-third Psalm. I thirst! Read More

The scandal of the Incarnation….continues

Second Sunday of Christmas

God’s unstoppable purpose breaks forth anew! God acts in history, bringing God’s future into sight.

  • Isaiah 61:10 – 62:3 “You shall be called by a new name”
  • Luke 2:22-40 Jesus is presented in the temple

God’s Incarnation in Jesus…….continues

The transforming event of human history is God’s coming into the world as a baby. God entered the world as an infant wholly vulnerable to the world and totally dependent on human care. Jesus is born as a baby – a human being. Read More