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Showing posts from September, 2009

Back to Church Sunday

Dining With Jesus

Reading: Luke 19:1-10

As you can see, I am not preaching on the lections for Proper 26. We are celebrating Back to Church Sunday. I am using the suggested reading. For more information on Back to Church Sunday, check out their website at

I love window shopping. Sometimes when I have time I will browse through stores where I know that the price is beyond my means. Invariably an immaculately dressed sales person will come to my aid. “Oh! I am just looking?” I will say. It is usually an uncomfortable moment when I feel as if I don’t really belong, but I brazen it out.

Zacchaeus knew that he really didn’t belong in the crowd that constantly followed Jesus. His lifestyle was completely opposite to everything Jesus stood for. For starters he was a tax collector. And not just any tax collector. He was the chief tax collector. That meant that he worked for the Roman government. To say that he was unpopular with the average person in …

Proper 25, Year B

Holy Wisdom

Readings: Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 1; James 3:13-18; Mark 9:30-37

A theme throughout the readings this week is that of wisdom. “Who is wise and understanding among you?” asks James. It is a challenge to all of us. We can claim to be wise. We can reiterate the adage that wisdom comes with age. We can look at the successes of our lives and claim that it is proof that we are wise. But it needs to be demonstrated in our lives. James asks that we show it by acting with humility and goodness. That is certainly not wisdom in the eyes of the world. Society promotes getting ahead. It is ambition that is rewarded, not humility. We speak about “keeping up with the Joneses”. Remember Avis’ old ads about being in second place to Hertz. Even that second place message is based on obtaining power over our competitors.

To be wise in the ways of God calls us to something quite different. It calls us to gentleness, compassion, humility and peace making. Godly wisdom teaches us…

Proper 24, Year B

Spotted Alive!

Readings: Proverbs 1:20-33; Psalm 19; James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38

“Michael Jackson spotted alive!” What do you do when you read such a rumour? That was the caption in the subject line of an email that I got this week. It took me to a video on YouTube. I realized because of who sent it to me that it was a joke. But you know! Michael Jackson still alive! Who wouldn’t read a little further or stay tuned to find out what the story is? So I went to check it out. What I discovered was that despite the funeral being viewed by millions of people, there are a myriad of rumours about Michael Jackson still being alive.

One of the videos, supposedly of him hopping out of the back of the coroner’s van, has had nearly two million hits despite the fact that you can scarcely tell what vehicle it is, never mind who is getting out of the back of the van. There have been eye witness accounts of his crossing the border into Mexico, of his lounging around a pool chatting with his frien…

Proper 23 Year B

Touched By God

Readings: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-10, 22-23; Psalm 125; James 2:1-10; Mark 7:24-37

Jesus is traveling outside of his usual haunts. He goes to someone’s home. He is trying to keep a low profile, but news of his miracles has preceded him. He is noticed, especially by a woman whose daughter is suffering from what her mother describes as an evil spirit. The woman begs Jesus to heal her daughter. “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs,” Jesus says to her. What an insult he throws at the woman. I find it so difficult to fathom. What was Jesus thinking? His words must have hurt her so badly. But her love of her daughter is greater than any hurtful words could be.

And so she answers Jesus, “Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Jesus has a change of heart. He heals the woman’s daughter. But once again the story surprises me, for he doesn’t touch her. And so I am left asking why not. Th…