Sunday, October 29, 2017

October 29, 2017 - the 21st Sunday after Pentecost

Readings for today (track 1).

Listen to the Sermon.

When I was growing up, my mom had this comic strip on the refrigerator.  It was a Hi and Lois from the daily paper, just 3 frames.  The first frame is Lois, surrounded by piles of laundry, saying, “I had so much to do today…”  The second frame, with stacks of dirty dishes, continues, “that I didn’t know where to start,” And the third frame says, “so I didn’t.”
It wasn’t until I became a working mom that I truly understood why my mom kept that comic.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 22, 2017 - the 20th Sunday after Pentecost

Readings for Today (track 1).

Listen to the Sermon.

Oh, those wily Pharisees!  There they go again, trying to entrap Jesus and find a reason to accuse him of heresy.  It seems like they have posed the ultimate test of loyalty:  If you believe in God above all, and regard all people as equal, then is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor?

But Jesus is not going to be trapped by their question.  He already knows their malice.  So, he says, “Show me the coin used for the tax.”  Of course, the coin has the emperor’s image and title on it, and he says that famous line, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s and to God the things that are God’s.”  

What Jesus doesn’t say is how we know which things belong to God, which things of this world are marked with the likeness and fingerprint of the one, holy, living and eternal God.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 15, 2017 - the 19th Sunday after Pentecost

Readings for Today (track 1).

Listen to the Sermon.

When was the last time you attended an event that had a required dress code?  When in our lives does that happen much any more?  Some restaurants and clubs require dinner jackets and ties for men.  Swimming pools require swimsuits.  Bowling alleys require bowling shoes.  Often, those same restaurants have jackets and ties for men to borrow if needed, and bowling alleys loan shoes.  Sometimes you will even find a pool that loans suits and towels.  Even now there are a few times in life when what we wear defines our ability to be part of something.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

October 8, 2017 - the 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Readings for the Day (Track 1).

Listen to the Sermon.

My first year out of college I worked in the food and beverage side of the Four Seasons Olympic hotel.  In truth, I was a secretary, who greatly enjoyed the perks of my job.  One of them was to attend wine tastings for staff when the vintners came to the hotel to sell their wines.  I had never given a second thought to the job of wine steward, or sommelier, before then.  And, suddenly, I understood more about wine and could appreciate the complexity of being a steward.  The wine steward not only manages the wine stock, it’s their job to build a wine list that accommodates a range of prices, palates, and menus.  The wine steward then works with customers, restaurant wait staff, suppliers, and chefs to find the best wine for a given situation – and ultimately to preserve the hotel’s prestige.  One aspect of being a good steward is understanding all the resources you have to create the best possible outcome for your ‘boss.’

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October 1, 2017 - the 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Readings for the Day (track 1).

Listen to the Sermon.

We catch up with Jesus today back in the Temple in Jerusalem, in conversation with the chief priests and the elders of the religious community.  This passage, and the teachings and parables we will hear on Sundays until the end of November, all happen after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the incident in the Temple when he knocked over the tables.  The chief priests and elders, who are charged with keeping order and maintaining the religious importance of the Temple, the holiest of holy places in Judaism, have a serious question for Jesus.  “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Mt 21:23).  Maybe Jesus is just a rabble rouser, just another fanatic who wants to disrupt the status quo without offering any real, constructive or useful alternative.