November 7, 2010

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17 Luke 20:27-38 Whenever I think of the Sadducees, I think of a silly kids’ song that I learned at camp many years ago. The refrain goes, “I only want to be a sheep, ba ba ba ba… I only want to be a sheep, ba ba ba ba, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, I only want to be a sheep, ba ba ba ba.” And then each verse mentions a biblical character that I don’t so much want to be like. I don’t want to be a goat…. nope. I don’t want to be a Pharisee… ‘cause they’re not fair, you see. And… I don’t want to be a Sadducee… ‘cause they’re so sad, you see. We don’t know very much about the Sadducees. They were a group of religious leaders in the time of Jesus – a different group from the Pharisees that we hear about so often in the Gospels. What we do know is that the Sadducees were part of the priestly aristocracy. They had status and power. The historian Josephus, describes them as harsh judges who were known to be most cruel among the Jews. And several times in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts, there are indications that the Sadducees disagreed with the Pharisees on a significant theological point. The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection. I suppose, for them, when you were dead, you were dead, and that was all. Kind of sad, don’t you … Read more »

October 30, 2011

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 Matthew 23:1-12 In many churches, including Presbyterian ones, the last Sunday in October is designated as “Reformation Sunday.” As Presbyterians, we are part of a Christian tradition or a family of churches that is called “Reformed.” And although we don’t celebrate Reformation Sunday every year, we have the opportunity on this Sunday to remember and give thanks for the Reformed tradition of which we are a part. I suppose that a good place to start on Reformation Sunday would be with a few definitions of terms. My apologies to those of you who may have grown up in a Presbyterian Church and heard this stuff about a million times already. First of all, there is the word “Presbyterian” – the Christian denomination of which we are a part. The word “Presbyterian” doesn’t describe our theology or our beliefs as a church, but it describes the way our church is structured and how we make decisions. “Presbyterian” comes from a Greek word “presbyter” which means “elder.” Presbyterian churches are ruled by elders who come together in the courts of the church. These courts are called sessions at the local, congregational level, presbyteries that oversee a number of congregations and ministers in a geographic area, synods that cover larger areas, and General Assemblies for whole countries. This Presbyterian type of church structure was a significant reformation from a structure that included rule by bishops. So significant, I suppose, that it came to be the actual name of our denomination. … Read more »

November 10, 2013

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17 Luke 20:27-38 “Eternal Comfort and Good Hope” Whenever I think of the Sadducees, I think of that silly kids’ song that I learned at camp many years ago. You’ve probably heard the kids here at St. Andrew’s singing it… “I only want to be a sheep, ba ba ba ba… I only want to be a sheep, ba ba ba ba, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, I only want to be a sheep, ba ba ba ba.” And then each verse mentions a biblical character that I don’t so much want to be like. I don’t want to be a goat…. nope. I don’t want to be a Pharisee… ‘cause they’re not fair, you see. And… I don’t want to be a Sadducee… ‘cause they’re so sad, you see. We don’t know very much about the Sadducees. They were a group of religious leaders in the time of Jesus – a different group from the Pharisees that we hear about so often in the Gospels. What we do know is that the Sadducees were part of the priestly aristocracy. They had status and power. The historian Josephus, describes them as harsh judges who were known to be most cruel among the Jews. And several times in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts, there are indications that the Sadducees disagreed with the Pharisees on a significant theological point. The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection. I suppose, for them, when you were … Read more »