praise & rage - Luke 4:14-30

The Gospel lesson for this coming Sunday is Luke 4:21-30. Here is a sermon I preached on February 1, 2004 that included the gospel lessons for two successive Sundays - Luke 4:14-30 ...

The text begins “Then Jesus”. We are picking up the story in midstream. Jesus has been led into temptation and been delivered there from evil. Then Jesus returns to Galilee. But he comes home a different person than the one who left to be baptised by John in the river Jordan. Jesus has been filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke is at pains to make this clear to even the slowest of readers. After Jesus’ baptism, Luke tells us that “the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.” The divine breath takes on materiality. It descends in bodily form. Then Luke tells us that Jesus, “full of the Holy Spirit” is “led by the Spirit in the wilderness”. And now, back in Galilee and in his home town of Nazareth we hear once more that Jesus is “filled with the power of the Spirit”. We talk frequently about spirituality and widespread contemporary longing for a more spiritual life. But this depiction of Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, seems somehow different. Luke is testifying to an extraordinary occurrence. Jesus - the carpenter’s boy from Nazareth - is overtaken by a power from above and is changed. He is full of Holy Spirit and is led by this same Spirit into danger and an unexpected path. This is due warning that our Lenten mid-week gatherings to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit be result in unexpected change in our life. To receive the Holy Spirit is not simply to be given energy and health, it is to be changed and to be led into danger.

in a riddle - I Corinthians 13

The Epistle lesson for this coming Sunday is the famous passage at I Corinthians 13:1-13. Here is a sermon I preached on this text on February 3, 2013 In A Riddle. Looking back, it is a favorite of mine after many attempts to preach on this passage at weddings over the years.


calling jeremiah - Jeremiah 1:4-10

Jeremiah 1:4-10 is the Old Testament text for this coming Sunday in the Ecumenical Lectionary. Here is a sermon that I preached on this text on January 28, 2007 at University Hill Congregation ...

On Wednesday I asked the ‘Text to Sermon’ gathering for help. The problem is that all of the scripture set to be read by the common lectionary is so strong, so rich and so thick with vitality. After we had chewed on the texts from Jeremiah and Luke and 1 Corinthians, just as we were about to leave, I asked which one would best be given a voice in the sermon. “I think it is Jeremiah” said Margaret. Then Janet said, “I think it must be Jeremiah.” Betty and Bernice agreed. I am not sure that I know why they settled on Jeremiah. I am not sure that they know why. But I trust their hearing and hosting and intuition.